A fast-growing name in the UK, Acer splits its laptops between the consumer Aspire and corporate TravelMate range. Affordable and well specified, the Acer TravelMate 3043WTMi is a powerful ultraportable.
Using one of Intel's latest Core 2 Duo processors, performance is outstanding. Matching the power of most desktop replacements, the Acer effortlessly runs all software and provides solid stability.
Two batteries come as standard. The larger six-cell battery protrudes from the rear of the case and provides a run-of-the- mill battery life of 225-minutes. A smaller three-cell battery sits flush with the chassis, dropping the weight from 1.7kg to 1.6kg, but runs for just 106 minutes.
Providing impressive usability, a broad keyboard is squeezed into the laptop's slim build. The main keys are large and responsive, with a smooth typing action. The touchpad and mouse buttons are equally well-designed, making the Acer a pleasure to work on.
As with many corporate systems, a standard TFT screen is used rather than a glossy Super-TFT option. Colours aren't as vibrant as on glossy screens, but reflections are non-existent, making it easy to work in travel situations where ambient light frequently changes.
With a 120GB hard drive, you're unlikely to ever run out of space for your files. The disk is also shock-protected to prevent data damage if the laptop gets knocked. Unlike most laptops there is no built-in optical drive, but an external recordable DVD drive is included.
Extra features include a 1.3-megapixel camera fitted above the screen for video conferencing. Moveable through 225-degrees, users can easily switch the camera to a first-person perspective; ideal for displaying colleagues sitting across from you in meetings.
Bluetooth and Infrared can be used to wirelessly sync external peripherals. 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi also allows connection to wireless hotspots in any country. When back at the office, Gigabit Ethernet allows the fastest data transfer speeds possible when used with compatible networks. The main strength of the Acer is its general touch and feel. Slim and comfortable to use, this is a laptop that most people would be more than happy to use on even the longest of journeys.
Providing high performance from a portable chassis, only the limited battery life and lack of a built-in optical drive limit the Acer TravelMate 3043WTMi. In all other respects, this is a feature-packed and comfortable ultraportable with an equally likeable price tag.