Acer Aspire TimelineX 5820T review

Price when reviewed

Acer’s Timeline laptops have always been about efficiency, with low-voltage CPUs and long battery life coming ahead of performance in the priority stakes. That’s all about to change, though, as Acer updates the Aspire side of the range to use an efficient CPU that can handle a little more strain.

We are, of course, referring to Intel’s Core i3 and i5 processors, which are making their way into various models in the Timeline family. Unlike the 45nm, Penryn-based CULV chips in existing models, this TimelineX 5820T uses a Core i5, built on the more efficient 32nm Westmere architecture with all its accompanying benefits.

Acer Aspire Timeline X 5820T

The Core i5-430M’s 2.27GHz frequency, for instance, is far in excess of any CULV chip, and both of its cores are kitted out with Turbo Boost so a busy core can borrow a little boost of power from an idle one as required. There’s also Hyper-Threading technology, as well as a 500MHz GPU integrated on to the die itself.

These technical improvements manifested themselves in much more laptop-like benchmark scores. The TimelineX 5820T sped to an overall score of 1.54, which is only a shade slower than the ever-popular Dell Studio 1557, with its mobile Core i7-720QM processor.

The upgrade isn’t so much about processing speed, though, it’s about the freedom the Core i5 brings to the table. As well as the aforementioned Intel graphics, an ATI Radeon HD 5650 chip is present to take the strain when required. It can only be enabled when the Acer’s plugged in – which scuppers any chance of portable gaming – but it managed a commendable 37fps in our Medium-quality Crysis benchmark. The High quality benchmark was a step too far, but there’s enough there to tempt casual gamers.

The key thing about the dual-graphics setup is that they’re switchable. Not in the dynamic sense of Nvidia’s latest innovations – you still need to manually select one or the other in the driver menu, unfortunately – but when you’re out and about the power-hungry ATI chip is disabled so it won’t impact on battery life. While the TimelineX 5820T can’t match the nine-hour lifespan of previous CULV siblings, its light use time of 6hrs 42mins is impressive in the arena of 15in laptops, and it’s efficient enough to give 2hrs 30mins when under full load, too.


Warranty 1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 380 x 245 x 28mm (WDH)
Weight 2.400kg
Travelling weight 3.0kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i5-430M
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 15.6in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset ATI Radeon HD 5650
Graphics card RAM 1.00GB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0


Capacity 500GB
Hard disk usable capacity 465GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Battery capacity 6,000mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0


Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 4
FireWire ports 0
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 2
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader yes
Smart Media reader yes
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader no
Pointing device type Touchpad
Audio chipset Realtek HD Audio
Speaker location Above keyboard
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 2.0mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 6hr 42min
Battery life, heavy use 2hr 39min
Overall application benchmark score 1.54
Office application benchmark score 1.46
2D graphics application benchmark score 1.49
Encoding application benchmark score 1.38
Multitasking application benchmark score 1.82
3D performance (crysis) low settings 88fps
3D performance setting Low

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Recovery disc

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