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Get tough, step on it

Acer TravelMate 8481

by Jonathan Kevin Castillo

With all the great machines coming and going every now and then, it’s easy to overlook others. Looking back, with a growing demand of “tough” devices, Acer had one drifting for some time. Now getting noticed is the Acer TravelMate 8481, a tough mobile workstation for professionals. It’s also Manila Bulletin’s standard laptop for reporters.

It features a modest specs sheet. An Intel i5/i7 core, which normally could power up 2GHz laptops, but is set to 1.6GHz for the TravelMate 8481. Its 14-inch screen has a technology called Super-TFT reflective coating. This means there will be no glaring from the surrounding lights, but at the cost of a dimmer screen. It’s a straightforward business laptop designed for typing, some Internet browsing, or anything that doesn’t involve massive computing. It can handle heavy software and apps but expect them to run slow.

It sports two USB 3.0 with one ESATA hybrid, HDMI, and VGA video output. It has a humble 320GB internal storage. And below the touchpad is a fingerprint scanner, which adds document security.

The extended battery has a curve that raises the laptop into an inclined position. At this angle, typing away in the keyboard feels more comfortable. The touchpad has a decent size, and gives sufficient room for navigation. Unclipping the battery is fast and easy, cutting space cost.

The large battery plus the low-voltage specs sheet gives the laptop at least ten hours of battery life. If you’re a constant traveler that require serious mobility while working, let’s say, on an airplane, fast food chains, or in coffee shops for long periods of time. Then the TravelMate 8481 will not disappoint.

Laptops in general receive some punishment over time while commuting. This can be in crowded trains, bustling streets with narrow passages, or in other everyday transport. Which is why we liked the sturdy metallic chassis, giving it a plus five to its endurance stat. We’ve had one of our reporters step on it and it still works like a charm. If being stepped on does little to it, we remain confident a few knocks wouldn’t harm it. This is a business laptop that is overqualified to accomplish the simplest things a computer could do.