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Below the keyboard is a large touchpad with a widescreen aspect ratio to match the display. Despite not being the biggest fan of touchpads, this one has a very smooth action allowing for accurate pointer manipulation.
The screen doesn’t let the side down either – there are many notebooks with 15.4in widescreen displays, but a lot of them run a disappointingly low 1,280 x 768 resolution, but not this one. The screen in the TravelMate 8204WLMi sports a 1,680 x 1,050 resolution, which gives you masses of desktop real estate to work with. The impressive screen resolution marries itself well to the dual core processor, allowing you to have multiple applications active concurrently for serious multi-tasking.
There’s also bundles of connectivity on offer. Being based on the Intel Napa platform there’s obviously an Intel wireless adapter – the PRO/Wireless 3945ABG supports 802.11a,b and g standards for ultimate flexibility. There’s also an integrated Bluetooth adapter and a Gigabit Ethernet controller for high-speed wired conectivity.
The chassis is crammed with more features than you’d see on an average desktop replacement notebook. While many notebooks leave the rear empty of features, on the TravelMate 8204WLMi you’ll find a DVI port – ideal for connecting up to an external TFT monitor, using a crisp and clear digital signal. The rear is also home to a port replicator socket, an S-Video port and the power connector.
At the right there’s a D-SUB port for connecting to an external monitor using an analogue signal, a network port for that Gigabit Ethernet controller, two USB 2.0 ports and a smartcard reader for added security – Acer provides a smartcard in the box with the notebook.
The front is also fully loaded with an IrDA port, a four-pin FireWire port and hard switches for both WiFi and Bluetooth adapters. There’s also a full suite of audio ports – headphone, mic and line-in, the latter also doubles as an optical digital output. Finally there’s a plastic flap hiding a memory card reader that accepts SD, MMC and MemoryStick formats.
The left side is dominated by the DVD writer but there’s also a pair of USB 2.0 ports and a modem socket. Here you’ll also find a Type II PC Card slot and an Express Card slot – Acer is really covering all the bases.
The DVD writer is an LG unit that supports pretty much every format bar DVD-R DL. The drive will manage 8x writing on DVD+R and DVD-R, 4x on DVD+RW and DVD-RW, 2.4x on DVD+R DL, 5x DVD-RAM, 24x CD-R and finally 10x for CD-RW media.