Acer Travelmate

By John Taschek  |  Posted 2002-11-25 Print this article Print

Acer Travelmate

Acer got an early start in the Tablet space; we evaluated a fully functioning Acer prototype months ago (see review). The shipping TravelMate C102Ti clamshell unit is about the size of a small notebook and is indistinguishable from a notebook in appearance.

Many people will like the Acer units compact design and the fact that it is fully equipped, including an extra battery and an external CD-ROM. However, at $2,399, the Acer TravelMate is also the most expensive unit we tested.

eWeek Labs found the Acer device to be perfectly average in every way, which makes it a somewhat compelling machine because it has no notable flaws. The problems associated with the Acer are the same ones that other Tablet PCs have—notably, the fact that theyre Tablets.

The Acer we tested was equipped with an Intel Corp. 800MHz Pentium III-M. This is the minimum Intel processor needed for a usable Tablet experience.

The Acer performed well in usability testing, exhibiting only minor pen lag. Pen lag in Tablet systems is created by the processing power it takes to calculate the motion of the pen. Dragging a mouse, which has a typical resolution of 400 dpi (dots per inch), across a traditional screen produces virtually no lag. The Tablet digitizers have resolutions of at least 1,000 dpi. A simple drag across a Tablet can consume as much as 15 percent of processor resources.

The Acer also performs well as a functional notebook. Flip the 10.4-inch digitizer screen and twist it, and the Acer cannot be distinguished from a subnotebook. The Acer keyboard is small and the casing has a slightly cheap feel, but, overall, the Acers size and capability will make it a good choice for those who want a convertible Tablet PC.

As the director of eWEEK Labs, John manages a staff that tests and analyzes a wide range of corporate technology products. He has been instrumental in expanding eWEEK Labs' analyses into actual user environments, and has continually engineered the Labs for accurate portrayal of true enterprise infrastructures. John also writes eWEEK's 'Wide Angle' column, which challenges readers interested in enterprise products and strategies to reconsider old assumptions and think about existing IT problems in new ways. Prior to his tenure at eWEEK, which started in 1994, Taschek headed up the performance testing lab at PC/Computing magazine (now called Smart Business). Taschek got his start in IT in Washington D.C., holding various technical positions at the National Alliance of Business and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, he and his colleagues assisted the government office with integrating the Windows desktop operating system with HUD's legacy mainframe and mid-range servers.

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