Acer Aspire Timeline 3810T review

It isn't powerful, but its portability, looks and battery life make this laptop a great buy

5
Price when reviewed 
662

We won't mince words: the Acer Aspire Timeline 3810T is not a powerful laptop. With its 1.4GHz processor it plodded through our benchmarks, undershooting most you'll find at this price, with a score of 0.77. If you're looking for high-performance computing, you should look elsewhere.

But for everyday use it would be a mistake to write off the 3810T. Its 4GB of DDR3 RAM makes desktop apps feel pretty snappy, and note that it's a dual-core processor so multitasking won't slow it to a crawl.

And the low-voltage CPU needn't mean you'll get less done; we found the Timeline to be a godsend for productivity, thanks to its light-use battery life of more than nine hours. Even under heavy load it lasted for 3hrs 31mins in our tests, courtesy of its 5,600mAh battery.

It's nicely put together too: the slim design isn't the most solid, but it slides easily into a bag, and opens out into a stylish black and grey design with a 16:9 TFT that's sharp and bright, if a little lacking in vibrancy. The shiny black keyboard looks nice too, although the gaps between keys are a trap for dust and crumbs.

The Timeline's compact frame is partly achieved by leaving out the optical drive, which could be a pain when you want to install new software (or upgrade to Windows 7). It also means you can't easily use that widescreen display for watching DVDs - not that you'd necessarily want to, since the speakers are puny and wholly lacking in bass.

But, once you accept that the 3810T is neither a workstation nor an entertainment centre, what's left is very likeable. Its 320GB hard drive is on the generous side, with most similarly priced portables sticking with 250GB. There's draft-n wireless, an HDMI out and a versatile card reader. And, of course, you get an attractive notebook that will keep you working all the way from Heathrow to JFK and back. For £576 exc VAT, that's very hard to sniff at.

Warranty

Warranty1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions322 x 228 x 29mm (WDH)
Weight1.670kg
Travelling weight2.1kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo SU9400
RAM capacity4.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size13.3in
Resolution screen horizontal1,366
Resolution screen vertical768
Resolution1366 x 768
Graphics chipsetIntel GMA 4500MHD
Graphics card RAM64MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0

Drives

Capacity320GB
Hard disk usable capacity285GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskHitachi Travelstar 5K500.B
Optical disc technologyN/A
Optical driveN/A
Battery capacity5,600mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0

Networking

Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportno
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Bluetooth supportno

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchyes
Wireless key-combination switchno
Modemno
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)3
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readeryes
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetIntel HD Audio
Speaker locationAbove keyboard
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating1.3mp
TPMno
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use9hr 21min
Battery life, heavy use3hr 31min
Overall application benchmark score0.77
3D performance (crysis) low settings4fps
3D performance settingLow

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows Vista Home Premium 32-bit
OS familyWindows Vista
Recovery methodBurn own recovery discs
Software suppliedMicrosoft Works 9 SE

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