The Acer Aspire Timeline X is here at last, promising a major upgrade from last year’s original Timeline ultra portable laptop. The 2009 model came with a mammoth nine-hour battery and more than reasonable hardware, but the new Acer Aspire Timeline X series keeps that remarkable stamina while cranking up the specs even further. Is it worth the price of admission this time around though? Find out in our full Acer Aspire Timeline X review.
Read the rest of our Acer Aspire Timeline X review:
Acer Aspire Timeline X review: Battery stamina
Acer Aspire Timeline X review: PC replacement?
Acer Aspire Timeline X review: Intel Core speed and graphics
The Acer Aspire Timeline X 4820TG model we tested included a 2.27GHz dual core Intel Core i5 processor – an upgrade from the Ultra Low Voltage chips found in last year’s line – and 4GB of memory, allowing you to run just about as many applications as you can find on your computer while still surfing half the internet. But it’s the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 graphics card that makes this upgrade a really meaty proposition: it’ll comfortably take any HD video you throw at it in its stride.
Indeed, the graphics capability can seem like mild overkill for how a machine like the Acer Aspire Timeline X might typically be used. The 4820TG’s 14-inch screen (other models come in 13.3 and 15.6-inch flavours) running at its standard 1366×768 resolution is comfortable for all work and limited play – you wouldn’t mind catching up on some telly with it. But the screen’s a tad too small for watching films or extended bouts of game-playing, while the speakers are too weedy to provide decent sound. It’s perfectly possible the graphics card will often go under used in your daily routine.
Also, the higher Acer Aspire Timeline X specs do come at a cost, although Acer being Acer, it’s not an unreasonable mark up. The 4820TG model we tested comes in at £899: respectable for the components that have been used, but it may make you think twice about whether you really need that much power compared to other, cheaper offerings: a 14-inch with integrated graphics starts at £599.99.
What does make the Acer Aspire Timeline X series stand out is the long battery life. Acer’s power-saving technologies are effective without being obstructive – the LED display is bright enough to use, while a PowerSmart button can be hit to stretch the already impressive battery life even further. It racked up six hours of heavy use while unplugged in testing – that’s enough to fly to Cyprus, with juice left over to check e-mail at either end.
There are some annoyances, mind. The keyboard on the 14-inch Acer Aspire Timeline X is a reasonable size but bounces like a cheque from the Greek government. And forget what you may have read about the Acer Aspire Timeline X’s metal finish: not only is this less attractive in person than it is in photos, but it gathers fingerprints faster than the average homicide detective.
The inside meanwhile, has so many material shades going on that looks like a monochrome shade guide, with a typically attractive Acer keyboard marooned in a very boxy layout. It’ll be a disappointment to anyone who’s been tempted by the classy case when closed.
Then there’s the effect all the components have on the size of the machine. The machine weighs in at a hefty 2.2kg, compared to 1.4kg for a MacBook Air. The 342×246x30mm dimensions may be larger than some other ultra-portable laptops (It’s still more than an inch thick), but it will easily fit in a small rucksack, albeit perhaps not a sleek little manbag.
But these are comparatively minor quibbles compared to the powerful punch the new hardware gives the Acer Aspire Timeline X. The real question is whether the knock-on effects of all this power stuffed inside– the slightly larger size, dimensions and price – will deter you. If they do, then it‘s worth checking out the lower-spec Acer Aspire Timeline X 4820T. If not, then the premium Acer Aspire Timeline X option makes a great computer for people who want a real workhorse of a laptop that they can take wherever they go.