Staying true to the signature Acer notebook style is the Acer TravelMate 8105WLMi. Weighing 2.9Kgs, the 8105 is pushing the envelope for sheer power, setting WorldBench and 3D Mark scores on par with the Alienware m5700 (the fastest notebook in the test centre).
Posting 96 in WorldBench 5 and 18134 in 3D Mark 2001SE, the TravelMate gets great mileage. However, it is let down a little in gaming performance, averaging 21fps (frames per second) when running FEAR on high settings. Whilst 21fps is admirable, it was only half of what the m5700 delivered.
For all its grunt, the 8105 remains exceptionally quiet and cool. Running a full load, the base temperature reached 35 degrees Celsius (the coolest laptop in the test centre). Speaking of cool, the keyboard is ergonomically curved and the track pad features horizontal and vertical scrolling and a third four-way scrolling mouse button.
Acer has done a fantastic job with the design of their chassis. The front panel has a 5-in-1 media card reader (SD, xD, MS, MMC and MS Pro), infrared and audio ports. Nothing has been left out when it comes to connectivity; VGA, S-Video, DVI, a swappable optical drive, four pin FireWire, 4 x USB 2.0, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi (with Acer's high efficiency antenna), Ethernet and a modem port.
The security conscious will enjoy their international warranty and the embedded smart card reader that acts much like a SIM card. The packaged software allows great functionality from the start, including Acer's ePower management which builds on an already long battery life of 2hr 42 minutes in Mobile Mark 2002. -- Damien Donnelly
Verdict: Overall, the 8105 is an exceptional notebook with great battery life and connectivity. The only things missing are a microphone, webcam and a fingerprint scanner.
Specifications: Intel Pentium M 770 (2.13GHz, 533MHz FSB, 2MB L2 cache); 15.4in WSXGA+ TFT LCD; ATI Mobility Radeon X700 128MB; 100GB HDD Serial ATA; DVD-Super Multi Double Layer; 1GB DDR2 533; 802.11a/b/g, Bluetooth.