Acer Shows Off Sonoma Notebooks and New PDAs

Holding an event at the fashionable Hilton Metropole, Acer was keen to put its latest products in the shop window. TR swoops down to have a gander.

Acer is back with a raft of products, so we raced down to the Hilton Metropole in Edgware Road to take up our invite.

Straight off the bat we have a new addition to Acer’s Aspire series, the 1690 (above and below). Like all the notebooks Acer was to introduce at the event this uses the Sonoma platform (the first major revision to Intel’s Centrino). Based around the Intel 915PM Express chipset and Pentium M processor, the customisable 1690 has an improved system bus of 533MHz, and Intel PRO/Wireless 2200BG connectivity.

System memory runs is DDR 333 and can be scaled up to 2048MB, while storage has been improved with hard drives now available with sizes up to 100GB. Dual layer DVD burners, 4-in-1 card readers and a 15.4in widescreen TFT with a maximum resolution of 1280 x 800 will be standard features on all 1690s. Graphics are provided by the ATI Mobility Radeon X600 which is available in 64 and 128MB flavours.

Refreshing its TravelMate line are the 4100 (above) and 4600 (below). As mentioned earlier, these are also Sonoma machines, this time based on the Intel 915GM and 915PM chipsets respectively. RAM can be filled out to 2GB and while the 4100 surprisingly cannot have a hard drive larger than 60GB, the 4600 will stretch to 80GB. Another difference is the battery life with the 4100 quoted at four hours and the 4600 a potentially very impressive five and a half hours.

A choice of widescreen or standard display is available for each machine with the resolution maxing out at 1280 x 800 and 1024 x 768 respectively in the case of the 4100; 1400 x 1050 and 1280 x 800 for the 4600. Integrated graphics or an X600 with 64MB VRAM are the video card options for each notebook and both weigh in at just under 3Kg. Dual layer DVD burners come as standard.

Acer then showed us the piece de resistance of its notebooks announcements with a new flagship for the TravelMate range: the 8100 series (below).

Sony DEV-3 DEV-5

The Sonoma based 8100s are clearly the TravelMate top dog with DDR2 533 memory complimenting the 533MHz system bus of the 915PM chipset. Pentium M processor options go up to 2GHz and it has the upgraded Intel PRO/Wireless 2915ABG networking which means it adds 802.11a to today’s more common b and g standards. There is also Bluetooth.

RAM can be increased up to 2GB and hard drives up to 100GB. The included Dual Layer DVD player is hot-swappable and a 5-in-1 card reader comes as standard.

The display in the 8100 series is courtesy of a 15.4in widescreen with 1680 x 1050 resolution and the graphics card behind it is an ATI Mobility Radeon X700 with 128MB of external DDR VRAM. An optional docking station with PCI Express interface offers a unique way of upgrading the 8100s with next generation peripherals. Battery life is claimed to be in excess of four hours with a surprisingly quick recharge time of only three and a half hours with the system in use.

Warranties on all notebooks shown at the event are one year with the option to extend to three years covering accidental damage. Pricing varies depending on configuration and all devices are available now.

Acer UK

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