Widescreen Notebooks: More Than Just Expensive DVD Players?

VGA And TV Outputs

Where picture quality of the VGA output is concerned, the 8103Wlmi has to admit defeat. Its competitors offer significantly better picture quality at the resolutions and refresh rates we tested with: 1600x1200 and 1280x 1024 at 85Hz. The video signal over the DVI port on the other hand was flawless.

An S-VHS output is provided for connecting the device to a TV. The available settings for the TV output are identical with those offered by competitors. This is really no surprise, seeing how ATI graphics chips are used in each of the systems tested.

Keyboard And Displays

The TravelMate 8103WLMi's keyboard.

Those who spend a lot of time pounding away at the keyboard will like its curved shape, although the keyboard does take a certain amount of time to get used to.

The touchpad can be turned off using a function key, while the keyboard is relatively noisy. The little green status lights for the hard drive and keyboard, found on top over to the left, more or less cannot be seen due to the nearly opaque silver coloring. The cursor block is unfortunately not separated optically and mechanically from the rest of the keyboard layout, since it also features dedicated "$" and "€" keys. This often results in miskeying. All in all, this model's keyboard came out a bit on the small side.

The battery meter display is found on the front, out of users' field of view.

Four freely programmable hotkeys allow for rapid, direct startup of frequently used applications.

Convenient Programmable Hotkeys

The two semi-transparent buttons on the right hand side of the front are attractive and useful. These can activate integrated Bluetooth and wireless components.

i

Nice-looking, practical solution: the Bluetooth button glows light blue, while the wireless button is orange.

When the components are activated, the BT button glows blue. The WLAN button flashes or glows orange depending on its operational status.