Acer's beefy convertible tablet packs plenty of punch, but at the expense of portability.
- Responsive, comfortable keyboard
- Bulky, poor handwriting recognition
Acer's TravelMate C312XMi is a great device if you're after a notebook first and tablet PC second. The relatively low screen resolution impedes its handwriting recognition.
Price$ 3,299.00 (AUD)
This convertible device relies on a cam at the bottom of the screen to rotate between notebook and tablet modes. It's well designed and features task manager, function, screen rotation and direction buttons on the top face next to the microphone. A curved keyboard makes typing comfortable for long periods of time, even in cramped conditions, and a trackpad is included for navigation when the tablet is in clamshell mode.
The TravelMate boasts an Intel Pentium M Processor 740 (running at 1.73GHz), 512MB of DDR2 memory, an 80GB hard drive and a double layer DVD writer (capable of burning DVD+R DL and DVD+/-RW). Bluetooth, 802.11b/g wireless LAN and infrared are standard inclusions.
The Acer unit also manages reasonable video performance, thanks to a 128MB Nvidia GeForce Go 6200 video processor driving a 14.1" XGA (1024 x 768 pixel) TFT screen. The machine is well appointed, offering a card reader, three USB ports, FireWire, audio, VGA and S-Video out, modem and Ethernet, and a PC Card slot. Battery testing saw the device kick on for 3:31 hours; a reasonable result considering the large screen and impressive specifications. Acer also offers a TravelMate ezDock to suit the C312XMi.
The 3.2kg device runs on Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005, and Acer ships a useful software configuration system called Acer Soft Button in its software suite. It provides on-screen access to quick launch controls and is a substantial timesaver when running in tablet mode.
The device runs at a relatively low screen resolution for a 14.1" display, which hampers the sensitivity of the stylus. The lower the screen resolution, the less sensitive the stylus to subtle movement, and handwriting recognition suffers as a result.
If you're looking for a convertible notebook-cum-tablet that will primarily live in clamshell mode, the Acer model is a great bet. Unfortunately it's too heavy to carry around in the crook of your arm. Also, the relatively low screen resolution hinders its handwriting recognition.
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