Acer Aspire Timeline 3810T review

5 Oct 2009

It isn't powerful, but its portability, looks and battery life make this laptop a great buy

Price when reviewed 
662
5

We won't mince words: the Acer Aspire Timeline 3810T is not a powerful laptop. With its 1.4GHz processor it plodded through our benchmarks, undershooting most you'll find at this price, with a score of 0.77. If you're looking for high-performance computing, you should look elsewhere.

But for everyday use it would be a mistake to write off the 3810T. Its 4GB of DDR3 RAM makes desktop apps feel pretty snappy, and note that it's a dual-core processor so multitasking won't slow it to a crawl.

And the low-voltage CPU needn't mean you'll get less done; we found the Timeline to be a godsend for productivity, thanks to its light-use battery life of more than nine hours. Even under heavy load it lasted for 3hrs 31mins in our tests, courtesy of its 5,600mAh battery.

It's nicely put together too: the slim design isn't the most solid, but it slides easily into a bag, and opens out into a stylish black and grey design with a 16:9 TFT that's sharp and bright, if a little lacking in vibrancy. The shiny black keyboard looks nice too, although the gaps between keys are a trap for dust and crumbs.

The Timeline's compact frame is partly achieved by leaving out the optical drive, which could be a pain when you want to install new software (or upgrade to Windows 7). It also means you can't easily use that widescreen display for watching DVDs - not that you'd necessarily want to, since the speakers are puny and wholly lacking in bass.

But, once you accept that the 3810T is neither a workstation nor an entertainment centre, what's left is very likeable. Its 320GB hard drive is on the generous side, with most similarly priced portables sticking with 250GB. There's draft-n wireless, an HDMI out and a versatile card reader. And, of course, you get an attractive notebook that will keep you working all the way from Heathrow to JFK and back. For £576 exc VAT, that's very hard to sniff at.

Details

Price ex VAT £576
Price inc VAT £662
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 6
Performance 3

Warranty

Warranty 1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 322 x 228 x 29mm (WDH)
Weight 1.670kg
Travelling weight 2.1kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 13.3in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset Intel GMA 4500MHD
Graphics card RAM 64MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 320GB
Hard disk usable capacity 285GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Hitachi Travelstar 5K500.B
Optical disc technology N/A
Optical drive N/A
Battery capacity 5,600mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Bluetooth support no

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch yes
Wireless key-combination switch no
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 3
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 2
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader yes
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader yes
Pointing device type Touchpad
Audio chipset Intel HD Audio
Speaker location Above keyboard
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 1.3mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 9hr 21min
Battery life, heavy use 3hr 31min
Overall application benchmark score 0.77
3D performance (crysis) low settings 4fps
3D performance setting Low

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit
OS family Windows Vista
Recovery method Burn own recovery discs
Software supplied Microsoft Works 9 SE