Acer 2304LCi Notebook Just Right for Home and Office

Built For Home And Office Applications

The 2304LCi's 1.3 GHz Celeron M 350 processor, Intel 852GM graphics controller and 1024x768 display are typical of its market class. These are mobile computers designed for popular home and office tasks such as word processing, email, spreadsheets, business presentations and light database projects, Web browsing and playing DVDs. The Acer is not a good choice for 3D games, 3D drawing programs or heavy duty database and calculating applications.

For a notebook computer at its price point, the 2304LCi has some impressive features. It comes with Windows XP Professional, 512 MB of RAM, and a 60 GB hard drive. Similar notebooks typically are equipped with Windows XP Home, 256 MB of RAM and a 30 to 40 GB hard drive. Windows XP Professional expands networking opportunities, especially for businesses with corporate networks, and the additional RAM helps speed up some applications.

The hard disk comes with two 30 GB partitions; the second partition is intended for restoring the first in case of a problem, but can also be used for anything including installing software and even another operating system such as Linux. If you go the latter route, you will have to use the system restore CDs that come with the Acer should the main partition ever go south.

The Acer's plastic case is adequate, though we suggest taking care not to drop it - if you do, it will likely break big time. The fit and finish are good, but when the case is closed the rubber stops on each side of the screen do not touch the part with the keyboard. This allows the screen to flex, which increases the possibility of damage when the notebook is carried in a case or something is placed on top of it. When the 2304LCi is open, the part of the case that holds the screen can be flexed either by pushing from behind or by holding the case with two hands and twisting. This leads to minimal screen image distortion, and does not seem likely to harm the LCD screen panel.

Speaking of the case, it is evident that someone was thinking clearly when the front connectors were selected. Not only are all of the audio jacks on the front where they are easy to access, but one of the computer's three USB 2.0 connectors also resides there. This makes it much easier to connect flash drives and other temporary USB devices to the notebook. Also on the front of the case are the speakers, as well as power, battery charging and wireless LAN LEDs. There is also an LED for use when a Bluetooth adapter is installed. The 2304LCi does not come with a Bluetooth adapter, though it is available in other models in the TravelMate 2300 line.

The Acer 2304LCi front panel is very well thought out.

The 2304LCi has no proprietary docking socket. So hardware add-ons such as keyboards, mice and disk drives must be connected using the USB ports or a generic USB-based docking unit.

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