Acer TravelMate C202TMi review
An original and effective tablet design coupled with a solid specification make this a very welcome addition to the tablet PC
Review Date: 15 Dec 2005
Reviewed By: David Fearon
Price when reviewed: (£1,303 inc VAT)
We were a little underwhelmed by Acer's C312XMi convertible tablet a couple of months ago, but with the C202TMi Acer once again displays its ingenuity.
Far from the seen-it-before swivelling-screen convertible design of the C312XMi, the C202TMi demonstrates a new method. When you want to use the machine in notebook mode, the screen simply slides back and upwards rather than swivelling; it's an arrangement that feels slick and sturdy.
With the screen raised, the C202TMi actually looks more like an all-in-one compact desktop PC than a notebook. It's neat and business-like, and won't be out of place as a permanent office fixture that only slips into tablet mode for the occasional meeting. And for those on the move, the top of the screen extends just a couple of inches over the back edge of the body, which will prevent it bashing on the back of the seat in front in economy class.
The downside to the novel design is that the bottom edge of the screen only slides around two-thirds of the way back along the body in notebook mode, meaning the keyboard has to be placed well forward, with the consequent loss of a wrist-rest area. In use, the position of the keyboard and its restricted depth of 85mm front to back - about 10mm shallower than, for instance, the already shallow ThinkPad Z60t - mean it takes some getting used to. It isn't as comfortable as a machine with a full wristrest, but still fine for typing on for a couple of hours.
Natural fears of being unable to protect the screen by closing the lid like a standard notebook proved largely unfounded in use - the 12.1in TFT monitor is incredibly strong and we were barely able to make the display distort. Acer tells us the production model will come with a screen protector, but not a full case, which at this price does seem a bit miserly. The screen itself, although just 12.1in and with only a 1,024 x 768 resolution, is bright and has good viewing angles.
Both three- and six-cell batteries come in the box: the three-cell is best viewed as emergency backup, since it gives a paltry 29 minutes of heavy use, but the six-cell unit managed one hour, 17 minutes under heavy use and three hours, 52 minutes with lighter duties. A nine-cell battery is an option, plus you can replace the optical drive with a supplemental battery - Acer claims battery life of up to eight-and-a-half hours with the second battery installed.
The weight of the machine with the six-cell battery and optical drive is 2.5kg; fine for a notebook but a little heavy for a tablet in slate mode. However, you can remove the optical drive and replace it with the 'weight-saver module' - a blanking plate to cover the empty hole - reducing the weight by 300g.
In tablet mode, the C202TMi's features are sensibly minimal, avoiding the over-complex array of buttons on every side of the bezel that was the hallmark of earlier tablet designs. In slate-tablet mode, there are just four buttons: keylock, screen rotation, Fn and Escape. The pen itself is stowed at the front of the case using a friction holder - much better than the easily broken push-in, push-out affairs that fire the pen down the side of your train seat. The pen itself is a double-ended device too - flip it round and you can use the top as an eraser in applications such as OneNote that support it. Biometric devices are fast becoming a standard component for new mobile designs, and the Acer incorporates a fingerprint reader into the short side of the screen bezel. Acer's Protector Suite software is by default active at all times, so to lock the machine just swipe your previously enrolled finger and click Lock in the pop-up menu.
- Windows 10 trackpad shortcuts: Microsoft takes a leaf out of Apple's book
- Promo: Using IBM BlueMix to create successful business apps
- Why the Microsoft Band could be a game changer
- What's on this week's PC Pro podcast?
- Microsoft Office 16 set to launch late next year
- HP's vision for the future of PCs: the 3D Sprout
- How Google X plans to detect cancer and heart disease using nano-magnets
- Google Fit app arrives, but without third-party support
- Five ways Amazon Fire TV Stick beats Google Chromecast
- Lenovo's Smartband will unlock your PC
- Google Glass: mugger bait, pub problem and other lessons learned from two dangerous weeks
- Twitter, please don't fiddle with my feed
- How Satya Nadella can get some pay-raise karma
- Windows 10: a step back to go forward
- Michael Dell: Cloud infrastructure is the roads, bridges and highways of the 21st century
- How to check your identity hasn’t been sold to the hackers
- Tim Cook: this is how much TV has changed since the 70s
- Westminster wins the .London battle
- 20 years of PC Pro: from deep pan pizza to virtualisation
- Five reasons why the Apple Watch leaves me cold
- Five smartwatch features we’ll see by 2015
- How to wipe an Android phone or tablet
- iPad Air 2 vs Nexus 9: Apple and Google's latest high-end tablets compared
- Five things that are actually new in the iPad Air 2
- Bendgate, Antennagate, and why Apple doesn’t care about bad news
- iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 release date, specs and UK price rumours
- Office Online vs Google Docs: which free online office suite is best?
- iPhone 6 Plus vs iPhone 6 design comparison
- How to speed up an Android smartphone
- Nexus 6 release date, specs, UK price and leaked images
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office