Thumbs Up!
Super thin
Build quality
Keyboard
Battery life
Price

Thumbs Down
Touchpad
Heavier than expected
Looks a bit dull

The world of late has become a funny place. Blackberries are the new black, Apple’s MacBook Pro is now an affordable notebook, and now Acer is making cool products.

The Acer Aspire Timeline range is a new range of ultra-portable notebooks by Acer. They fit into the market rather nicely as you really only had two choices when it came to buying an ultra-portable. You could either buy something very expensive or very slow. If you were prepared to spend about R20 000 ($2 700) on a new ultra-portable, then the market was – and still is – full of options. Like the MacBook Air for example, a great ultra-portable laptop but it retails from R17 000 ($1 499) to R22 000 ($1 799) and that mucho money. If you were only prepared to spend in the region of R5 000 ($650) to R10 000 ($1 300) you could either buy a rather nice 15” model, like the Dell Inspiron, but that is really big and heavy heavy, or a netbook – and, in our humble opinion, if you are even somewhat mentally sound, you would rather have an STD than a netbook.

This is where the Aspire Timeline fits in. The model we got for review was the 13.3” which retails for a wallet friendly R7999.95 ($612). We don’t really know of another 13.3” notebook that retails for close to that figure.

Insides
There are two processor options on the Aspire Timeline. You can either opt for an Intel Centrino or an Intel Core 2 Duo ULV (ultra low voltage). Opting for the Core 2 Duo will bump the price up about 10%. It is always better to have a faster processor, but we used the Centrino for quite a while and it didn’t really bother us that much. If you are into your graphic design, or are planning on using the Timeline as you main computer then go for the Core 2 Duo processor.

The Timelines main feature is the phenomenal battery life. Acer is really proud that the Timeline is good for a whole eight hours. Now that is impressive, but we’re afraid they are lying to the consumer. We got closer to 11 hours on many occasions. Now that is amazing. For a student at varsity for the whole day, or if you’re a bit of a road warrior, then having this type of battery life makes life a million times easier. You don’t have to carry a charger everywhere you go, and it has the most accurate time prediction we have yet to see on a notebook. If it says it has 5 hours left it really has 5 hours left. Honestly, the Timeline lasts longer than a porn star!

Interestingly the faster processor, or opting for a larger screen, is said not to have an effect on the battery life. We have not tested this claim as yet, so from an entirely unselfish viewpoint, we have put in a request to Acer for the 15.6” model with the Core 2 Duo processor to test this claim.

To round off, the screen on the Timeline is not amazing but it does not disappoint, unless you are downgrading from a MacBook Pro 17” it will make no difference in your life.

Aesthetics and Ergonomics
Acer has come a long way in a short time. The Timelines build quality is class leading, for two reasons. Firstly it has no direct competitors and secondly when comparing it similarly prices notebooks – like the HP Pavilion DV6 1130EI – it makes them feel like they are made from play-dough.

It is a very solid feeling laptop, and even though it is very thin there is no flex in the body when held with one hand. This occurs on most other ultra-portable laptops.

The Timeline’s build quality and “feel” make it a pleasant notebook to work on. Your wrists rest comfortably whether it’s on your lap or on a desk. On that note; the keyboard, despite being a bit shiny, has great feedback and is super easy to type fast on. (The keyboard is perfect for that lecturer who believes you can type “onomatopoeia” as fast as he says it)

Acer are all excited that their new touchpad supports gestures – spread two fingers to zoom, etc – and while these work very well, there seems to be a minute delay from when you move your finger to when the curser actually moves. This is hardly a major issue but it is rather annoying. Another issue is we can’t help but feel that Acer could have made the Timeline look a bit cooler. It still looks a bit corporate, and with Dell going all Crayola on us, and with HP unleashing their designs that look as if they resulted from a bad acid trip, we must say we expected a bit more.

Wrap it up
The Timeline is a great piece of equipment, it shows that Acer is on track and understands their market. More importantly for you, is that the Acer Timeline has an amazing battery life, it’s also not a netbook, which means it’s not slow as continental drift, it’s really well built, you can choose a fast processor, and most importantly, for the same money, there is nothing that compares. Recommended.

Technical Specifications

Brendon Ambrose
Editor

Acer Aspire Timeline Half Closed

Acer Aspire Timeline Half Closed

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