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Acer Aspire 4810T review

Verdict

Nondescript looks and plodding performance are elevated by absolutely stunning battery life

Review Date: 15 May 2009

Reviewed By: Dave Stevenson

Price when reviewed: £652 (£750 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
3 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

As part of Acer's new Timeline range, the 4810T makes a good initial impression. Slim and clad in sombre grey plastic, it's a surprisingly good-looking machine for the money. But while it looks good while closed, it's a little disappointing to open it up and find the interior is standard Acer fare. The bezel around the screen is dark, matte grey, and the base is an inoffensive gunmetal grey that doesn't provoke the response the system does when it's closed.

The 14in, 16:9 screen has a native resolution of 1,366 x 768, which is fine for office work and web browsing. It's also compatible with 720p HD sources, although there's no Blu-ray drive. The screen itself is reasonable; you won't notice its foibles while looking at photos or watching films, but DisplayMate revealed a limited contrast range that will stop particularly bright or dark areas of an image being clear. It's also irritatingly reflective, so use in a brightly lit office will soon grow tiresome.

The keyboard at first resembles the Scrabble-tile arrangement of recent Sony and Apple laptops. The keys are laid out flat against the base of the system, and we had no problem getting up to speed when touch-typing. The wide channel between each key is a concern, however - with nearly 3mm between each it's possible that those prone to dropping crumbs will spend a lot of time cleaning their system. The keys are also a bit wide for our liking, and have a shiny, smooth finish which can be tiring to type on for long periods.

The trackpad has had a little attention paid to it, and it supports multi-touch gestures. You can, for instance, scroll down by tracing a circle starting from the right-hand edge, or zoom in or out by pinching. But pinching in Vista is clunky and there's nothing like the smoothness that you'll find from the similar feature in Apple's latest MacBook range. We do, however, appreciate the trackpad on/off button next to the pad, which comes in handy if you find the mouse pointer jumping around while you're typing.

Elsewhere you get three USB ports, plus HDMI and D-SUB outputs. The 3.5mm headphone port is S/PDIF-capable, although those with high-spec external devices should note the lack of FireWire. There's no ExpressCard slot either, although there is a 5-in-1 memory card reader squeezed into the tapered front of the machine. And, despite the slimness of the chassis - just 29mm at its highest point - the 4810T manages to include a DVD drive, the eject button for which is at the far right hand side of the base above the keyboard.

But if the 4810T looks a little drab, or we're unconvinced by the keyboard, we're willing to forgive it for one reason. In our light use battery test, it ran for a staggering 8hrs 52mins - the equivalent of a full working day with a short commute on top. Even our intensive test, which pushes a system as hard as possible, ran for nearly three and a quarter hours before the battery was exhausted. This kind of battery life is ordinarily the preserve of ultraportables, and is extremely impressive on a laptop which is comfortable to use all day. It even beats Acer's claimed eight-hour mark by nearly an hour.

Naturally, this comes at the expense of performance, with the Acer returning an overall score in our benchmarks of 0.75. It's a little behind the times, but nonetheless, you'll have no problem running heavyweight creative applications. The reason for the slowdown is the low-voltage processor: the Intel SU9400 runs at just 1.4GHz, but on the upside merely sips power with its maximum TDP of only 10W. It also requires minimal cooling, which means the 4810T is comfortable to use on your legs and quiet when it's being pushed. Performance is aided by 3GB of RAM, and storage is provided by a 320GB hard disk.

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User comments

...but the price!

I've bought an Acer 8930G with 1080p screen and Blu-ray, T6400 cpu and 4Gb DDR3 for this sort of price. Why so much for so much less?

By iwsmallwd on 13 Aug 2009

Portability?

The 8930G weighs nearly 4kg but this weighs less than 2kg. That's what you're paying for with the 4810T, plus the battery life.

By Kuryakin on 13 Aug 2009

Portability?

The 8930G weighs nearly 4kg but this weighs less than 2kg. That's what you're paying for with the 4810T, plus the battery life.

By Kuryakin on 13 Aug 2009

Acer Aspire laptops

Open the slim-line lid and you’ll find the same gun-metal casing with a black keyboard. The keys have plenty of space around them and float quite high above the main board. We found it an incredibly smooth keyboard to use but it’s also quite loud, with the keys making a heavy thump as you type.The touchpad is a little on the small side but you’ll find it has multi-gesture controls, so zooming into documents is incredibly easy, for example. Instead of two mouse buttons you’ll find a single bar. It sits in a small recess, so you won’t accidentally strike the keys when typing, which is a nice touch. We also like the addition of a separate button allowing you to switch the touchpad off, great for when typing on the move.
http://www.onlinenotebook.com/acer-aspire-5738dg-6
165.html

By Veronica on 10 Apr 2010

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