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Acer TravelMate C210

Acers serves up a Tablet PC convertible with a better hinge solution
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

Once upon a time, in the dawn of pen computing, the likes of the IBM Thinkpad P750 and PE360 used a unique mechanism that allowed the computers to be used like standard notebooks, but also like slates with the screen facing up. Today, almost all Tablet PC convertibles use a different, the one whre the screen rotates around a pivot until it faces the other way and can then be folded down onto the keyboard, LCD-side up. That is elegant, but, unfortunately, makes for hugely annoying screen flex when you tap the digitizer with your pen. Well, Acer now offer a new solution that, while patented, very much works like those old IBM ThinkPads.

Using a "sliding-track mechanism," the bottom of the TravelMate 210's LCD case slides forward until the screen lays on top of the keyboard, LCD facing up. And since the mechanism supports the display case roughly in the middle of it as oppose to the single picot at the center-bottom of standard Tablet PC convertibles, there is much more stability. This solution precludes rotating the screen, but who neds that anyway?

Other than that, this TravelMate started life as a fairly standard Tablet PC convertible available in two versions, the Pentium M-based C204TMi and a somewhat lesser-equipped C203ETCi powered by a Celeron M 370. The two models varied in disk, memory capacity, graphics sub-system, and the Pentium version also hasda fingerprint reader. Both came with an internal optical drive--always an advantage. The 12.1 inch displays, oddly, were limited to 262k colors, a rarity these days, but in just about any other respect the C200 delivered. Note that due to the unique sliding hinge, there is no touchpad. The C200 used a trackstick and scrollwheel instead. We were not so thrilled with the high weight (5.5-5.7 pounds) for a 12.1-inch TPC convertible, and a single speaker is inexcusable in a machine with a DVD drive.

Acer then upgraded the C200 to the C210 that's based on the latest Intel Centrino technology with Intel Core 2 Duo processors, the 945PM Express chipset, an NVIDOA GeForce Go 7300 graphics subsystem, and up to 4GB of memory. All this means that the C210 is a genuine Vista machine. It is still listed internationally (click on the product link on the right, but no longer on the Acer US site.

Specifications Acer C210
Added/changed Changed 02/2007; replaces Acer C200
Form-factor Notebook Convertible
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo T5500/T5600 or T7200/T7400
CPU Speed depends
Chipset Intel 945GM Express; NVIDIA GeForce 7300
Standard/Max RAM 512MB/4096MB DDR2 533/667MHz
Disk/drive 60 to 160GB/DVD-CDRW or DVD double-layer burner
Card slots 1 PC Card Type II + 4-in-1 reader
Display type Transmissive TFT
Display size/res 12.1-inch/1024x768
Digitizer/pens Wacom/1
Keyboard/scale Integrated, 84keys
Ruggedness Standard
Housing Magnesium outer, plastic inner
Size (WxHxD) 12.4 x 9.4 x 1.4
Weight 4.5-5.7 lbs. depending on configuration
Power Li-Ion ("3.6/3.9 hrs"), over 8 hours with second battery
Interface 3 USB 2.0, RJ11, RJ45 (Gigabit), IrDA, Bluetooth
Interface IEEE1394, audio, 802.11a/b/g, video, fingerprint reader
List price US$1,129-1,799 (web prices)
Contact global.acer.com
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