I can't lie ... I don't love the Acer TravelMate 8210.

It's touted as good for travel, but the truth is, its weight of 6.6 pounds and size of 14.33x10.66x1.49 inches is, to me, cumbersome aboard planes, perhaps because I'm accustomed to a smaller machine.

The TravelMate comes with a nine-cell lithium ion battery that provides up to 3.5 hours of life depending on usage. It takes the battery 2 hours to recharge if the system's off, or 2.5 hours with the system on. There's also an optional six-cell battery, which provides another 2 hours of battery life.

Some good news: With an Intel Core 2 Duo mobile processor T7400, which includes 4 MB L2 cache, 2.17 GHz, 800 MHz FSB and 2 GB of RAM, the machine was plenty fast for the work I do, even with thousands of large photo and music files on the hard drive, which is 160 GB. Machines with 80 GB and 120 GB are also available. The disc drive also has enhanced Acer Disk Anti-Shock Protection.

I had no problems connecting to wireless access points in airports or hotels, which has sometimes been troublesome with other machines I've tested.

The TravelMate was a decent desktop replacement unit, and also doubled quite nicely as a TV. With the rise in various networks showing their sitcoms online, I've become a TV a la carte viewer, and I sometimes viewed them on the TravelMate's 15.4-inch TFT LCD screen, which has a 1680x1050-pixel resolution and can display up to 16.7 million colors. The video is powered by ATI's Mobility Radeon X1600 video/graphics card, and 256 MB are dedicated video RAM.

Now the bad: When working in Word or Outlook, the cursor moves to a random place on the page rather than where I left off typing. This is very frustrating for a person who writes, edits and e-mails 99 percent of the day.

Another smaller issue is when using the arrow keys to scroll up and down, the machine makes a strange buzzing noise.

Most troublesome was the amount of heat the TravelMate emitted. At times, it got so hot I couldn't have it on my lap. And the fan is on the right-hand side of the unit, so use of an external mouse is miserably hot after about 10 minutes.

I especially noticed the heat problem when watching a 45-minute program on the TravelMate; at one point, the unit got so hot, it powered off mid-show. Not cool (no pun intended).

Bottom line: I wouldn't pay for this machine. I don't love hot, red thighs after 30 minutes of working, or a machine powering-off mid-anything. 

Rating: 2 stars

 

Specs:
  • Intel Core 2 Duo processor T7400 (4 MB L2 cache, 2.17 GHz, 800 MHz FSB and 2 GB of RAM)
  • Modular Super-Multi drive (DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD-RAM)
  • 802.11a/b/g WLAN, gigabit LAN, V.92 modem
  • 15.4" WSXGA+ (1680x1050) TFT display
  • ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics
  • 4 USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 FireWire port
  • 1 PCMCIA (or PC Card) slot
  • 1 Serial port
  • 1 VGA port
  • 1 DVI-D port
  • 1 S-Video port
  • Acer OrbiCam camera
  • Price: $2,600
Jessica Jones  |  Associate Editor