GCN Lab Review: Acer TravelMate 4020WLMi

Pros: Extremely low price

Cons: Sub-par performance, short battery life

Price: $1,099

Performance: C+

Battery life: C+

Features: B-

Value: B+

The TravelMate 4020WLMi is an adequate laptop, provided you don't push it too hard. Unfortunately, we designed our testing procedures to do just that. As a result, the TravelMate did not perform as well as other systems.

Its benchmark score of 7,040 was the lowest in the review'about 6 percent below average. And its six-cell battery ran for two hours and 25 minutes on our worst-case scenario tests, which are designed to max out the work the notebook is asked to do.

The TravelMate has about the minimum number of features you'd expect in a business-class notebook. For instance, there's no fingerprint reader, which other vendors have determined is desirable in today's security-conscious market. We'd agree.

At six pounds, the TravelMate is about as heavy as most of the other notebooks we tested, including ones with bigger batteries and more accessories. It appears the relatively smaller battery didn't do anything to make the system lighter.
This laptop's best feature is its $1,099 price tag, which is about $600 less than the other notebooks in this roundup.

That figure reflects a CPU, battery and features that lag the systems we tested, but it might still be a good deal in an apples-to-apples comparison.

If you're looking for something in the $1,000 range, you'd do well to custom-configure something like our Reviewer's Choice Gateway M465-E or a Dell Latitude D620 to see if you can get the same from those companies as you can from Acer, or more.

With no glaring flaws, though, the TravelMate would serve you and your budget well.

Acer America Corp., San Jose, Calif., (800) 733-2237, www.acer.com/us

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