Cooling and Portability


Given the age of this Acer, it’s difficult to fairly compare its cooling performance. This is now an old laptop, and its component have been subjected to the test of time. Though the laptop has been opened and cleaned, there’s still likely to be dust and grime hidden in secret areas that could inhibit proper cooling.

With that handicap explained, the cooling experience of this laptop can be explained easily – it overheats all the damned time. Want to watch an HD movie? It better be short, because the system will otherwise overheat and shut down. Want to play a game? You can’t, because the system will quickly shut down.

You might think this would result in a laptop that’s uncomfortable to use, but it doesn’t, most likely because of an aggressive fan and the laptop’s large size. It may overheat and shut itself down, but you wouldn’t necessarily suspect that it was about to do so by touching the laptop’s external surfaces. That’s a small benefit of a larger chassis – though I’m hardly going to advocate returning to large laptops because of it. 


Weighing in at 6.3 pounds, this Acer would be considered a heavyweight 15.4” laptop if it were sold on today’s market. Only gaming laptops are consistently heavier. This heft is noticeable when handling laptop, as is the laptop’s 1.7 inch maximum thickness. That’s right – 1.7 inches! Again barring gaming laptops, I don’t even remember the last time I handled a modern laptop of similar girth. Even laptops with a thickness of 1.3 inches tend to feel bulky these days. Clearly, size and weight are two areas where we’ve seem signicant improvement over the years. 

That’s nothing compared to battery life, however. The Extensa came from the factory with a 44Wh unit rated for two and a half hours of endurance. Even if we took that number at face value (company-provided battery life claims usually shoot high), it would be substantially lower than the as-tested life of today’s laptops, which often manage to last four hours or more on similar juice. The years have sapped some of the laptop’s power, of course – and as a result, it provides just an hour and a half away from the socket. 

Battery Eater Reader’s Test: 1:51 Batter Eater Standard Test :43

The overall difference in portability between today’s modern mainstream laptops and this Acer is substantial. New technology has made it possible for even mainstream laptops to offer enough battery life for most users. That was not true five years ago, when it was uncommon for affordable laptops to last more than two or three hours on a charge. For more evidence, take a look at some of our laptop reviews from 2006. In those, even highly portable laptops often struggled to provide more than three hours on a stock battery. 

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