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Acer 512T Laptop Review

Acer 512T Laptop Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Our Acer 512T has been going all over North America lately (read: in planes, trains and automobiles), we've had enough time on it to finally write up a review straight from road experience.
 89% Rating:   
Filed under: Notebooks Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Acer Mar 11 2000   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Notebooks > Acer 512T

CD-Rom, Modem and Drives

The seat in front always leans back:

I think that should be a proverb, it always seems to come true... The screen panel on the Acer 512T is just under 10 inches high, and a good viewing angle for me just clears the seat in front, which is halfway inclined. So, if the person in front of me wants to lean back there are still a few inches of travel the screen can make before it gets to a weird angle where it's hard to see the screen and colours are distorted. The manufacturer doesn't list the viewable angle, but I would guess that if the screen is down about 15-20 degrees (from a 90 degrees to the keyboard) readability is difficult. Side to side viewable angles are much better, and as for pushing the screen panel back, expect about 20-30 degrees of travel before things begin to be difficult to read.

Getting into the drives:

  The A:\ drive is to the right side, just below the surface of the palm rest. Easy enough to put things in, but the disk eject button sticks out about 1/4" when a disk is in the drive. It feels flimsy and could get caught on things or bent and broken quite easily. I've gotten my sweater sleeve caught on it several times already.

CD-ROM:

The Acer's 24X CD-ROM is somewhat curious, increadibly small and worth a closer look. A button releases the drive, which springs open about a second later, just enough to open it the rest of the way by hand.

When the computer is on a persons' lap inserting a CD is not difficult. The CD is placed onto the spindle with one hand and pressure applied with the thumb, while the fingers support the whole apparatus. The fit is tight, and can be a bit disconcerting at first, but works. Removing a CD is easy in either case. One simply pushes the button, the tray pops out, and the CD is removed at an angle (thumb on spindle, fingers pull CD).

The only downside that I have seen with the CD-ROM is when the computer is on a flat surface. There isn't enough room to support the tray with your fingers from beneath. Considering the force necessary to insert the CD, it feels like it may be bent or damaged.

Some extra caution is necessary with the CD drive open, as laser and optics are contained within the tray. One scratch, or some spilled coffee, and say good-bye!

PCMCIA:

The two PCMCIA sockets are located next to the A:\ drive and CD-ROM. The cards insert easily, and a little button makes removal a snap. Push the button and it pops out, push it back in and the card is forced out of the socket.

Simple, and a flap automatically folds down to keep debris and dust from getting inside the socket. There is one flap per PCMCIA socket, so with just one card installed the other socket is still protected. The sockets support two Type II, or one Type III PCMCIA card.


Built in Modem:

The phone port is located right next to the PCMCIA, just by the base of the screen. This seems curious at first, as I expected it to be in the back of the computer. But, having connected and disconnected a phone line a million times in the last week the placement makes obvious sense. Portable computer with built in modem = lots of internet accessing.

As expected, the modem is V.90 56K
data/fax that is multi-country capable.

The phone cord is easily inserted into the socket, but is recessed a bit too much, so removal is not as easy as it could be. If the jack were not as recessed, or there was more space for fingers to push down that little lever on the jack, things would be markedly easier.

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Contents of Article: Acer 512T
 Pg 1.  Acer 512T Laptop Review
 Pg 2.  — CD-Rom, Modem and Drives
 Pg 3.  Portable CD-Player and 12.1" Screen
 Pg 4.  Speed, Networking and Conclusions

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