Acer TravelMate TimelineX 8481T review
It might not be an Ultrabook, but Acer’s TimelineX 8481T squeezes a 14in display and a Core i5 processor into a compact chassis only 16mm thick at its front and 20mm at the rear. The slim, flexible lid isn’t as tough as we’d like – give it a prod and you’ll see ripples in the display – but the chassis is otherwise rock-solid. Weighing 1.78kg, the Acer is almost as portable as an Ultrabook.
The TimelineX 8481T was originally built for business, and that’s reflected in security features such as a fingerprint reader and built-in management hardware. These won’t be so useful in the average classroom, but may be of interest if you’re purchasing laptops for teachers. The Acer is well equipped with connections, too, with a single USB 3 port accompanied by two USB 2 ports and a combined eSATA/USB 2 port. HDMI and VGA video outputs take care of displays and projectors, while there’s both Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11n Wi-Fi. There’s no optical drive, but as more schools use the network and the web for using content or installing applications, this isn’t a deal-breaker.
Performance is reasonably impressive. The 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 processor used is a low-voltage model and Acer has economised by fitting only 3GB of RAM, but the laptop is still able to work its way through demanding applications, as a PC Pro benchmark score of 0.57 shows. Bear in mind, of course, that 3D performance will be limited by the onboard Intel HD Graphics. Battery life is excellent: in tests the Acer pushed through 11hrs 27mins of light work, so a full school day shouldn’t be a problem.
Sadly, two things let the TimelineX 8481T down. The first is the screen. With its ultra-thin bezel it looks great and the matte finish cuts down on reflections, but the image is dimmer than we’d like, and the contrast levels are inadequate: the picture can look washed out. In addition, while the keyboard has a decent layout, it suffers from a mushy, indistinct feel. This is enough to rob the Acer of a recommendation – but if you can look past its failings, the TimelineX 8481T still offers good value for money.
|Dimensions||329 x 240 x 22mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core i5-2467M|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,366|
|Resolution screen vertical||768|
|Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Graphics chipset||Intel HD Graphics 3000|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|USB ports (downstream)||2|