The TravelMate is a beautifully executed laptop, but Acer certainly charges you for the privilege of owning it. By the time you've added VAT, it breaks the £1,700 barrier, becoming more expensive than any laptop we have encountered except for Evesham. But you get what you pay for, as this powerhouse proves.

The 8204WMLi scored a massive 111 in our WorldBench processing-speed tests, putting most other laptop and desktop PCs to shame. When performing Microsoft Office tasks it far outstripped the high-end baseline system that we measure PCs against.

We liked the LCD screen, which provides a good range of viewing angles and crisp, sharp image quality. Our only complaint is that at this price 15.4in is a little small.

This is a business tool, not a gaming system, but the games performance squeezed from the 256 Mbyte ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 isn't at all bad. It managed a reasonable 50 frame/s in our Doom3 video tests, which puts it ahead of all but dedicated games laptops. Battery life is decent, with a MobileMark score of 111 minutes in operation.

The herringbone finish on the case is a bit strange, but it can't hide the superb build quality. We particularly liked the curved keyboard, which made typing comfortable. Attention to detail is shown in the positioning of the several ports and switches to turn Bluetooth and wireless networking on and off. A 1.3 Mpixel webcam is built-in. This is easy to control thanks to the combination of a hinge and the Intuitive Acer OrbiCam software.

Specifications

  • 2GHz Intel Core Duo T2500;
  • Windows XP Professional;
  • 2 Gbyte DDR RAM;
  • 120 Gbyte hard drive;
  • 15.4in screen;
  • 256 Mbyte ATI Mobility Radeon X1600;
  • 802.11a/b/g;
  • Bluetooth;
  • Norton AntiVirus;
  • CyberLink PowerDVD;
  • 1-year collect-and-return warranty;
  • 364x271x38mm;
  • 3kg

OUR VERDICT

The TravelMate is a quality laptop ? it's fast and well built, and the battery life is decent. The graphics are good and attention has been paid to design details and build quality. But it's not cheap.