Whenever a new technology comes along there will always be the early adopters, those people who must have the latest features regardless of the price. If you fall into that category then you’ll be in for a treat with the Acer TravelMate 8215WLMi. Sony may be the leading light of the Blu-ray market but Acer, never a company to miss a trick as it has already released a HD DVD notebook, has followed it up with Blu-ray in this model.
Weighing in at 3.1kg, this is a semi-portable machine. The reason for the weight is the use of a 15.4-inch panel, which is a standard TFT, so you won’t find the glossy coating common with Super-TFT panels. It’s a bright screen but we found there was a slight haze of the screen, which stops it from having a genuinely white appearance when viewing spreadsheets and the like. This didn’t prove a problem when watching media, as the Blu-ray drive allows for high-def movies. The TravelMate series is aimed at business users, which seems a little odd for a format that is being squarely aimed at the consumer market.
Acer is the only notebook manufacturer that supplies their business machines with keys that are pitched at a five-degree angle, which matches the position of a typist’s hands far more naturally. The keys are well mounted and the action smooth, so once you’ve grown accustomed to the angle, this is a great keyboard to use.
Powered by Intel’s latest processor, the Core 2 Duo T7200, in this instance the 2GHz variant, this isn’t a machine for those simply looking to write emails. Paired with 2048MB of DDR2 memory, you can easily use the 8215WLMi for editing audio and video, without placing too much stress on the system. The system is rounded out by a 160GB hard drive, is more than quick enough for editing tasks.
The main specification may be fine but the use of the ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 is an odd option, for this price we were expecting the X1700, which is the latest version: far more powerful and even saves on battery power. You do get 512MB of DDR3 memory and things really move with the X1600, but it may be worth enquiring as to when it will be upgraded.
You’ll find a 1.3-megapixel camera, as well as 5-in-1 Card reader fitted. A Bluetooth VoIP phone is included in the box, which slots neatly into the ExpressCard slot, and you’ll find a Vista upgrade redemption upgrade card included, so you needed worry about buying a laptop with an OS that is about to become obsolete.
The core specification of the Acer TravelMate 8215WLMi can’t be faulted and the fact you get plenty of power and battery life, makes it an ideal notebook. If you can live with the ageing GPU and less than perfect screen, all in the name of having Blu-ray, then this is the machine for you.