Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T review
Delivers a comprehensive repertoire of stamina, speed and svelte good looks, but the ergonomics disappoint
It's almost impossible to please everyone all of the time, but Acer's Aspire TimelineX 4820T wants to do just that. By fusing the light-footed panache and class-leading stamina of the previous Aspire Timeline range with the power of Intel's Core i5, Acer has sought to create a portable powerhouse for sensible money.
Take a good long, hard look at the Aspire TimelineX 4820T and you'd be liable to mistake it for a modestly equipped CULV laptop. It's certainly impressively dainty. At just 2.07kg and measuring a mere 25mm thick, the TimelineX is highly portable for a 14in laptop, and it looks good with it. Brushed aluminium sweeps all around, the stylish black lid softening into a silver and glossy black two-tone effect on the inside.
Neither the Acer's weight nor its size is liable to grab any headlines, but beneath its mild-mannered exterior there lies stunning potential. Where its predecessors all made do with Intel's low-voltage processors, and paid the performance price, the Aspire TimelineX 4820T does nothing of the sort.
A full-fat Intel Core i5-430M processor barrels along at 2.26GHz, Turbo Boost punching it up to 2.53GHz when the occasion demands it, and Acer has obviously been practising its sleight of hand, as it's managed to slip in dedicated ATI graphics too.
It certainly makes for stunning performance. Our application benchmarks were dispatched with an overall score of 1.56, but that isn't the end of its talents. Thanks to the ATI Radeon HD 5650 graphics chipset, this laptop is also a capable gaming machine.
We had to push our Crysis benchmark all the way up to 1,600 x 1,200 resolution and High quality settings before the frame rate dipped to an unplayable level. For such a lightweight laptop, it's immensely impressive.
What's astounding, then, is that Acer has managed to combine breakneck speed with deep reserves of stamina. Switch over to the Intel HD graphics embedded in the Core i5-430M processor - a case of clicking the right mouse button and selecting the menu option - and the Acer will idle for more than nine hours before the battery gives out.
Swap back to the more powerful ATI chipset and push the Acer to its limits, and you'll still get 1hr 42mins of use before the TimelineX comes limping back to the mains socket.
|Warranty||1yr collect and return|
|Dimensions||342 x 245 x 25mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core i5-430M|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel HM55 Express|
|SODIMM sockets free||0|
|SODIMM sockets total||2|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,366|
|Resolution screen vertical||768|
|Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Graphics chipset||ATI Radeon HD5650|
|Graphics card RAM||1.00GB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Hard disk usable capacity||298GB|
|Internal disk interface||SATA/300|
|Hard disk||Seagate ST9320325AS|
|Optical disc technology||DVD writer|
|Optical drive||HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GU10N|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||no|
|Wireless key-combination switch||yes|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||4|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial 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|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Audio chipset||Realtek HD Audio|
|Speaker location||Above keyboard|
|Hardware volume control?||no|
|Camera megapixel rating||1.3mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||9hr 5min|
|Battery life, heavy use||1hr 42min|
|Overall application benchmark score||1.56|
|Office application benchmark score||1.46|
|2D graphics application benchmark score||1.57|
|Encoding application benchmark score||1.38|
|Multitasking application benchmark score||1.86|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||89fps|
|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|