Acer Aspire Timeline 3810TZ review

8 Mar 2010

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

Price when reviewed: 
475inc VAT
5

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.

Details

Price ex VAT £404
Price inc VAT £475
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 6
Performance 4

Warranty

Warranty 1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 322 x 228 x 29mm (WDH)
Weight 1.600kg
Travelling weight 2.0kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Pentium SU4100
Motherboard chipset Intel GS45
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 4500M
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 250GB
Hard disk usable capacity 233GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Seagate ST9250315AS
Optical disc technology n/a
Optical drive None
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
Integrated 3G adapter no
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 1
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 Realtek HD Audio
Speaker location Above keyboard
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 0.3mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 8hr 44min
Battery life, heavy use 4hr 9min
Overall application benchmark score 0.67
Office application benchmark score 0.68
2D graphics application benchmark score 0.78
Encoding application benchmark score 0.60
Multitasking application benchmark score 0.61
3D performance (crysis) low settings 5fps
3D performance setting Low

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Recovery partition, burn own recovery discs