Acer was pretty proud of itself on Thursday thanks to its announcement of some snazzy looking products. At the top of the list was the cute TravelMate 3000, which it claimed was the first ultra-portable notebook with a 12in screen to be offered in widescreen configuration.
Coming in at only 1.46Kg and with dimensions smaller than a piece of A4 paper, the little fellow is aimed at business travellers who want to lighten their load while on the road. The 3000 can punch above its weight though, thanks to the new Intel Sonoma platform that seems to be cropping up everywhere we look (perhaps we need to get out more). Running a 2.0GHz Pentium M processor on the Intel 915GM Express chipset with 512MB to 2GB of DDR2 RAM, the 3000 is no slouch and according to Acer will go for a decent 4.5 hours before needing to be plugged in.
Built into the notebook is Wi-Fi (b/g) and Bluetooth along with LAN and modem connections. There's a 4-in-1 card reader but mucho-connectivity can be garnered thanks to an optional docking bay called an ezDock, which adds (deep breath) PS/2, additonal USB 2.0, Ethernet, modem, printer, VGA, SP/DIF, analogue audio, TV-Out, and DVI. And a Kensington lock.
The chassis is covered in a fetching green tinted silver finish and conforms to Acer's current ‘Folio’ design with a handle grip and logo in the corner. Matching that colour is an external DVD Writer capable or burning dual-layer discs.
Acer is also unleashing the TravelMate 4650. Also based on the Sonoma platform (Pentium M processor with DDR2 memory on an Intel 915GM/PM chipset) the screen is a tempting 1,400 x 1,050 widescreen resolution. To make the best of this, users can choose between a 64Mb nVidia GeForce Go 6600, which promises real gaming thrills or if they want to be boring and save some cash, make do with the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900.
The machine is fully wireless and as well as a full range of integrated ports the 4650 is also compatible with the ezDock. Other highlights include a hot swappable optical drive for an additional battery or a second hard disk.
The coolest thing on show though was a new widescreen 20in display. Part of the new Prestige line the 20incher is accompanied by conventional 4:3 ratio 17in and 19in displays. But enough about them.
The AL2032wm apparently has won an International Design Forum award for well, design. The native resolution is a pleasing high definition ready 1,680 x 1,050 and Acer claims a viewing angle of 176 degrees, so you can be practically next door and still see the action. Response time is giving at a gaming friendly 16ms, a brightness rating of 400 candelas and a contrast ratio of 500:1. CrystalBrite technology is Acer’s name for the in vogue high contrast coating that’s all the rage these days.
Beneath the screen are 5W speakers but it’s round the back that’s interesting. The only connection built into the monitor itself is a D-Sub connector. But fear not – the neat bit is a detachable media bay that ships in the box. This adds composite, S-Video a DVI port (HDCP compatibility currently unconfirmed) and remarkably a SCART socket. There’s also a space for a TV Tuner, but as it’s early days Acer, hasn’t decided whether it would ship with this and if it will be analogue or digital.
As for pricing, the TravelMate 3000 will start at £1,115 including VAT, while the TravelMate 4650 will start at a very reasonable £765. The AL2032wm meanwhile will go for £500.