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Acer TravelMate 243X 30GB
(hx) 07:13 AM EST - Jan,27 2004

This month I had a chance to test the Acer TravelMate 243X 30GB notebook with the desktop Intel Celeron processor 2.5GHz and 14.1" XGA TFT LCD. The model has quite good design and ergonomics but it's targeted mostly at office applications (the integrated graphics 82852/855GM doesn't deliver adequate 3D graphics performance). So if you are looking for solid and cheap notebook (average price $1000 w/o VAT*) for business, this notebook is probably what you're looking for.

Technical specification:

CPU: Intel Celeron processor 2.5GHz, 128KB L2 cache / 400MHz processor system bus
Memory: 256MB DDR (DDR-266 RAM, upgradeable to max. 2048MB / two banks)
Chipset: Intel 852GME chipset
Graphics: 82852/855GM Integrated Graphics Controller with up to 64 MB of VRAM
Audio: MS-Sound compatible (16-bit, 44.1kHz, 65535 channels), Audio system with two speakers
HDD: Hitachi Ultra ATA/100 HDD  30GB
FDD: Integrated 1.44MB 3.5" FDD
CDROM: Integrated 24x CD-ROM (QSI SCR-242)
Display: 14.1" XGA TFT LCD with 1024 x 768 pixel resolution, 16.7 million colours (simultaneous LCD and CRT display, DualView support)
Dimensions/Weight: 332 (W) 294 (D) 39.4-39.9 (H) mm  / weight of unit: 3.27kg
Modem: Integrated V.92 56 kbps ITU modem (with international PTT certification)
Network: Integrated 10/100 Mbps Fast Ethernet
Connectors: 4 x USB 2.0 ports, 1 x RJ-45 jack for Ethernet, 1 x RJ-11 jack for modem, 1 x ECP/EPP compliant parallel port, 1 x Infrared (FIR) port, 1 x external VGA port, 2 x CardBus type II PCMCIA slots, 1 x DC-in jack for AC adapter 1x line-in jack, 1x line-out jack (external speakers/headphones)
Accessories: AC adapter 120W, 4000mAH Li-Ion battery pack
Battery Life: 2.5 hours battery life (actual battery life may vary, depending on usage and configuration - 2.5 hours rapid charge / 4 hours charge-in-use)
Keyboard/Touchpad: 84/85/88-key, inverted "T" cursor layout, 3mm (min.) key travel, built-in touchpad pointing device with ergonomic buttons and integrated scroll key 4 launch keys, including Internet and email (with LED for received mail) and 2 user-programmable keys, embedded numeric keypad, International language support
Software included: Windows XP Home Edition, Acer Notebook Manager, Acer Launch Manager, Acer System Recovery CD, Norton AntiVirus, Adobe Acrobat Reader

Acer has stripped the configuration down to a minimum feature set, no doubt to save money and allow them to sell the machine sub $1000. Here is a list of what you do not get: CDRW/DVD-ROM (there's only 24x CD-ROM), TV-out port, built-in microphone, PS/2 port, serial port, IEEE 1394 port, 802.11b Wi-Fi adapter.

First Impressions

The Acer TravelMate 243X has an office-type design - it's simple, elegant and feels relatively sturdy. The silvery top cover makes it looking very light - I would never say that it weighs over 3 kg.

The 14.1" XGA TFT LCD display can handle 1024 x 768 pixel resolution with 16.7 million colours  

There is no manual control over the LCD Panel Brighness - to adjust brightness you must use Acer Notebook Manager (Tray icon)

Sitting above the keyboard on the right of the on/ off switch are the four quick-launch buttons, and 2 user-programmable buttons. The touchpad is a high-quality unit and pointer manipulation is a breeze. Of coruse, pointing with a TouchPad, on the other hand, is a very different experience from using a mouse, and it takes about as long to learn (at least for me). Below the touchpad are two silver selector buttons that behave just like left and right mouse buttons, as you'd expect. There's also a four-way rocker between the selector buttons that allows you to scroll both left and right as well as the more usual up and down.

 


 

The configuration of the keys is done using the tool's "Launch Manager."



The FDD drive is located on the right side of the case. The optical drive is situated on the right side of the case. The CardBus type II PCMCIA slot  is placed behind it. The parallel and external VGA ports are located on the rear of the machine, next to four USB 2.0 ports, RJ-45 jack for Ethernet, RJ-11 jack for modem, 1x line-in jack and 1x line-out jack (external speakers/headphones). The DC-in jack for AC adapter is placed on the left beside the parallel port. Acer has not fitted a flap to protect the ports from dust.
 

Here are pictures of the bag and the AC adapter. There is nothing much I can say about the bag - well, this is good that it is supplied.

The bottom of the notebook and Li-Ion battery pack

 

Benchmarks under Windows XP

The Acer TravelMate 243X notebook performs well on the levels that it was designed to - office computing. Running Windows XP with Office XP. I applied Sandra 2003 (SiSoft Sandra Pro v2004.10.9.89) benchmarks to gain a picture of the performance of the notebook:


Conclusion

The Acer TravelMate 243X has a good overall showing for itself. It is a good performer on business applications and does fairly well at content creation. The gaming aspect of the laptop is very poor, but again this series of laptops from Acer is not meant as a gaming machine in any way.

The lack of a TV-out port is sure to disappoint those people who, like me, like to watch movies on a TV. Also there's no DVD-ROM / CDRW drive (only CD-ROM), no FireWire ports or 802.11b Wi-FI adapter, which is a bit disapointing, especially if you pay $1000.

The Acer TravelMate 243X is first and foremost a notebook design for pure business users who want a notebook that can travel, but don't want a notebook that will put a hole in the wallet. If you are looking for a new laptop to use for business, the Compaq Evo series is a good choice, especially considering the price point that the system starts at. The notebook can be purchased for $1000 without VAT* (the model with 20GB HDD is even cheaper) Of course, probably much better prices than that may also be found if you look for the right deals and rebates galore.

* Czech republic, January 2004



developer: Acer

last 10 comments:

999posted - Jan, 27 2004 - 08:15
Acer's can be a b!tch... as a technican, we get dozen's of problems with acer notebooks; electric shocks from the speakers, overheating powersupplies, dead pixels... you get what you pay for IMO

fsdfsd@dfsds.plposted - Jan, 27 2004 - 11:07
weird for 999 the 243lce has a buildin cdrw-dvd combo .cept the hd is 20 gig. sell tons of acers and sometimes problems

easilyposted - Aug, 06 2005 - 03:07
maybe i will buy one.

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