The Acer TravelMate 3022WTMi uses Intel's latest Core Duo processor, in this case the T2300 chip running at 1.66GHz. The Intel 945GM Express chipset includes integrated GMA950 graphics, which can dynamically grab up to 224MB of the system's 1GB of DDR2 RAM (expandable to a maximum of 4GB via dual SoDIMM slots).
The hard drive is a capacious 100GB Serial ATA Seagate unit with a fast 5,400rpm spin speed. As mentioned above, optical storage is handled by an external FireWire drive -- an Initio SSM-8515S multi-format dual-layer DVD rewriter.
Wireless connectivity is catered for by both Wi-Fi (Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG) and Bluetooth (2.0+EDR), while a Broadcom NetLink Gigabit Ethernet chip takes care of wired networking.
Two battery packs are included as standard: a 3-cell, 2,000mAh unit and a bigger 6-cell, 4,800mAh battery that protrudes about 20mm from the back of the system. Apart from the mains power input and the battery pack, the rear of the system houses the 124-pin connector for the optional ezDock, which provides six USB 2.0 ports, an ExpressCard slot, a Type II PC Card slot, 6-pin and 4-pin FireWire ports, digital (DVI-D) and analogue (VGA) monitor ports, an S-Video port, a digital audio (S/PDIF) port plus microphone and headphone ports, RJ-11 (modem) and RJ-45 (Ethernet) connectors, two PS/2 ports and a parallel port. The ezDock costs £152. Other options include Acer's PC Card-format Bluetooth VoIP phone (£34).
Acer provides its customary bundle of system management software under the Empowering Technology banner, along with the GridVista utility mentioned above. You also get Acrobat Reader, Cyberlink PowerDVD, NTI CD Maker and Norton AntiVirus.
Based on other Intel Core Duo systems that we've tested, we expected very good performance from the 1.66GHz T2300-based TravelMate 3022WTMi with 1GB of RAM. Although the system seemed very responsive in general use, we were unable to quantify this impression using our normal MobileMark 2002 benchmark, as this refused to complete on our test system in the time available. Acer claims 5.5 hours of life from the 3-cell and 6-cell batteries, but again we were unable to test this using MobileMark 2002.
Overall, Acer's TravelMate 3022WTMi is small, light and highly portable. Its wide-screen format, built-in camera and (optional) Bluetooth VoIP phone should all appeal to business users -- especially those who use the Internet for voice calls and video-conferencing. The new white livery is smart, although some business travellers may wish to carry a less eye-catching laptop, lest it catch the wrong sort of eye.
If you need an optical drive while on the move, you may want to look for a system with a built-in unit (such as Fujitsu Siemens' LifeBook P7120), as lugging the supplied external drive and its cable around will quickly become tiresome.
Additional editing by Nick Hide