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.
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).