First look review: Acer Aspire Timeline X laptops

Acer’s Aspire Timeline range is no stranger to PC Pro‘s A List, and so the chance of getting to grips with the newly redesigned laptops was more than enough to send us sprinting the 500 metres from our office to the Sanderson Hotel, where Acer was unveiling its latest Timeline X laptops to the UK press.

First look review: Acer Aspire Timeline X laptops


If you were expecting a ground-up overhaul of the range, then the Timeline X serieAcer-Timeline-X-13-closed-175x130s might prove just a little underwhelming. There wasn’t a great deal wrong with the original models, however, so the emphasis has been placed solidly on evolution, with the laptops benefiting from a host of aesthetic changes. The silver brushed aluminium lids of the previous range have been replaced by a stylish black brushed finish, and interiors which tread a fine line between subtle understatement and alluringly slick design.


It’s not until you cast an eye over the previous Timeline range that you realise quite how much impact the minor tweaks have had. While the older models were attractive compared to many of the CULV laptops on the market, the grey, inoffensive physique was hardly eye-catching. Now the brushed black aluminium makes a bold statement on the outside, and the once-featureless interior is shod with a brushed silver aluminium finish and a glossy black keyboard surround.

Even the trackpad’s had some attention: its smooth, slightly concave figure is complemented with a single rocker button beneath. That scrabble-tile keyboard doesn’t look to have changed much, but that’s no bad thing. The spacious layout proved perfectly comfortable in use – although the wide channels between each key still look like a haven for crumbs, dust and accidental coffee spills – but we hope the half-height enter key will make way for a full-height one when UK models finally hit our shores.

Build quality seems to have taken a step forwards, too, with the slim 25.4mmAcer-Timeline-X-13-right-side-175x130 thick chassis of the 13.3in model feeling noticeably sturdier than its predecessor, and the rest of the range giving off an air of toughness that belies their relatively diminutive stature. The same screen sizes were in evidence – Acer had the 13.3in, 14in and 15.6in models on show – and all of them seemed to have benefited greatly from the brief return to the drawing board.

14in-Timeline-X-closeup-LOWRES-175x129Scratch beneath the surface and a host of technological advances also rear into view. Intel’s Core i3 and i5 processors take pride of place, while the larger two models in the range employ ATI’s HD 5000 series graphics chipsets. Acer was particularly keen to stress the stamina of the new range, claiming a minimum of eight hours of battery life, and as much as 12 hours with its PowerSmart software working to keep power consumption as low as possible.  The new range also features other power-saving measures such as low-power cooling fans and LED-backlit displays which, in tandem with Intel’s DPST (Display Power Saving Technology), help to eke out the maximum amount of battery life.

Those hoping for USB 3, DisplayPort and other exciting new additions will be a mite disappointed, with just the usual array of USB 2, HDMI and VGA ports partnered with memory card readers for good measure.

Quoted prices give us hope that Acer’s Aspire Timeline X series will be just as affordable as its predecessors, with Acer suggesting that the 14in model (the 4820) will be available for £599 inc VAT sporting an Intel Core i3 330m processor, 3GB of memory, a 250GB hard disk, an ATI HD 5650 graphics chipset and Windows 7 Home Premium.


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