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New Acer Notebooks

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Yesterday, Acer brought together a small group of journalists to announce its continued assault on the UK market. It will start to renew its range over the course of the year. Spearheading this refresh was the announcement of two new notebooks and a new range of PCs.

The notebooks have underdone the most radical overhaul, with a redesign done by an external agency called Smart Design, claimed to be one of the top five design companies in the USA. The smooth lines and finish of the newcomers are intended to look the notebooks look like a portfolio when carried. The Acer logo has also been moved making it more visible when the notebooks are held.


TravelMate 3200

The TravelMate 3200 is aimed at the professional mobile market, and is intended to fill the gap between Acer’s ultra-portable range and its desktop replacement machines.

Its stand out feature are the new ‘E-key’s (Empowering key). These are located in the top right corner and offer quick access to useful power saving features, such as altering screen brightness and processor speed.

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The TravelMate 3200's is powerful for a machine that’s only 32.5mm high and weighs just 2.08Kg. It features an Intel Pentium M processor, available at speeds of 1.5-2GHz. It’s supplied with 256MB of DDR 333 RAM as standard but can be fitted with up to 2GB. Storage comes in 40 and 80GB flavours.

The graphics chip is the ATI Radeon 9700 chip, making it powerful enough for DVD and games. The display offers a native resolution of 1,024 x 768.

Connectivity includes Gigabit LAN, and both Bluetooth and 54G Wi-fi are included. Acer refers to its Wireless technology as Signal Up, which features an aerial that runs across the top of the screen providing omni-directional reception to increase sensitivity and range.

The keyboard features dedicated Page-Up/Down keys while other touches include USB 2.0 ports on both sides, ensuring that multiple devices can be connected at the same time without conflicts. There’s also a grip on the underside so that it can be firmly carried .

Battery life is claimed to be up to 4 hours.

The TravelMate 3200 will be offered with Windows XP Professional and pricing will range between £1,173 and £1,526 including VAT.

Aspire 1660

The Aspire 1660 is a larger notebook, weighing in at 3.6Kg. Its stand out feature is its 15.4in Widescreen display featuring a resolution of 1,280 x 800, making it ideal for watching DVDs. It’s aimed at the consumer, SOHO and education markets. Acer Notebook Business Manager David White stated that, “we expect that widescreen notebooks will become more rapidly adopted during the course of this year”.

This 1660 offers no compromise performance, with Intel Pentium 4 processors available at speeds between 2.8 and 3.4GHz. Graphics are provided by an ATI Radeon 9700 chip, with 64MB of RAM. System RAM starts at 512MB of DDR333 and can be increased up to 2GB.

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Its ports include an S-Video out, and a VGA out port, enabling you to hook up to larger displays. If you specify a Super Multi DVD drive, you can burn DVDs in either ‘plus’, ‘minus’ and DVD-RAM formats, as well as CD-R and CD-RW. The notebook also features four USB 2.0 ports, Firewire, two Type II or one Type III PC Card slot, a parallel port, a 10/100 Ethernet socket and a modem.

The Aspire 1660 also features a magnetic locking mechanism that will automatically shut itself when the lid is 10mm from the body of the notebook. The Aspire 1660 will be supplied with Windows XP Home and prices will start from around £1056 including VAT.

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