Acer Aspire Timeline X Laptops Revamped

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Acer laptops are known for offering value for money, and that applies across most of their models, except that the Timeline series have earlier been seen as relatively more expensive because of the hardware they used.

Recently, Acer, along with Intel, announced its new Aspire Timeline X series of notebooks, which are revamped versions of the previous ULV-based models that were launched last year. On Tuesday, there were mainly two models showcased, the Timeline X 4820TG and the 4820T. These laptops have stepped out of the ULV category, straight into the mainstream laptop segment, but only in terms of hardware. Therefore, they are still light in weight (about 2.2 Kg), slick in design (1.1-inch in thickness), and offer tremendous battery backup.

The best part is, they are as powerful as mainstream Core i3/ i5 machines. Acer claims that these machines offer 8 to 9 hours of battery backup, despite the use of powerful Core processors and discrete GPUs. While this sounds pretty interesting, let’s see what these machines really have in store for us. As a test unit, we’ve got the Aspire Timeline X 4820TG which features discrete graphics with 1 GB RAM and an Intel Core i5 CPU, a powerful combination. Also, the laptop is quite smartly priced at Rs 48,924. It’s a good pick as long as it delivers what is promised.

Features
The Aspire Timeline X 4820TG is a mainstream laptop which is ideal not only for office use, but even for power users. Be it for mainstream office chores like using the latest office suite, designing software, video/audio encoding, and so on, this laptop will suffice. Even gaming is one of its assets, thanks to a good dedicated GPU. The most striking aspect is that it offers the slickness and light weight form factor of a ULV laptop and the functionality and performance of a powerful mainstream laptop. In terms of features, there’s everything you might need, except for a finger print scanner (which is usually found on business machines). There are 4 USB ports and the display options include HDMI and VGA. Other features include a DVD-writer, a multi-card reader, 1.3 megapixel webcam, audio jacks and Kensington lock slot. Finally, the machine is pre-loaded with Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit).

This variant features an Intel Core i5-430M CPU which delivers sufficient processing power for mainstream tasks, and the dedicated ATI Radeon HD 5650 (1 GB RAM) will quench your thirst for gaming. To complete the hardware set are 4 GB DDR3 RAM and a 500 GB hard drive, which are a given in such as machine. Now, though this isn’t a gaming laptop, looking at the hardware, we ran game benchmarks and the results were quite good.

Design
In the looks department, these machines will trounce most others, including ULV laptops that are known for their slick appearance. While there isn’t a huge difference between the previous ULV-based Timeline X series and this one, the brush metal lid and wrist rest can easily be raved about. The lid, screen frame and keyboard are black, and the wrist rest is grey, with the mouse pad being of a slightly darker tint. The entire body, except for the screen frame and keyboard rim, follows a matte theme. So the color theme and the overall aesthetics give the laptop a very elegant and business-like look and feel. Above all, at 2.2 Kg, this machine won’t give you a sore shoulder, when on the move.

Even ergonomically, there’s almost nothing to complain about, the keys are large enough and the tactility is good too. The large multi-gesture touchpad is matte and quite smooth. The mouse buttons could have been separate instead of a single bar, but nonetheless, it’s comfortable to use. It certainly looks more like a business laptop than a multimedia machine, but the performance says more than that.
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Options
All three models are built around Intel’s HM55 chipset, feature Intel’s new core processors and have 14-inch screens. Starting with the entry-level model, the Aspire Timeline X 4820T has the Core i3-330M CPU and it doesn’t have discrete graphics. It features 3 GB DDR3 RAM, a DVD writer, a 320 GB hard drive, gigabit Ethernet, a 1.3 megapixel webcam 4 USB ports and claims to offer 8 hours battery life. Our test unit (the Core i5 model) offered over 6 hours of battery life, so we’d say the Core i3 variant (without discrete GPU) should certainly offer more. Also with the option to switch from discrete to the onboard Intel graphics, longer battery runtime can be achieved. Price-wise, at Rs 38,625, this model is overpriced in terms of price-performance ratio.
Onward, there are two variants of the Timeline X 4820 TG model, and both feature discrete graphics. Also, except the processor and graphics card, all other features, such as RAM, hard drive, operating system, USB ports, are common to all three models. However, the variant we tested features a 500 GB hard drive. The entry-level 4820TG (LX.PSG02.158) has a Core i3-330M CPU and is powered by an ATI Radeon HD 5470 (512 MB RAM).

Performance
Performance is one of the strongest points of this particular machine, not only in terms of CPU processing, but also on the graphics front. Take a look at the benchmarks, and you’ll notice how effortlessly this laptop performs. This means that you can use mainstream applications without a hiccup.

As far as games are concerned, in Crysis Warhead, it gave us about 38 fps, in the Mainstream mode with 2x AA turned on, which is quite good for a mainstream laptop at this price. We even ran the Left 4 Dead and Batman Arkham Asylum benchmarks and the games were playable at medium settings at the native resolution (1366 x 768). So, as long as you’re not maxing out the settings, games most games should be playable at the native resolution.

Pricing
There are multimedia laptops, available for less than Rs 40,000, which feature discrete graphics and a good CPU. However, most of them have Core i3 CPUs and perhaps a Redeon HD 5470 or an HD 5145, and a 320 GB hard drive. You can even find Corei5 laptops such as the Dell Studio 15 in a similar price range, but Studio 15 laptops are bulkier. So basically, here, you’re paying slightly extra for; powerful hardware packed in a slick form factor. So we’d say that this machine is reasonably priced. Now if you want to turn it down a notch, and get entry-level performance, opt for the scaled down version of 4820 TG with entry-level hardware at Rs 42,744. Whichever model you choose, you will be paying slightly more for the design and aesthetics, which is not a bad deal actually.

Aspire TimelineX 4820T = Rs. 38,624 + Taxes
Aspire TimelineX 4820TG (512MB Dedicated Graphics) = Rs. 42,744 + Taxes
Aspire TimelineX 4820TG (1GB Dedicated Graphics) = Rs. 48,924 + Taxes

Specifications:

  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 342 x 25.4 x 245 mm
  • Weight: 2.2 Kg
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-430M, 2.26 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB DDR3
  • Hard disk: 500 GB
  • Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 5650 (1 GB)
  • Screen size: 14-inch
  • Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi N

Published Date: Jul 22, 2010 10:52 am | Updated Date: Jul 22, 2010 10:52 am