Acer TravelMate 330T Review - Page 4

The Deciding Factors
The notebook is sleek and attractive for it is no thicker than 1 inch and has a silverish magnesium alloy top. Weighing 1.81kg, it is both light and thin enough to hold within the palm of a single hand.

The Sharp Actius PC-A250 (Mebius) is thinner and lighter, and you might add that the Actius is the prettiest thing you ever cast your eyes upon. Manufacturing over 80% of the world's LCD panels, the Sharp Actius is also recognized to have one of the best TFT screens found in any notebook, producing really crisp (contrast ratio of 300:1 vs the normal 80:1) and vibrant colours you must see to believe.


TravelMate 330T with EasyLink Combo attached

But the TravelMate 330T matched my wishlist closely and it comes with a friendlier price tag. At the S$3660 price I cut with a dealer during an Acer Fair, I got myself the notebook with the EasyLink Combo (CDROM & FDD drives combo) as well as a free upgrade to 128Mb RAM.

The notebook has a built-in Lucent Technologies’ 56K V.90 data/fax modem, 1 USB port, 1 Type II PC Card slot and the entire concert of standard ports. The keyboard is noticeably less cramped than on the Actius; with a nice standard 84-key layout, large 19mm key spacing and 2.6mm key travel, typing on a notebook becomes much more bearable.


All standard ports built-in.

At S$3900, the Actius retails with a built-in 100/10Base-T PCMCIA Ethernet card, 1 more Type II PC Card slot and 1 more USB port than the TravelMate. However, the standard parallel, serial and PS/2 ports are only built into the external floppy drive cum port replicator. Therefore, the floppy drive must be carried whenever there is a need to print or even use an external mouse.

Besides, on comparative ZDNet’s BatteryMark drain tests, the TravelMate scored 1hr 52mins against the Actius, which lasted 1hr 8mins. For the higher price, I would not get 128Mb of SDRAM and since the Actius' external CDROM kit is not included in the local package, it would set me back another several hundred dollars to get it. Also, Actius has a set of inverse ‘L’ directional keys, which will definitely annoy most users.

With all the above considerations, I made my decision. The image of the sexy Actius was the haunting thought when I made payment for my notebook. But I will live with only 1 USB port. With a built-in 56K modem, I can live with 1 PC Card slot and I can do without an Ethernet card.

So the adequate 12.1” TFT found on the TravelMate is going to suffice and I will bear with the extra 500 grams in weight. In return, I will have significantly long battery life and save quite a fortune on the RAM and CDROM kit.

 

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