Archive for July 29th, 2006

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Acer TravelMate 3012 Review (Part 2)

Review Part 2 – Software toys.

Go To Part 1 of the review.

The Acer TravelMate 3012 comes with a variety of software tools and applications. Many of these are accessed from the ‘e’ button below the screen. Pressing this button brings up the Acer ‘Empowering Technology’ panel.

The panel covers:

  • eData Security Management which allows you to encrypt files
  • eLock Management for locking removable storage
  • ePerformance Management covering memory and hard drive optimisation
  • eRecovery Management burns backups to DVD
  • eSettings Management – bios and admin passwords
  • eNet Management for wireless network setup
  • ePower Management – all aspects of power management
  • ePresentation Management is a simple utility which enables you to select the resolution of your external projector
  • Other software that ships with the 3012 includes Cyberlink PowerDVD, NTI CD & DVD Maker, Adobe Reader 7.0 and Norton Antivirus.

    The nice thing about the other shipped apps. is that they don’t install by default but rather you can choose to install them later if you wish. I like this idea much better as, for example, my Dell laptop shipped with McAfee security suite on a 90 day trial. I didn’t want McAfee as I use Symantec Antivirus Corporate Edition at work. McAfee was a real pain to remove from the Dell, requiring about 5 reboots. No problems here if you don’t want any of the software you simply choose not to install it.

    One final cool piece of software is the Acer GraviSense application. This is an innovative utility designed to protect your data by automatically “parking” the heads of the hard drive in the event that sudden motion is detected. The Acer GraviSense can also be set to activate an alarm in case your notebook is moved by an unauthorized person. In anti-theft mode, if the laptop is moved a password must be entered before it can be used again.

    In practice I found most of the software to be pretty useful. The Gravisense thing is pretty cool to play with to see just how much you have to move the laptop for the software to notice!

    One problem I am having at the moment is with the ePower Management. This application overrides the standard Windows power management interface in favour of a more complex array of controls. These cover the basics such as backlight brightness and standby/hibernation times but it also includes the ability to turn on and off bluetooth, WiFi, Firewire and the cardbus interface as well as throttle the CPU. The problem I’m seeing with this is that often it does not recognise when you switch from running on mains power to running on battery. As a result the CPU isn’t throttled down and I find myself running out of battery power pretty quickly. I just have to remember to check the status manually each time I plug in or unplug the power.

    Anyway, enough for now on software. We’ll cover something else next time!

    Go To Part 1 of the review.

    Matt

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    Posted in: Laptops