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Acer Aspire Timeline 3810TZ review

Verdict

Perfoming an almost perfect balancing act, the Aspire 3810TZ is a preternaturally accomplished ultraportable at a bargain price.

Review Date: 8 Mar 2010

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £404 (£475 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
6 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

Acer’s Aspire 3810T might have impressed us when it first arrived in PC Pro’s offices, but now that the TZ version is available for as little as £408 exc VAT, it’s hard not to fall in love. The brushed aluminium lid looks outstandingly classy, and while the grey and black design is decidedly businesslike, it’s still attractively understated.

Build quality is good too, with the solid base only giving way when subjected to extreme twisting motions. Only the flexible lid rouses any concerns at all, with even moderate pressure on the lid fouling the TFT and causing show-through on the display.

It’s easy to forgive any issues with the Acer’s build, however, when you consider how light it is. It weighs just 1.6kg, and it's unlikely you'll have to carry around the 430g charger either; with 8hrs 20mins of light use battery life, it will outlast all but the longest of jaunts away from the mains.

Acer Aspire Timeline 3810TZ

Performance puts the Acer amongst the front runners of the current CULV pack, too, with an Intel Pentium dual-core joining forces with 3GB of memory to achieve a perfectly respectable 0.67 in our application benchmarks.

The worst complaint we can level at the keyboard is that the wide channels between each key serve as a perfect receptacle for dust and grime; thankfully it’s perfectly comfortable to type upon. The trackpad is fine too, and we particularly liked the button alongside to disable it, which means you don't have to worry about accidentally jogging the cursor.

Elsewhere, there’s little to criticise. Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11n wireless networking are both present and correct and the three USB ports are complemented by a card reader and both VGA and HDMI sockets. The worst aspect of the Aspire 3810TZ is its speakers, which sound tinny and lacklustre by comparison with the best on test.

Other than this small gripe, we can't find fault - this Acer is the very definition of a superbly-balanced, inexpensive ultraportable. Some may crave more power than it, or any of its ilk, can muster, but for many the balance of power, portability and sheer tactile excellence will prove more than ample reward.

Author: Sasha Muller

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User comments

Swallowed a dictionary

lol - preternaturally.
How long have you been waiting to use that work?

By Steve_Adey on 9 Mar 2010

Doh!

I meant word!

By Steve_Adey on 9 Mar 2010

He's lucky...

I'm still looking for a decent excuse to use chthonic or cyclopean. Blame Lovecraft.

By nichomach0 on 9 Mar 2010

An opportunity missed...

... to use Paradigm Shift.

(poem © 2010)

By JohnGray7581 on 9 Mar 2010

wrong thread

If you hop over to the iPad thread, you could describe it as a cyclopean iPhone.

By Steve_Adey on 9 Mar 2010

So excited by preternatural

that I forgot to point out that 'complimented' should have been 'complemented' in the second-to-last paragraph.
A star falls from heaven...

By JohnGray7581 on 9 Mar 2010

An opportunity missed...

... to use Paradigm Shift.

(poem © 2010)

By JohnGray7581 on 9 Mar 2010

Paradigm Shift
Is that a Scottish game bird?

By stokegabriel on 10 Mar 2010

hi

this is very good i want one

By casperando on 14 Apr 2010

hi

this is very good i want one

By casperando on 14 Apr 2010

Backup

Under OS/System it states Recovery method:Recovery partition, burn own recovery discs
I thought there was no optical drive - so am I right in thinking if you want to back up your £475 laptop you first need to additionally buy a USB DVD/CD writer?
I was interested in this laptop but if the above is true I'll go for one which has the optical drive included.

By Simeon on 1 May 2010

Dodgy trackpad

Just bought one of these on the basis of the review for my wife. On the whole, its a well put together machine. Unfortunately though, our trackpad refused to work properly in the out of the box Windows 7 install... no gestures, no tap to click, and the left mouse button didnt work. On the advice of Acer tech support, I did a factory reset which made no difference, and neither did downloading the latest synaptics drivers.

Strangely though, i've just tried the ALPS driver, which lets allows both buttons to work, but no multi-touch features.

I'm now unclear whether this a hardware or software problem.

Unfortunately, I think this laptop will pass the wife's approval... will be a pain if we have to send it back.

Keith

By mckeithyb on 14 May 2010

Doh!

I meant.. "will not pass the wife's approval".

Perhaps the keyboard is dodgy as well ;-)

By mckeithyb on 14 May 2010

Comparison

Better than the Asus-ul20a then ??

By moocifer on 22 May 2010

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