Acer Aspire TimelineX 5820T review

4 Nov 2010

All-day battery life, decent performance and great build quality make for the perfect all-rounder

Price when reviewed: 
649(£649 inc VAT)
5

We've seen plenty of nine-hour ultraportables and a lot of 15.6in powerhouses, but few laptops can claim to come close to successfully combining the two.

Acer’s Aspire TimelineX 5820T has a 15.6in screen size, yet it’s far sleeker than you'd expect: the lid feels as thin as that of a tiny Sony VAIO, but it has the strength of a road-warrior. The hinge feels rock-solid, and the only give in the base is around the soft-grilled speakers.

Its real strength, however, is battery life. Under light-use conditions the 6,000mAh battery gave 9hrs 29mins of life. It’s helped by the absence of a power-hungry discrete graphics card, but for a 15.6in laptop it’s remarkable, and beyond what many ultraportables can manage on a single charge.

Acer Aspire TimelineX 5820T

Better still, it combines its all-day battery life with reasonable power. With a 2.13GHz Core i3-330M and 3GB of DDR3 RAM, our sample scored 1.23 in our benchmarks. This model is currently being upgraded to a 2.4GHz Core i3-370M (factored into the price at the top of the page), which in our experience should boost the score to around 1.40.

The laptop itself is a joy to use. The keyboard and number pad stretch the full width of the base, with only the cursor keys a little smaller than we’d like. The screen has a 1,366 x 768 resolution and a glossy coating, but the reflectivity is balanced by good brightness and a clean, balanced colour tone.

It has only a 320GB hard disk, but there’s a DVD writer along with four USB 2 ports, plus HDMI and D-SUB outputs. Gigabit Ethernet is joined by 802.11n Wi-Fi, and its card reader supports the major formats, including xD-Picture cards.

We've said it in a previous review and we'll say it again: it’s hard to find a serious fault with the Acer Aspire TimelineX 5820T. It has extremely long battery life, while remaining powerful enough for all but the most specialist of tasks, and it does so while retaining fine build quality and plenty of desirability. At just £552 exc VAT, it’s hard to think of many better home all-rounders.

Details

Price ex VAT £552
Price inc VAT £649
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 6
Performance 4

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 379 x 250 x 32mm (WDH)
Weight 2.380kg
Travelling weight 2.8kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i3-370M
Motherboard chipset Intel HM55
RAM capacity 3.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 15.6in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset Intel HD graphics
Graphics card RAM 128MB
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
Hard disk Western Digital Scorpio Blue
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Optical drive TSST TS-U633F
Battery capacity 6,000mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
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 no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 4
FireWire ports 0
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel 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 Multitouch touchpad
Audio chipset Realtek 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
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 9hr 29min
Battery life, heavy use 1hr 51min
Overall application benchmark score 1.23
Office application benchmark score 1.02
2D graphics application benchmark score 1.19
Encoding application benchmark score 1.17
Multitasking application benchmark score 1.53
3D performance (crysis) low settings 15fps
3D performance setting Low

Operating system and software

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