Acer Travelmate 2200/2203LCi Laptop Review!
So why did I purchase this unit over the slew of other laptops that are available? Good question since I wasn't planning on purchasing a laptop!
I hate Mail-In Rebates #$#%^$@#!
Now that I got that out of my system where was I?
I was trolling various computer stores trying to find the right system when I spotted the 'Laptop' section out of the corner of my eye (I tried to tell myself 'don't look', avoid the temptation) but I was inexplicability drawn towards the light (of the 15.4'' widescreen LCD) Holy $#@$ they want how much! Forget that idea I muttered to myself as I headed towards the Plasma HDTV's, then I remembered seeing some used laptops at Refurb computers and decided to return and check the prices. I was instantly drawn to the Acer laptop at $999.99 I looked at the Spec's, and had to look again just to confirm I had read the tag correctly! ''Ugh excuse me'', I casually called over to the store clerk while pointing to the laptop''is this correct'' I asked, expecting the worst.''Yup'' he replied and added it was actually 'new' and not refurbished/used/leased and had 1 year warranty. SOLD!
I'll get to the specifications a little further down
I obviously needed to inspect the purchase and load the usual battery of required software before actually delivering it! As I unwrapped it and started to leaf through the manuals I was thinking how can they sell this for such a low price, I was expecting the worst and remembered something about a product called a 'Desknote'.
Some study was done on laptop users and they found 85% (don't hold me to that figure) of Laptops were run from the AC adapter and were rarely used on battery. Why bother making a power mizing Laptop to squeeze those extra 5 minutes out of a battery when you can use whatever parts you want including a desktop CPU, after all with no power saving features being needed they were free to cram as much power hungry junk they wanted under the hood, this also meant reduced cost and you end up with a powerful unit that costs much less then the competitors Laptop solution.
So where am I going with this?
The Acer Travelmate is really closer to being a 'desknote' than a laptop it offers parts that rival some actual desktop systems and offers a battery for those occasions you can't be plugged into an outlet. the reason I consider it a 'desknote' stems from the fact the actual runtime while on the battery was a dismal 60-75 minutes. Lets just say don't even read further if you are expecting to watch a DVD movie or need to give any long presentations without an AC outlet nearby!
Right, now that we've gotten the biggest issue out of the way lets start with all of the good things this little puppy has to offer:
As you can see not much was missing, sure the LCD resolution could have been higher but I nearly went blind using my old laptop with it's 1600x1200 resolution so I was fine with ole' 1024x768. Realistically a 40GB HD might be small for power users but the average user would be fine and you can always use an external USB device if you need more space.
Here are a few pictures:
So who is Acer?
I ran the laptop through a few SiSoft Sandra 2005 benchmarks to see how it fared against similar parts.
I guess I should talk about the benchmarks, in all the tests the Acer did better or as good as any comparable parts from other systems. Basically it held its own on all counts, don't try and compare it with a high-end Desktop system but it compares well against most of the lower priced systems flooding the market.
The Acer has a good solid build with a good selection of parts, the LCD was very bright and looked good with no visible burnt/stuck pixels. I only had a short time with it but was constantly pleased with its snappy feel as I typed this article on the Acer, I installed various games and most ran fine without any major issues, I should note the ATI solution does a decent job of 3D rendering (just don't expect to play Doom 3 on it) I ran a copy of Midtown Madness at 1024x768 and it ran fine (mind you this isn't exactly a new game).
I did run into one minor issue while connecting the laptop to a KVM switch, the system has no PS2 ports for a keyboard or mouse, since almost all newer mice and keyboards are USB this won't affect many of you but I found it strange not to see these ports. I solved the issue by using a PS2 to USB adapter it allows for a keyboard and mouse to be connected through a USB port and worked flawlessly with the KVM switch. I should mention there are no ports other than the 4 USB 2.0 ports on this laptop again most newer devices (printers included) are all USB but if you need these you can purchase a port replicator which will provide the legacy ports you may need.
I used Nero to burn a few CD-R's and they burned fine at 16X, I also copied some files from DVD over and can confirm it read at 6X. The system so far has been remarkably quiet and doesn't appear to get very hot under basic tasks, I played some 3D games for over an hour and it stayed fairly cool and quiet.
If your looking for an elegant small and portable Computer system for common everyday tasks you can't go wrong with the Acer Travelmate 2200, the included wireless network adapter is just icing on the cake. The best part is the cost at $999.99 it offers a complete package that rivals most desktop systems in the price range. I can't find any major fault with the package, except battery life.
I'm very tempted to pick one of these up for my own use, I just need to find a way to explain my need for a fourth computer system in the house............
Oh sorry about that, I'd better give this thing a rating.....
As always I hope this article has been useful
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