Acer Aspire 3683WXMi

You don't have to spend a fortune for a shiny new Vista laptop, as Acer's 3683WXMi proves. Just don't expect a stellar notebook, or for that matter a stellar Vista experience.

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Acer's Aspire 3683WXMi is the company's budget entry into the Vista space. At the time of writing, it's fair to argue that most people shifting to Vista will do so as a result of buying new hardware, and in the case of the 3683WXMi, it makes a certain amount of financial sense. At just over $1000 (and Acer, at the time of writing, was offering a cashback to bring it below the crucial thousand dollar psychological mark), with Windows Vista Basic -- which retails in a full-box version for $385 -- the Acer Aspire 3683WXMi might seem like exceptionally good value. Note, however, that the copy of Vista Basic that comes with the Acer Aspire 3683WXMi is an OEM version; they're unlikely to sell you the system barebones for six hundred notes.

Speaking of barebones, the Acer Aspire 3683WXMi is a barebones system in a visual sense; if we wanted to describe the notebook quickly, we'd say it looks like an Acer. Exactly like many other Acer laptops in fact, which means you're getting a solid design that's not the snazziest on the block, but equally doesn't look like it fell out of 1992.

There's always a price to pay for being at the price-cutting edge, and in the case of the Acer Aspire 3683WXMi, it's in the internal componentry. The processor in the 3683WXMi is a meagre Celeron M 430 1.73GHz, backed up with a measly 512MB of RAM and a 60GB hard drive. Graphics are supplied via the Intel Media Accelerator 950, which will gobble up to 224MB of your memory if you give it a chance. That fits the bill well enough for a Home Basic system -- and to be honest, we'd be a bit frightened to see whether it could handle some of the heavier tasks available to users of Home Premium or Ultimate Vista.

One feature that's becoming more prevalent in notebooks as a whole -- but still not terribly common in lower-end machines -- pops up unexpectedly on the 3683WXMi in the form of a integrated webcam, or as Acer puts it, the OrbiCam. We're still not convinced that OrbiCam doesn't sound like something that you'd stick on the Terminator, but it's a pleasant enough inclusion nonetheless.

At the time of writing, very few benchmarks operate in a satisfactory fashion on the Vista platform, but in the case of the 3683WXMi we noticed something significant without running a single benchmark -- the 3683WXMi struggles with Vista.

Specifically, we saw a lot of spinning wheels and twiddled our thumbs a lot of the time while waiting for the 3683WXMi to process requests. We did manage to get PCMark 05 to run -- it gave us a score of 1555 PCMarks, which is in line with our expectations given the low end nature of the components in the 3683WXMi.

One factor we can bring up are Vista's own inbuilt Windows Experience Index. Predictably, given the components, the 3683WXMi scored in an average fashion at best across most sectors:

Processor 3.6
Memory 2.9
Graphics: 2.0
Gaming Graphics 3.1
Primary Hard Disk 4.3

The Aspire 3683WXMi houses a 6-cell Lithium Ion battery. Given that the processor in the 3683WXMi isn't a low-voltage part, this isn't a long-haul travelling system - but that's par for the course at this particular price point.

Ultimately, the 3683WXMi is a low-spec system at a low-spec price. We weren't particularly thrilled with its overall performance -- and it's a sterling argument that systems of this specification may in fact run better under Windows XP than Vista -- but if you're after an entry level machine and you're strapped for cash it's certainly worthy of basic consideration.

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kenny posted a comment   

can i upgrade 2x 2gb ram on this laptop?


sawant posted a reply   

Have owned this for 2 years now...loaded Xp and upgraded to 2 GB well for student use ... browsing, mail, You tube, Power point..Recent problems: battery has degraded to 20 mins, power button wouldnt work ( had to get it fixed by a local service personnel...a workaround that i unfortunately did not try would have been to remove the battery and electrical connection and hold down the power button for abt 40 secs)


someone:( posted a review   

i have this acer laptop model, and it is really slow and have a low memory and vulnerable to viruses...


Swede posted a comment   

The Good:Cheap and overall OK!

The Bad:Needs some work, to make it alright.

Upgrade Ram to 1.5 at least, clear out all garbage-software and shut down aoutostart-ojects if you don´t need em, and set it for prestanda rather than looks...
Now it should work twice as good.
And for that price - it´s a really great machine.


STar posted a comment   

The Good:I use mine mainly for Microsoft Office, Facebook, Google and Kids' Educational Games and it is perfect for all of them. Use XP rather than Vista which suits me just fine. Since using 3G broadband I am able to view YouTube without any problems.

The Bad:None for me. If I wanted a high functioning machine I would pay the price. Can't complain about what I paid for.

NB I noticed another poster said that theirs crashed and they couldn't fix it. This happened to me about 12mths after buying the machine. I tried changing the power pack and a new battery (didn't buy new ones as it hadn't helped). It sat unused for about 3 weeks and then I plugged all original parts in and switched it back on. Hasn't skipped a beat since (about another year has now passed). I LOVE my acer and will definitely continue to own acer products. Unlike my COMPAQ experience!!!!

greg neely

greg neely posted a review   

The Good:no good not reliable

The Bad:no good

Suddenly just died ,wouldnt switch on at all,change power supply etc. no good


gregga posted a review   

The Good:Only $700 after $200 cashback. Modern looking machine, quiet.

The Bad:Hmmm...where do I start?? Definitely needs an extra 512 MB RAM (= 1 GB) that it so sorely needs to get some life into the system - Vista is horribly slow. Booting up and shutting down is a painful experience and reminds me of waiting in line at bank during lunchtime. It is quite heavy, battery life is ordinary at around 90 mins and speakers are tinny.

You get what you pay for - but for under $1k it still does everything a laptop twice the price does, just with a bit more patience and considerably more waiting around for something to happen.


KForster posted a review   

The Good:None

The Bad:Waste of money, dont buy...... i wish i hadn't and mine is only 4 mths ld

very slow. When writing, it misses approximatly every 3rd letter, or even words. Wish i had never bought it. Crashes all the time.


AlphamonX posted a review   

The Good:Dual channel DDR2 ram
Glossy screen
Windows Aero Graphics
Customer support helpful

The Bad:Needs at least 1 gig of ram to get performance. At 512mb only about 20% potential is accessed.

Good laptop, recommended but with a few upgradeds.


Pete posted a review   

The Good:Value for money

The Bad:Initially slow, spend $60 on 1G of memory and it speeds up considerably

Good value with $199 cash rebate , used $60 of it to buy 1G memory. Speeded up well, fine for my needs. My first Acer purchase.

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User Reviews / Comments  Acer Aspire 3683WXMi

  • kenny


    "can i upgrade 2x 2gb ram on this laptop?"

  • someone:(



    "i have this acer laptop model, and it is really slow and have a low memory and vulnerable to viruses..."

  • Swede


    "Upgrade Ram to 1.5 at least, clear out all garbage-software and shut down aoutostart-ojects if you don´t need em, and set it for prestanda rather than looks...
    Now it should work twice as go..."

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