1.86GHz Pentium M 750 2MB L2 Cache
512MB DDRII RAM
80GB 4200rpm HDD
128MB ATI Mobilty X700 PCI Express
DVD superdrive - Ram/RW+/-/DVD+R Double Layer
15.4" WXGA screen
5in1 card reader
Tri band 802.11
I have not worked out how you insert pics into a thread, so those who do, please enlighten me. You've all probably seen pics of other machines anyway.
It's quite pleasing on the eye. The matelic material is quite plasticky but gives the illusion that it's some form of alloy construction. Open the lid and its more of the same, the screen is surrounded by hardwearing plastic. The curved keyboard feels a bit weird, if you was a speed typist, it will probably take some getting used to otherwise, it's perfectly useable. My only gripe is that, and this applies to a majority of the laptops out there, all the ports and sockets are all exposed in the open, very succeptable to dust and knocks. At the end of the day, it's functional and business like but not quite up to Sony levels of aesthetics (anyone seen the FS series???)
While the whole thing feels quite robust, some of the buttons feel a bit flimsy and insubstantial when pressing them (anyone who has used a Toshiba or HP/Compaq will know what I mean). The DVD tray comes out and goes back in with a nice firm action. All the supplied cables and attachments have a quality feel about them and this applies to the machine as a whole.
One thing I must state is that the thing can get very warm, not to uncomfatable levels but you will notice it. The main affected areas are the touchpad and the underside. It also gets noticeably hotter when you push the CPU and GPU.
The 15.4" WXGA ranks up there with the best but not quite Sony X-Black standard yet. The display is crisp and the colours are vibrant and the screen feels well lit. With Acer GridVista You can have four windows on screen simultaneously. Viewing angles are top notch as well, especially from the side around the 45 degree mark.
I watched The Matrix Revolutions and Spiderman 2 on my 8103 and the film display was very fluent without serious lag and ghosting as you have with other laptop displays.
My 8103 weighs about 2.9KG, not the lightest thing to carry about. It's dimensions are 36.3X26.6X3.4CM which is a bit on the large side and its quite diificult to find a nice case for it to slip into (recommendations welcome!)
This baby has it all! Bluetooth and 802.11 a/b/g. It also has Ethernet, Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet. I use a Linksys Gateway router at home and the 8103 picks up the 802.11g immediately and the signal is still strong (36MBps) at the bottom of my garden (20-30m away). I have no Bluetooth devices so I have not been able to test this bit out yet.
Now I know my 8103 will just about chew up anything you can throw at it in terms of Excel, Word, Powerpont and Access or any other office applications, most modern machines can as well. However, I was still impressed with the 3DMARK03 and 05 scores........................
I haven't run Halo or HL2 on the 8103 yet, but judging by those benchmarks, it should be able to handle it.
Now quite a few users have posted on this forum some concern over the 80GB 4200rpm HDD. I think the performance is negliable over the 5400rpm models. My desktop has a 7200rpm HDD and load times are not that disparate.
Battery consumption: 7/10
Acer reckons you can get 4 hours on average but I reckon thats a bit optimistic, my test are as follows:
Settings maxed, high intensity work i.e gaming, DVD watching: 1 hour 45 min average
Medium settings, web browsing: 2 hours 30 mins average
Lowest setting, word processing and spreadsheet work: about 3 hours average
Value for money: 9/10
I got my 8103 from www.digi-uk.com for £1283.09 inc VAT, next day delivery and a 2 year warranty extension on top of the standard 1 year. Now I have seen the machine on sale for as low as £1189 inc VAT exc delivery. However you look at it, £1200 for a Sonama platform is a good deal. When Centrino first came out, you was looking to pay at least £1500 for an equivalent spec machine. If you live in Hong Kong, my cousin said you could barter it down to £1000
This is my first laptop and I have to say I am quite pleased with my 8103. It has superb performance and the chasis is quite portable and robust to take it allmost anywhere in an urban environment. I have looked at other offerings from Sony FS series but it didn't quite cut the mustard mainly its Nvidia Go 6200 card & DDRI ram which looked way below par when compared to the ATi and DDRII in this machine. I recommend the ACER Travelmate 8103 WLMI to anyone who is thinking of buying a Sonama platform machine now.