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Sunday 3 August 2003

Lurks uber Laptop! [lurks]

Got me a new laptop, an Acer TravelMate 800LCi. It's your larger style laptop with a 15' display but it's a heck of a lot tinner and lighter than the Dell Inspiron 8000 monsters that Slim and I used I-8.
This is Intel's new Centrino chipset that is designed to be low power and integrates really nifty stuff like Firewire, USB 2.0 and WiFi. So it's got all of that built in, hell it's even got four USB 2.0 ports on the side for Pete's sake. The audio ports are colour coded and better quality than the Dell's and put nicely up the front left and the DVD/CD-RW is on the right hand side. Bloody CD-RW in my laptop!
LAN, phone jack for modem and S-Video out are on the rear along with your docking port connector, VGA out and stuff like that. The front panel has buttons to enable/disable the built in WLAN and Bluetooth. Did I leave that bit out? :)
Oh yes, I probably also forgot to mention what's driving at lovely 1400x1050 TFT panel too. The top of the range ATI Radeon 9000 Mobility. 64MB too! It's a bastard load faster than the Dell. Not just the graphics, the 1.3GHz Pentium-M encoded the soundtrack from a Spooks episode in LAME in 3:30 where as my Athlon XP 1800+ (O/Ced with cranked FSB and memory) did it in 3:09. So it's less than 10% slower.
It came with XP Pro. The software installed on it was appropriate without having too much irritating stuff. The touch-pad doesn't appear to work as smoothly as I remember the Dell's but that could be just me getting used to it. The buttons and surround around the pad are a sort of nasty silver plastic which is the only bit of the machine which looks/feels in any way cheap.
Being as this is a Centrino laptop, battery life is claimed to be in the order of 5 hours or so. I'm expecting 4 odd, going on some reviews but those numbers come from reviews of the faster model so maybe I will get five out of it.
The sound is, well, not so hot as you'd expect but it's fairly surprising that it doesn't sound worse. It has some kind of strange little woofer device on the underside which sits on the tabletop to extend the base a bit. It's all very adequate for sounds but I wouldn't want to play music through it, that's what the headphone jack is for.
The notebook doesn't come with a case, it's modestly packaged without the reams of unbelievable horseshit that comes with a Dell, for example. A case is extra, I bought a nice Dicota. Cost wise, it's available for a shade over a grand plus VAT. So far I think it's a stunning buy given it's less expensive by a good deal than the Dell I bought but the specification is a good deal more and it's a good deal more practical in size, weight and battery life.
Big thumbs up so far. This baby is going down to Houmous' yard for that summer LAN party, mark my words!


  1. Yeah, I have to say that you can believe the hype with Centrino. I've got the VAIO Z1MP which is similarly specced to the 800LCi, but it has a shite graphics card (ATI Radeon 16MB) to improve on the battery life. Performance wise it goes up against a 2.0Ghz P4 like for like, although it's got 1MB L2 Cache so number crunching is better? For work it's mint and again WLAN and Bluetooth are both integrated. I can go into meetings all day and not have to drag a PSU around with me.
    P.S Has anyone tried the WLAN Hotspots in Starbucks yet? f***ing rip-off. £14 for 2 Hours usage. The good thing is there are a lot of unencrypted private access points in central London so I just pop onto those.

  2. Having difficulty working out how to get this working with my T68 Bluetooth wise. I've got them to see eachother but I just don't see any place to put this PIN thing.

  3. From what i gather you should have a bluetooth manager and that offers you a box to enter the pin into.

  4. Yeah, the software for the Bluetooth on the lappy is amazingly complicated but I did managed to find where they'd hidden the stuff. Bugger me, I'm ready for my morning commute now! :)You realise, if I didn't disable most of them, it'd have 4 network icons in the system tray? Also, I bought the Travelmate 800LCi instead of the 800LCib which is more expensive but has built-in Bluetooth. Except, err, it does have built-in Bluetooth. They just never bothered to install the drivers. Hah!
    So a bit of a result on that front. Less clever was the purchase of a laptop bag which is too small for a 15' notebook. Madness since it's a fairly fat Dicota thing that had room for loads of other stuff. Done the smart thing and ordered your regular Targus nylon job. They've got a nice laptop size checker by model on their website that even has this laptop on it. Don't suppose anyone wants a nifty semi-rigid fat case for a 12' notebook plus lunch type thing?

  5. ACER/NO BLUETOOTH/gentoo/re previous post here about Acer notebook 800lci “NO BLUETOOTH Module”/Acer Co-. It was “advertised” and displayed at place of purchase as having bluetooth module inside of the beast. I have this machine and love it. It’s all good ‘cept for a few things. Heats up a bit more than expected. Pretty good battery life. Security feature/card slot-that’s nice. OK, I contacted Acer about the b.tooth issue –here is Acer’s rep’s response & my email to Acer(note the date on emails below) BTW, FIRST POST ON A BLOG. DON'T KNOW WHAT THE H. I'M DOING. Be patient, kids. I’m a Mom-you guys do the math on that one. I’m in the States. I’m putting linux/Gentoo on my litt’ Acer notebook. I like Gentoo. So, kick me out of this blog if a mommy scares you English bad boys-but I might cry. Seriously, I did want to share this Acer Company email & respond to a related post here. Thank you & I’ll shut up now. Read Acer communic below:re: NO BLUETOOTH 'From :'Mary Boggs' To : (ME)Subject :Configuration/HardwareDate :Wed, 28 May 2003 06:49:52 -0500Dear Ms. (ME) Thank you for contacting Acer America. The Acer America version of the TM 800 series does not ship with Bluetooth. We do not currently offer a notebook with Bluetooth installed. The TravelMate 800 series does not have the module installed on the mainboard. You would need to have a Bluetooth module in order to be able to use a Bluetooth device. This option is not available and we do not have an ETA. I apologize for any inconvenience.Regards,Mary BoggsAcer America Online Technical Support..…part of my orig email to Acer:TravelMate 800LCiDate Purchased: 05/19/2003Subject: Configuration/HardwareQuestion / Problem:This model is 'bluetooth ready.' I would like to order the bluetooth module so that I could have it installed, or do it myself. The salesperson told me that this model was setup with bluetooth already...the specs set up next to the display model also stated the same. I bought this model because I need & use bluetooth products------note below(my comment here on blog): duh. 'You would need to have a bluetooth module in order to use a blue tooth device' Gee, ya think? And no ETA. That kind of bites; I wanted b.tooth/will prob. get a b. t. USB or PC card. Also-for the person who posted here about this Acer, I read about the internal WiFi-the internal antenna is located in a rather bad place...thus, not the greatest signal strength. So, I use 802.11g Linksys pc card on my Acer/&/.11g router/access pt. Works much better. So, I have now have used the one PC slot. Still love the Acer. Regards, Mom/realmotherofall & I don't understand the part about 'leave a blank line for a pharagraph' so here's my blankness (honestly, I don't get it)blank follows
    sorry if I did this wrong.

  6. 'So, kick me out of this blog if a mommy scares you English bad boys-but I might cry'
    I've tried, four times, to read the blog here; and my eyes just go vortis each time.. someone take her laptop away and give her a couple of free line breaks :)

  7. Um, yeah. I don't really know what to say :)

  8. 'Leave a blank line for a paragraph' is part of the custom Blog uber-Technology. If you want to start a new paragraph of text - to keep things tidy - just leave a blank line.