Moving on to the right hand side you’ll find a PC Card slot, a third USB 2.0 port, an IrDA receiver and a combined SD, MMC and MemoryStick Pro card reader. There are no ports around the front but the speakers are located here, one on each side of the locking latch. The latch has to be manually locked and has been designed so you can lock the lid in place when the TravelMate is in tablet PC mode.
The keyboard is excellent and the slightly curved design that is unique to Acer gives you that extra bit of space, making it more comfortable to type on. On the other hand, the touchpad could’ve done with being slightly bigger, but it is responsive and the buttons work well. A four-way scroll pad is fitted between the touchpad buttons and allows for easier scrolling both up and down as well as sideways.
Just above the keyboard is a set of shortcut keys, some of which are programmable. The first two enables and disables the wireless network and Bluetooth antennas respectively. The remaining four buttons gives you access to your web browser, email client, the Acer eManager software and the fourth one is left available to launch an application of your choice.
The TravelMate C312XM has an EMR (Electromagnetic Resonance) or active touch display. This means that there is no touch sensitive surface on the display so you can’t use your finger. The advantage is that the display tends to be clearer and without the blotchiness you get from a passive touch panel.
The supplied stylus has a virtual eraser on the back and a right click button to make it easier to use with various applications. Having an active touch screen also allows for slightly better precision than on a passive touch screen, but don’t expect it to be as good as something like a Wacom Tablet.
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