We've evaluated a number of "lightweight" notebooks that weigh more than a newborn baby, but the Acer 610 lives up to its title. Enclosed in a sleek silver and black case, the Acer 610 offers a speedy Pentium 3 processor, dual hard drives, and is Bluetooth ready.
The SmartCard feature is the Acer's biggest attraction. SmartCard enables users to encrypt files for increased security, and in addition functions as a combination debit card/credit card. Unfortunately, the review model did not recognize either of the provided SmartCards.
With the dual hard drives, file backups are a breeze and twice as reliable. The Acer also comes with Microsoft Windows ME operating system, although the test model had no software applications for Microsoft Office or Internet Explorer. However, we did load these on without any problems.
We were disturbed that the Acer 610 has no attached floppy disk drive. There is a USB drive attachment, but it's awkward to plug in and place on a desk. Although a local disk drive is not a vital component, it can be a lifesaver for those looking to transfer files between computers. The omission of a DVD decoder made us wonder if the space taken by the DVD player and accompanying software could be used for something else.
Overall, the Acer TravelMate 611 TXCi is a power-packed yet lightweight laptop that's ideal for professionals on the go. It is very reliable, speedy, and durable. While we could not effectively test the SmartCard, we were pleased overall with the Acer's performance.
ACER TRAVELMATE 611 TXCI
MANUFACTURER: Acer America; 408-432-6200; www.acer.com
CONFIGURATION: 1GHz Pentium 3 processor; 100MHz front side bus; 512MB of SDRAM; Microsoft Windows 2000 and ME; SmartCard Technology; Bluetooth-ready with built-in modem and Ethernet
PROS: Extremely lightweight; dual hard drives (11.1GB + 7.42GB) for system backup and simultaneous data retrieval; large, clear screen (1028 x 768 pixels at 24 bit true color-max resolution); two USB ports in rear; very quiet
CONS: No attached floppy disk; no DVD decoder to play DVDs