After reviewing a fair few of them recently, we've come to the conclusion that Acer is pretty good at putting together high-quality laptops for under £1,000. The TravelMate 4260 is a case in point: it's fast, reasonably portable and good-looking.

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But while it's strong in just about every area, the only truly outstanding feature of the TravelMate is the fact that you can insert a Vodafone SIM card and access HSDPA (high-speed downlink packet access) networks, allowing you to connect wirelessly to the net using what is often referred to as 'Super 3G' or '3.5G' technology. This offers a faster transfer rate than 3G, although the coverage isn't as extensive. Acer doesn't supply the SIM card, unfortunately – you'll have to go to Vodafone for that.

A WorldBench 5 score of 92 suggests the Acer is powerful enough to cope with most day-to-day tasks without fuss, and the graphics card is no slouch either. In our Doom3 and Halo tests the frame rates were high enough to suggest you'd get a decent gaming experience from the Acer, even if hardcore gamers probably won't get excited about the graphics card. The 15.4in TFT screen is excellent.

A 100GB hard drive and 1GB DDR RAM are satisfactory offerings at this price, while the TravelMate's battery life is impressive: it lasted more than four hours in our MobileMark 2002 tests.

There's not much in the way of productivity software, but there are pre-installed applications that will help users to manage security and data backup settings. Windows XP Professional Edition is the chosen OS (operating system).

Acer TravelMate 4260: Specs

  • 1.6GHz Intel Core Duo T2300 processor
  • Windows XP Professional
  • 1GB DDR RAM
  • 100GB hard drive
  • 15.4in 1,280x800 TFT display
  • 128MB GeForce Go 7600 graphics card
  • 8x/8x/8x/4x/4x/4x/4x/ (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW) 24x/24x/24x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW) drive
  • 802.11a/b/g
  • 1-year international warranty
  • 358x269x34mm
  • 3kg
  • 1.6GHz Intel Core Duo T2300 processor
  • Windows XP Professional
  • 1GB DDR RAM
  • 100GB hard drive
  • 15.4in 1,280x800 TFT display
  • 128MB GeForce Go 7600 graphics card
  • 8x/8x/8x/4x/4x/4x/4x/ (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW) 24x/24x/24x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW) drive
  • 802.11a/b/g
  • 1-year international warranty
  • 358x269x34mm
  • 3kg

OUR VERDICT

The Acer is a solid performer, and we can't argue with the price. The HSDPA capabilities are welcome – although the TravelMate 4260 is by no means unique in this respect – and the battery life is extremely pleasing. We reckon this makes the Acer a good option for people who have to work regularly without AC power and wired internet access.

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