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With dimensions of 331 x 252 x 30mm (WxDxH) and a weight of 2.2kg, this isn’t the smallest or lightest notebook around, but considering the specification, its physical dimensions and weight are pretty impressive. I certainly didn’t feel weighed down by it when I was carrying it around.
There’s not much on offer as far as software goes. You get Windows XP Professional pre-loaded, along with CyberLink PowerDVD for watching DVD movies and NTI CD-Maker for burning discs.
I found the 3201XMi to be a good mobile companion, although I must say that it gets quite noisy when the fans spin up. Strangely, there seems to be little rhyme or reason to the cooling of the machine. When using the notebook on mains power, sometimes the fans will stay on constantly, while other times they won’t spin up at all. In fact when I started this review the fans were spinning constantly, but after having a break and firing up the machine again, I’ve yet to hear the fans spin up once.
Performance wise, the 3201XMi can hold its own against the competition, although raw performance isn’t paramount with a machine like this – if you want a lightning fast notebook, you’re going to have to go for a big and heavy desktop replacement instead. This is a machine that’s going to be used on the move as much as it is in the office, and with a battery life of just over three hours, it’s not for the true road warrior, but it will suit someone that’s going to need to work on the move at least part of the time.
Considering the size, weight, design and specification of this machine, I was expecting a pretty hefty price tag. However, Acer has somehow managed to keep the price of the 3201XMi below the £1,000 mark – in fact you can pick up this machine for only £959 including VAT!
Now, as I’ve already mentioned, the screen does represent a necessary compromise to keep the price point down, but the rest of the specification is just so good that the price is nothing short of amazing. OK, you only get a one year warranty, but for £99 you can extend that to three years and you’ve still got a great value notebook. I don’t know how Acer has done it, but the TravelMate 3201XMi is a stunning mobile computer at a truly incredible price.
If you can live with the 1,024 x 768 resolution screen, the TravelMate 3201XMi represents an awesome notebook bargain. It’s got pretty much everything that you could want from a mobile computer at a price that’s hard to believe.