So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Acer TravelMate 2304LCi
- Great battery life, very light, relatively cheap
- The price precludes some extras
This inexpensive notebook impressed us with its lightness and battery life, but don't expect a comprehensive set of features.
Price$ 1,299.00 (AUD)
Although inexpensive, the TravelMate 2304LCi is characterised by the same stylish corporate folio appearance as Acer's top-level range.
It features a CD writer/DVD player and 802.11b/g wireless networking using Acer's SignalUp antenna, which the company claims improves connection reliability.
The front fascia of the 2304LCi is where you'll find the built-in speakers, power status lights, Wi-Fi switch, audio connections (line-in, microphone and headphone) plus a USB port. The right-hand side of the notebook incorporates two more USB slots, the networking ports and support for one Type II PC Card.
Features are pared back to reduce cost, so don't expect TV-out or FireWire ports, a multiformat photo card reader or high-level graphics capable of playing the latest games. The integrated graphics are basic at best, but get the job done.
After benchmarking the TravelMate 2304LCi, we noted that it just outperformed the comparable ASUS A4L notebook in the PC WorldBench 5 productivity application benchmark, but that the ASUS notebook nudged ahead (albeit with quite low scores) in the 3DMark 2001 graphics test.
Application performance is powered by an Intel Celeron M Processor 350 and 256MB of memory. Although not as powerful as a Pentium processor, the Celeron M (mobile) processor is better than the Celeron D processor for mobility. It helped this notebook achieve a great battery life of 77 minutes in our intensive battery tests. Acer also pre-installs a utility to help you adapt battery life/power settings as needed.
An investment in the TravelMate gets you a notebook that's very light and portable and should be up to the task of helping you take notes at work, university or school, plus burn CDs and watch DVDs when you get home.
The Acer TravelMate 2304LCi's warranty is one year, but there are options to increase this. You return it to base if anything goes wrong, and if you live in a capital city, you're guaranteed a fix within two hours. All up, this is an ideal machine to start your business or school/university year on the right foot.
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