This subdued reaction to the keyboard can equally be applied to the display. The thick bezel has already been touched upon but the display as a whole is fairly average, particularly in terms of brightness. It’s still perfectly usable, but Acer could have done better.
Moving to connectivity, there isn’t a great deal that Acer has missed out. The left edge is dominated by the primary air vent; however there is space for an Ethernet port, a single USB port and a PC Card slot – which as previously noted should be useful for adding HSDPA functionality.
Two fairly weak speakers are enclosed into the front edge, with audio inputs in between them. There are headphone, microphone and S/PDIF jacks as well as a 4-pin FireWire port and, somewhat unusually, an infrared port. This enables transferring files from other infra-red enabled devices such as mobile phones, though there is Bluetooth 2.0 EDR as well.
Meanwhile, on the left there’s the optical drive, with a card reader, two USB ports and a modem port arranged either side. The card reader supports SD, MMC, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro and xD formats while the two USB ports are mounted horizontally above and below each other, which could present a problem if using larger USB devices. Finally, there’s also a lock slot for securing the notebook should it be required.
Video connectivity is reserved for the back of the notebook, with D-Sub and 7-pin component/S-Video on hand. These connections are joined by the DC-in, all of which are situated to the left of the battery pack. Underneath there’s also a port replicator connection, which supports Acer’s ezDock II/II+. The connection is protected by a removable rubberised cover, which would doubtless be easy to lose.
Acer’s ezDock II+, available separately, reproduces most of connectivity of the notebook itself, while adding a plethora of further connection options. These include legacy keyboard and mouse connections, a Serial port, a Parallel port, an ExpressCard slot, six USB 2.0 ports, two FireWire ports (one 4-pin, one 6-pin) and a DVI-D port.