With its unassuming gray case, the Acer TravelMate 8000 is the plain-Jane laptop of the Dothan mobility era. (Intel uses the code name Dothan for its second-generation Pentium M processors.) An updated version of Acer's high-performance thin-and-light , the Acer TravelMate 8000 pumps out performance and includes a great mix of features, top-notch graphics, and nearly five and a half hours of battery life, although it's a tad slower than other new Dothan laptops.
The Acer TravelMate 8000 measures 12.9 by 11 inches, and at 1.4 inches thick, it's thinner than the but slightly thicker than the . Halfway between a thin-and-light laptop and a desktop replacement, the Acer tips the scales at 6.8 pounds, a few ounces heavier than either the ZTpro M1015 or the WinBook W360. With its small AC adapter, the TravelMate 8000 maintains a tolerable travel weight of 7.2 pounds. Too bad it requires a three-prong outlet to recharge its batteries.
Acer's curved keyboard, which has 18.8mm keys, takes some getting used to, but the Synaptics touchpad and its four-way navigation pad will help you speed through big spreadsheets and interminable Web pages. And the Acer TravelMate 8000 comes with something for every type of traveler: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and a modem. Ample ports line its edges, including four USB 2.0 plugs and a DVI connector for directly driving an LCD or a projector. In addition to a PC Card slot, you'll also find a smart-card slot and a flash-card reader that accommodate SmartMedia, Secure Digital, or Memory Stick modules.
While its exterior looks nondescript, the TravelMate 8000's components are top-shelf. In addition to the 1.8GHz second-generation Pentium M processor with 2MB of external cache, this laptop comes with 512MB of 333MHz memory (it holds up to 2GB of RAM chips), along with the latest ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 graphics accelerator, with 128MB of its own video memory; and a 15-inch SXGA+ screen. Storage is shared between a 5,400rpm 60GB hard drive and a DVD Multidrive that can read and write all of the major DVD and CD formats.
All this adds up to one speedy notebook, although the TravelMate 8000's score of 196 on our MobileMark 2002 benchmark runs slightly behind those of the Dell Latitude D800 and the , which scored 212 and 207, respectively. Acer makes up for it with 5 hours, 25 minutes of battery life, second only to the HP Compaq nc6000's duration in this small test group. Acer backs the Acer TravelMate 8000 with only a one-year warranty, but you can upgrade to a more realistic three years for just $124.
|BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating|
|BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery life in minutes|
Windows XP Professional; 1.8GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 128MB; Hitachi 5K60 80GB 5,400rpm
Dell Latitude D800
Windows XP Professional; 2GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Nvidia GeForce FX Go5600 128MB; Hitachi 5K60 80GB 5,400rpm
Windows XP Professional; 1.8GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 64MB; Toshiba MK6022GAX 60GB 5,400rpm
Windows XP Professional; 1.7GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 64MB; Hitachi 5K60 80GB 5,400rpm
Windows XP Professional; 1.6GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 64MB; Toshiba MK6021GAS 60GB 5,400rpm