Acer TravelMate 5542 Features AMD Dual-Core Processors, Windows 7

The Acer Travelmate 5542, an "outstanding value" for professionals, pairs Windows 7 Professional with AMD dual-core processors and a 15.6-inch display for $549.

Acer has introduced the TravelMate 5542, a new business laptop for the U.S. market.

With a 15.6-inch widescreen LED back-lit display, Microsoft's Windows 7 Professional operating system and a choice of Advanced Micro Devices processors, pricing for the TravelMate starts at $549.

For "budget-conscious professionals," said Gregg Prendergast, Acer vice president of commercial sales and marketing, in a Nov. 9 statement, the 5542, with its "latest mobile technologies and smart and comprehensive security features" presents an "outstanding value."

Users can choose between a 2.4GHz AMD Turion II Dual-Core mobile processor with 2MB of Level 2 cache and a 2.2GHz Athlon II processor with 1MB of L2 cache.

Also on board are 4GB of DDR3 memory-upgradeable to 8GB-plus integrated ATI Radeon HD 4250 graphics and a SATA hard drive up with up to 320GB of memory. Enterprise users will likely appreciate the Crystal Eye 1.3-megapixel Webcam-paired with a digital microphone, speakers with background-noise-silencing technology and Acer Video Conference software-as well as 802.11b/g/n and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, a DVD writer, and a 2-in-1 card reader or SDcard slot.

For IT staffs, more pleasing may be Acer's Backup Manager, which can provide scheduled data backups, data compression for space savings and data encryption for protecting files.

The TravelMate weighs just under 6 pounds, measures an inch thick and features a multi-gesture touchpad, HDMI and VGA ports, and a chassis in shiny black. It's also Energy Star qualified, and with Acer's ePower Management software it can be configured to keep power consumption low and battery life long, when necessary.

Acer holds the No. 4 position in sales within the United States. According to Oct. 14 reports from IDC and Gartner, Acer shipped 2 million units in the United States, for 10.3 percent market share. Worldwide, however, the firms' findings varied, with Gartner reporting that Acer squeaked past Apple into third position (behind Hewlett-Packard and Dell, respectively) but with IDC giving the No. 3 spot to Apple, with Acer behind it.

While enterprise purchases of PCs were strong during the quarter, the expected arrival of several new tablet devices from PC makers Dell, HP and Lenovo, in addition to the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Research In Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook-all hopeful competitors to Apple's iPad-hurts the market, with consumers taking a "wait and see" approach and delaying purchases, research firm Gartner reported.

Similarly, analyst Maynard Um, with USB, explained in a September research note that traditional notebooks will likely also feel pressure from the iPad. "We believe that a majority of this impact is occurring on the lower end of PC sales, as the iPad is priced close enough to this range that it becomes attractive to consumers looking to make purchases within this segment."

Even Apple recently pushed down its notebook pricing, introducing a new Apple MacBook Air starting at $999.

The TravelMate 5542, says Acer, is on sale now from authorized Acer resellers.