Acer TravelMate 8204WLMi Core Duo notebook

The dual-core notebook other vendors have to beat?

There's also bundles of connectivity on offer. Being based on the Intel Napa platform there's obviously an Intel wireless adapter - the ProWireless 3945ABG supports 802.11a,b and g standards. There's also an integrated Bluetooth adapter and a Gigabit Ethernet controller for high-speed wired conectivity.

Acer TravelMate 8204WLMi

The chassis is crammed with more features than you'd see on an average desktop replacement notebook. While many notebooks leave the rear empty of features, on the TravelMate 8204WLMi you'll find a DVI port - ideal for connecting up to an external TFT monitor, using a crisp and clear digital signal. The rear is also home to a port replicator socket, an S-video port and the power connector.

At the right there's a D-SUB port for connecting to an external monitor using an analogue signal, a network port for that Gigabit Ethernet controller, two USB 2.0 ports and a smartcard reader for added security - Acer provides a smartcard in the box with the notebook.

The front is also fully loaded with an IrDA port, a four-pin FireWire port and hard switches for both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth adapters. There's also a full suite of audio ports: headphone, mic and line-in; the latter also doubles as an optical digital output. Finally, there's a plastic flap hiding a memory card reader that accepts SD, MMC and MemoryStick formats.

The left side is dominated by the DVD writer but there are also a pair of USB 2.0 ports and a modem socket. Here you'll also find a Type II PC Card slot and an Express Card slot - Acer is really covering all the bases.

The DVD writer is an LG unit that supports pretty much every format bar DVD-R DL. The drive will manage 8x writing on DVD+R and DVD-R, 4x on DVD+RW and DVD-RW, 2.4x on DVD+R DL, 5x DVD-RAM, 24x CD-R and finally 10x for CD-RW media.

Acer TravelMate 8204WLMi

An interesting additional feature is the Bluetooth VoIP phone. Acer is well aware that many notebook users, myself included, use VoIP to keep in touch when traveling abroad. The Bluetooth VoIP phone allows you to happily wander around your hotel room while chatting, without the need to be tied to your notebook via a headset. The VoIP phone is the shape of a PC Card, which isn't surprising considering that it charges when inserted in the PC Card slot. The only downside to the VoIP phone is that it protrudes from the PC Card slot when it's charging, so you couldn't really store it in there. That said, this is still a great little feature from Acer.

Sponsored: 10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity