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(Pocket-lint) - Now in short supply, the TM 370 was one of Acer's top selling notebooks, being replaced with this, the updated version in the Travel Mate series, the TM371 TMi. In a chrome and black casing using a one-spindle design, this is as robust as it is reliable and beautifully portable. The look is black collar and minimal design is topped up off with discreet, bright lights, inside and out.

Incorporating the Centrino mobile technology from Intel, the 6-cell battery offers 5 hours usage from a 2.5 hour charge time. For those closer to the office, an optional 4-cell battery is available too. The battery is located towards the front, causing a small bulk to an otherwise wafer-thin shell. It's worth packing the 6-cell, which gives great performance and no doubt peace of mind for client presentations.

The compact size doesn't limit screen possibilities- the 12.1 inch TFT is crisp and clear, with extra scratch resistance from the anodic LCD coating. The top piece is as slim as they come, with a thin, yet sturdy surround. Somehow the TM 371 really inspires strength and durability, but in the daintiest of shells.

Again, it's a wolf in sheep's clothing when considering the storage available. A whopping 60 GB hard drive gives the TM370 stacks of memory- a big plus considering the absence of built in drives. While without a floppy or CD-ROM, this model boasts a 3-in1 card reader, PC card slot, and a lovely freestanding slim line DVD-R/RW from Sony. No separate power source is needed- the DVD runs from the computer using a dedicated slot. This frees up the 2 x 2.0 USB ports for other devices. That said, one small moan is the unique plug socket for the DVD- a USB 2.0 plug would be better.

A parallel port is included too, discretely hidden with a rubber cap. It's all smooth contours on this beauty. As with the DVD and USB devices, (runs well with Dell AX3 pocket PC), printing from the battery is fast and you won't be left doubting the power left for that presentation. If the worst comes to the worst, just click the one touch recovery button. There are a host of assignable quick launch keys too, but as with the dual-button synaptic touch pad, controls are minimal, tactile and in keeping with the great looks of the exterior.

Connection to the web couldn't be easier. Acer includes a built-in 802.11b for wi-fi connection, with LAN and infa-red capabilities too via Invisilink. There's even a 56k modem on board to fall back on.

Software wise, there are Windows XP Professional, Norton Anti-Virus 2003, Power DVD and NTI CD/DVD-Maker.

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For a reliable, quick loading notebook that won't let you down this unit is hard to beat. Its strength comes in its slim and lightweight design that offers plenty on the feature side of things. If you can't locate a TM 370? Try the replacement TM371 that packs the same punch. Expect to pay £1050, where available, for the TM370. The re-branded TM371 is available now from £999.

Writing by Dan Leonard. Originally published on 30 April 2004.