The laptop's 120GB Seagate hard drive offers a good deal of space for storing ordinary text documents and a healthy collection of audio, video and image files. We were slightly disappointed that it doesn't use the newly announced 160GB Seagate laptop drive, but Acer has fitted the laptop with Disc Anti-Shock Protection (DSAP), which protects the hard drive in case of sudden shocks or vibration. There's also a multi-format DVD writer that's compatible with DVD± (plus and minus) and DVD-RAM discs.
We expect a plethora of external connectivity options from a Centrino laptop, and the Travelmate 8204WLMi doesn't disappoint. As well as offering Wi-Fi connectivity over 802.11a/b/g networks, it has Bluetooth, a front-facing infrared port and a gigabit Ethernet adaptor offering a theoretical maximum network throughput of 1,000Mbps -- ten times faster than standard 10/100 Ethernet adaptors.
The Travelmate 8204WLMi also includes a VOIP telephone handset for making phone calls routed over the Internet. This innovative unit charges itself via the laptop's PC Card slot, and can be used to make wireless voice calls when the 8204WLMi is in close proximity.
Impressively, the Travelmate 8204WLMi's Core Duo CPU and Napa backbone help it achieve desktop-standard performance without sacrificing battery life. It racked up a PCMark 2004 score of 4,236, which makes it the fastest laptop we've ever seen. It also manages to beat the vast majority of desktop PCs at their own game, clocking up a much higher score than the Dell Dimension 5150c, which uses a desktop-specific dual-core CPU.
Its gaming abilities are also commendable given it's primarily aimed at business users. The 8204WLMi achieved a relatively average score of 1,999 in the hugely demanding 3DMark 2006 graphics benchmark suite, but achieved a very strong 56.6fps in Doom 3, and 69.6fps in Far Cry.
The Travelmate 8204WLMi also has very good battery life. Despite its abundance of power, it lasted 231 minutes in our MobileMark 2002 tests, which is absolutely unheard-of in laptops this fast. In comparison, the similarly quick rockdirect Xtreme 64 has a battery life of only 15 minutes.
Edited by Mary Lojkine
Additional editing by Nick Hide