Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T review

Price when reviewed

It’s almost impossible to please everyone all of the time, but Acer’s Aspire TimelineX 4820T wants to do just that. By fusing the light-footed panache and class-leading stamina of the previous Aspire Timeline range with the power of Intel’s Core i5, Acer has sought to create a portable powerhouse for sensible money.

Take a good long, hard look at the Aspire TimelineX 4820T and you’d be liable to mistake it for a modestly equipped CULV laptop. It’s certainly impressively dainty. At just 2.07kg and measuring a mere 25mm thick, the TimelineX is highly portable for a 14in laptop, and it looks good with it. Brushed aluminium sweeps all around, the stylish black lid softening into a silver and glossy black two-tone effect on the inside.

Neither the Acer’s weight nor its size is liable to grab any headlines, but beneath its mild-mannered exterior there lies stunning potential. Where its predecessors all made do with Intel’s low-voltage processors, and paid the performance price, the Aspire TimelineX 4820T does nothing of the sort.

Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T rear view

A full-fat Intel Core i5-430M processor barrels along at 2.26GHz, Turbo Boost punching it up to 2.53GHz when the occasion demands it, and Acer has obviously been practising its sleight of hand, as it’s managed to slip in dedicated ATI graphics too.

It certainly makes for stunning performance. Our application benchmarks were dispatched with an overall score of 1.56, but that isn’t the end of its talents. Thanks to the ATI Radeon HD 5650 graphics chipset, this laptop is also a capable gaming machine.

We had to push our Crysis benchmark all the way up to 1,600 x 1,200 resolution and High quality settings before the frame rate dipped to an unplayable level. For such a lightweight laptop, it’s immensely impressive.

What’s astounding, then, is that Acer has managed to combine breakneck speed with deep reserves of stamina. Switch over to the Intel HD graphics embedded in the Core i5-430M processor – a case of clicking the right mouse button and selecting the menu option – and the Acer will idle for more than nine hours before the battery gives out.

Swap back to the more powerful ATI chipset and push the Acer to its limits, and you’ll still get 1hr 42mins of use before the TimelineX comes limping back to the mains socket.


Warranty1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions342 x 245 x 25mm (WDH)
Travelling weight2.7kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i5-430M
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM55 Express
RAM capacity4.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size14.1in
Resolution screen horizontal1,366
Resolution screen vertical768
Resolution1366 x 768
Graphics chipsetATI Radeon HD5650
Graphics card RAM1.00GB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Hard disk usable capacity298GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskSeagate ST9320325AS
Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Optical driveHL-DT-ST DVDRAM GU10N
Battery capacity6,000mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportyes
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno
Bluetooth supportyes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchyes
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)4
FireWire ports0
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports1
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 chipsetRealtek HD Audio
Speaker locationAbove keyboard
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating1.3mp
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use9hr 5min
Battery life, heavy use1hr 42min
Overall application benchmark score1.56
Office application benchmark score1.46
2D graphics application benchmark score1.57
Encoding application benchmark score1.38
Multitasking application benchmark score1.86
3D performance (crysis) low settings89fps
3D performance settingLow

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partition, burn own recovery discs
Software suppliedN/A

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