CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Acer TravelMate 653LCi (Pentium 4-M 2 GHz review: Acer TravelMate 653LCi (Pentium 4-M 2 GHz

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
MSRP: $1,749.00
Compare These

The Good Inexpensive; fast performance; wide screen; well equipped; includes flash-memory readers.

The Bad Short warranty; weak battery life.

The Bottom Line The fast and well-equipped TravelMate 650 series will really appeal to corporate travelers looking for a desktop replacement they can take on the road.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.6 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Battery 6
  • Support 6

Review Sections

Review summary

In the world of notebooks, you don't usually hear the word compact used to describe a desktop replacement. However, the Acer TravelMate 650 series feels noticeably thinner and lighter than many competing desktop replacements, thanks, in part, to its two-spindle design. The line includes the already shipping TravelMate 653 and the recently announced TravelMate 655 (both models come as fixed configurations). The new TravelMate 655 features the same midsized chassis as that of its brethren, but the newer model includes a faster processor and more drive space. It also features several flash-memory readers and built-in 802.11a and 802.11b wireless networking, which should boost its appeal to corporate travelers. In CNET Labs' tests, the TravelMate 655 delivered slightly faster performance than the similarly configured Dell Inspiron 8500 and Toshiba Satellite Pro 6100, but its unimpressive battery will conk out somewhere between Chicago and Seattle.
Although the Acer TravelMate 650 series falls into the desktop-replacement category, the notebook's chassis measures just 1.4 inches thick and weighs 6.5 pounds (7.6 pounds with the AC adapter), so it feels slim and unintimidating. The shell is 13 inches wide by 10.75 inches deep, making room for a 15-inch (diagonal) screen in a purplish-silvery, titanium-alloy lid. The dark-gray, plastic base features a rubber shock absorber directly under the hard drive.

/sc/20895978-2-200-DT2.gif" width="200" height="150" alt="" />

A four-way scroll button sits below the touchpad, sandwiched between the left- and right-click buttons.

Thanks to a slight lip on the edge of the notebook, you can easily press the single latch and raise the lid with one hand. Underneath the lid, Acer's mildly U-shaped keyboard mimics desktop ergonomic keyboards in an attempt to keep your fingers in line with your forearms--though in an airplane or another spot with no elbowroom, you might really struggle to reach the keys. The keyboard itself operates quietly but sags under pressure and doesn't give good touch feedback. The important keys are big, as you'd expect on a chassis built for a 15-inch screen, and a four-way scroll button sits below the touchpad, sandwiched between the left- and right-click buttons.

The screen's 1,400x1,050 resolution makes for a spreadsheet jockey's paradise, and with 15 inches to spread out your numbers, you won't have to squint much. The display control has 15 levels of brightness. At the brightest setting, it gave us clean, even whites in all areas and good detail, but reds and yellows looked undersaturated; DVD movies surprised us when they made a slightly jerky debut, even at two-thirds screen. Stereo speakers at the left and right corners of the front edge sound raspy when turned up high, but at a reasonable office volume, they play speech and music clearly.

/sc/20895978-2-300-DT5.gif" width="300" height="225" alt="" />
Acer's keyboard has a mild U shape, but it sags a little.
The TravelMate 655 wraps communication devices and other basic capabilities all the way around its edges. The front edge sports an infrared port and two flash card slots--one for SmartMedia and Secure Digital, the other for MultiMediaCard and Memory Stick--and a button to turn the wireless transmitter on and off. The left edge has a single Type II PC card slot, a smart-card reader, and a four-pin FireWire port. Note that the TravelMate 650 series has no floppy drive; if you're not a flash-memory fan, you can back up on optical media using the combo DVD/CD-RW drive in the bay on the right edge or attach an external floppy ($89 from Acer) to one of the four USB 2.0 ports. But considering the TravelMate 655's short battery life, we suggest that you spring for a second $158 battery.

/sc/20895978-2-200-DT1.gif" width="200" height="150" alt="" />
The hot-swappable bay on the right side can accommodate a combo DVD/CD-RW, a second hard drive, or an extra battery.
/sc/20895978-2-200-DT4.gif" width="200" height="150" alt="" />
Acer packs in the features, including four USB ports, a PC Card slot, and a smart-card reader.

Down inside the TravelMate 655 lurk built-in 802.11b and 802.11a wireless networking; Bluetooth; a copious 60GB hard drive; a smoking-hot 2.4GHz Pentium 4-M; a standalone ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 graphics controller with 32MB of its own memory; and, as out of place as a bird in a doghouse, a mere 256MB of system memory. (Acer charges a stiff $520 to order the notebook with a single 512MB memory module, which leaves one empty memory slot.)

The TravelMate 653, which Acer released in February, features a 2GHz Pentium 4-M processor, a 40GB hard drive, and plain-vanilla 802.11b wireless networking. Both the TravelMate 653 and 655 come with Windows XP Pro, no application software, and some Acer-labeled utilities for configuring basics settings, such as power scheme and passwords, and managing wireless communications.
Mobile application performance
The Acer TravelMate 650, with its 2.4GHz Pentium 4-M processor, barely beat the Dell Inspiron 8500 to claim the top spot in this small test group. Interestingly, the amount of RAM had little, if any, effect on performance. (Both the Inspiron 8500 and the Toshiba Satellite Pro 6100 feature twice as much system RAM as that of the TravelMate 650.) Overall, the TravelMate 650's mobile performance lives up to its processor's potential.

Mobile application performance  (Longer bars indicate faster performance)
BAPCo MobileMark2002 performance rating  
Acer TravelMate 650
160 
Dell Inspiron 8500
159 
Toshiba Satellite Pro 6100
143 

SysMark2002 performance
The maximum performance scores follow the predicted outcome, with the 2.4GHz TravelMate 650 and the Inspiron 8500 taking first and second place, respectively. The 2.2GHz Satellite Pro 6100 brought up the rear. When it comes to maximum performance, the TravelMate 650 proved very capable in Internet-content-creation and office-productivity tests.

Maximum application performance  (Longer bars indicate faster performance)
BAPCo SysMark2002 rating  
SysMark2002 Internet content creation  
SysMark2002 office productivity  
Acer TravelMate 650
208 
303 
143 
Dell Inspiron 8500
205 
301 
140 
Toshiba Satellite Pro 6100
188 
283 
125 

To measure maximum notebook application performance, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's SysMark2002, an industry-standard benchmark. Using off-the-shelf applications, SysMark measures a desktop's performance using office-productivity applications (such as Microsoft Office and McAfee VirusScan) and Internet-content-creation applications (such as Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Dreamweaver).

3D graphics performance
The TravelMate 650 may disappoint hard-core gamers, but it still offers enough power for the average consumer. In 3D performance, the TravelMate 650 managed to stay competitive with the Satellite Pro 6100. However, neither system came anywhere near the performance offered by the Inspiron 8500, which houses an Nvidia GeForce4 4200 Go 64MB graphics adapter. This adapter pushed the system to a huge frame-rate score of 9,376, more than doubling that of its competitors.

3D graphics performance  (Longer bars indicate faster performance)
Futuremark's 3DMark2001 SE  
Dell Inspiron 8500
9,376 
Toshiba Satellite Pro 6100
4,090 
Acer TravelMate 650
4,039 

To measure 3D graphics performance, CNET Labs uses Futuremark's 3DMark2001 SE. The Labs use 3DMark to measure desktop replacement notebook performance with the DirectX 8.1 interface at the 32-bit color setting at a resolution of 1,024x768.

Find out more about how we test notebooks.


System configurations:

Acer TravelMate 650
Windows XP Professional; 2.4GHz Intel Pentium 4-M; 256MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 32MB; Toshiba MK6022GAX 60GB 5,400rpm

Dell Inspiron 8500
Windows XP Home; 2.4GHz Intel Pentium 4-M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Nvidia GeForce4 4200 Go 64MB; IBM Travelstar 40GN 40GB 5,400rpm

Toshiba Satellite Pro 6100
Windows XP Home; 2.2GHz Intel Pentium 4-M; 512MB SDRAM 266MHz; Nvidia GeForce4 420 32MB; Toshiba MK6021GAS 60GB 4,200rpm
The Acer TravelMate 650, with its 14.8V, 4,400mAh battery, came in 16 minutes behind the top-rated Dell Inspiron 8500, with its slightly more powerful 11.1V, 6,480mAh battery. The Toshiba Satellite Pro 6100, whose 10.8V, 4,000mAh battery is the least powerful of the three, came in last place. While we would have preferred a stronger battery in the TravelMate 650, most people will keep this desktop replacement close to a power outlet.

Battery life  (Longer bars indicate longer battery life)
BAPCo MobileMark2002 battery life in minutes  
Dell Inspiron 8500
178 
Acer TravelMate 650
162 
Toshiba Satellite Pro 6100
103 

To measure mobile application performance and battery life, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's MobileMark2002. MobileMark measures both application performance and battery life concurrently using a number of popular applications (Microsoft Word 2002, Microsoft Excel 2002, Microsoft PowerPoint 2002, Microsoft Outlook 2002, Netscape Communicator 6.0, WinZip Computing WinZip 8.0, McAfee VirusScan 5.13, Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1, and Macromedia Flash 5.0).

System configurations:

Acer TravelMate 650
Windows XP Professional; 2.4GHz Intel Pentium 4-M; 256MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 32MB; Toshiba MK6022GAX 60GB 5,400rpm

Dell Inspiron 8500
Windows XP Home; 2.4GHz Intel Pentium 4-M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Nvidia GeForce4 4200 Go 64MB; IBM Travelstar 40GN 40GB 5,400rpm

Toshiba Satellite Pro 6100
Windows XP Home; 2.2GHz Intel Pentium 4-M; 512MB SDRAM 266MHz; Nvidia GeForce4 420 32MB; Toshiba MK6021GAS 60GB 4,200rpm
Acer backs the TravelMate 650 series with a moderate one-year warranty and toll-free, 24/7 phone support. After the warranty expires, however, tech calls run a pricey $2.79 per minute. Acer offers a one-year warranty extension for $85 or a two-year extension for $170. The Acer Web site offers free tech support via e-mail, along with driver downloads, a short list of FAQs, and some technical papers. The company also has a generous policy on LCD defects: four bad pixels qualify for a replacement notebook. On the downside, if the system needs repair, you must pay for the shipping costs one way.

Best Laptops for 2018

See All

This week on CNET News

Discuss Acer TravelMate 653LCi (Pentium...