capsule review

Acer TravelMate 8000

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Acer TravelMate 8003LMI Notebook

Acer TravelMate 8000
Artwork: Rick Rizner, John Goddard

The Acer TravelMate 8000 is the kind of notebook you might casually leave sitting out on your airline tray table while waiting for your glass of wine. A slim, charcoal-colored unit just 1.4 inches tall and weighing 6.6 pounds, it has the look of a hip, expensive business portable with the latest features. It is, in fact, all of those things. In addition to a 15-inch screen, the 8000 boasts a FireWire port for quick digital downloads, a four-in-one media card reader, built-in Bluetooth, dual Wi-Fi, and a multiformat DVD writer.

The rear connections include a digital video interface (DVI) port for using a crisp new digital LCD as an external monitor. Acer's proprietary smart card security slot, positioned atop a standard PC Card slot, keeps your business secrets safe at the BIOS, password, and file levels.

Popping open the lid reveals Acer's snazzy keyboard with a 5-degree curve. Though we're not sure whether the mild curve prevents sore wrists, it does not take long to master. And if you like your keyboards extra-firm, the 8000's 2.7-millimeter keystroke--instead of the standard 3mm--will please you. The sensible layout includes a touchpad and four-way scroll. Plenty of shortcuts keep everything at your fingertips. Four buttons at the top launch your favorite applications. On screen, Acer's Notebook Manager handily corrals the settings for power, wireless, the shortcut buttons, and the smart card, among others, into one dialog box. And like background music at a fine restaurant, the TravelMate 8000's stereo speakers offer low-volume but high-quality audio.

A strong performer, our 2-GHz/600-MHz Pentium M-equipped unit lasted 4.6 hours on one battery charge and earned a WorldBench 5 score of 89. It's the highest-scoring notebook we've tested with WorldBench 5. Moderately expandable, the 8000 offers one user-accessible memory socket (the other is under the keyboard) and a removable hard drive. You can swap the integrated DVD writer for a second battery or second hard drive. Finally, if you need older connections, a rear expansion connector accepts Acer's $99 EasyPort port replicator, a grayish plastic bar with parallel, serial, and PS/2 ports.

Cutting-edge performance and an elegant design set apart the Acer TravelMate 8000, a lightweight business notebook with a DVI connection. It's priced like a top-shelf notebook, too, at $2299 not including application software.

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Acer TravelMate 8003LMI Notebook

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