As is known mobile technologies develop somewhat slower than any other of the computer segments. It is no secret that notebooks have been long considered as alternatives to “type-writers” or later as strictly office machines. No one even tried to regard notebooks as solutions suitable for gaming needs (their specifications didn’t allow even thinking about that). Not to mention the multimedia applications, of course.
However, desktop PCs have already become all that and very often stood for entertainment centers at home or even at work (sometimes :)
Today portable notebook systems do still yield in terms of performance and characteristics to desktop solutions (which are considerably bigger at the same time). But this is actually the price we have to pay for portability and smaller size and weight of today’s laptops. Especially, since most contemporary laptops started using fully-fledged graphics controllers with their own RAM, which support all up-to-date 3D graphics effects. Today we are going to introduce to you a new laptop equipped with the latest mobile graphics controller – ATI Mobility RADEON 9700.
Please meet our today’s hero: Acer TravelMate 3201XCi.
Design and Ergonomics
The silver case of this solution is decorated with black plastic parts along the sides of the laptop. When you open up the top cover, you see a combination of black and silver colors (the frame around the screen and the space around monitor retention mechanisms is colored black, while the rest of the surface is bright silver). In fact, this is a pretty common coloring for a laptop, so we wouldn’t call this design outstanding or striking. In other words, it didn’t make any great impression at first glance.
The top cover can be opened very easily, you just have to lift it and adjust the monitor viewing angle accordingly (you can even do it with one hand, if you are holding the laptop on another hand, for instance). There is no spring clip or any other lock to prevent you from lifting the top cover easily. The 14.1-inch screen with the maximum resolution of 1024x768 boasts very good brightness and contrast default settings and offers comfortable viewing angles. You can adjust the brightness to your taste with the help of special functional keys. Although the brightness settings range is not that wide, you will feel comfortable when reading with the minimum brightness even if you leave the lights in the room on. In the middle of the bottom display frame there is a hole for the built-in microphone, which can even be used as a dictaphone due to its high sensitivity and quality sound reproduction.
The system status indicators are split into two groups. One of these groups is located right above the keyboard and includes the HDD status indicator, Num Lock indicator and Caps Lock indicator. Together with them you can also see a small rectangular power button, which makes it not very convenient to reach. Another group of system indicators is situated at the side of the laptop. You can see the power indicator in the center (it lights up if the system is on) and battery status indicator. These two LEDs are located very conveniently I should say, because even when the notebook is closed you can still see them.