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Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T

Jayesh Shinde 2010-06-25
84 Very Good
Price: Rs 38,999

Full Review

The new Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T is a 14-inch slim, lightweight mainstream laptop based on Intel's "Arrandale" Core i3-330M processor. It packs the performance of a mainstream laptop in a thin, compact form factor, and also gives better-than-average battery life -- ideal for a 14-inch laptop for people on the go.

Design

Acer launched its Aspire Timeline series of laptops last year, debuting a thin and light 13-inch, 14-inch and 15-inch laptop. The new Aspire TimelineX 4820T is the latest iteration in the thin laptop product line of Acer's mainsream laptop offering. In terms of design and looks, the new Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T 14-inch laptop refines the looks sported by the original Aspire Timeline 4810T thin and light laptop. The new Aspire TimelineX 4820T slim laptop has a polished dark gray screen lid with the Acer logo emblazoned at its center, and the inside reveals a black keyboard deck with a silver gray touchpad and palmrest strip. It may not be as good looking as the Sony VAIO CW or the Dell Inspiron 14R, but compared to the older Aspire Timeline 4810T, the newer Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T laptop looks a lot more polished and elegant -- and much better than the dull monotone of some other Aspire laptops (Acer Aspire 5740, Acer Aspire 5740G, and Acer Aspire 4740).

The lack of a discrete graphics card rules out any kind of gaming on the Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T, but nothing stops you from watching HD movies on the slim laptop.

It is also one of the slimmest and lightest 14-inch laptops around, measuring about an inch thick with its screen lid shut and weighing just over 2-kg (with a six-cell battery pack and a DVD writer) -- which is mighty impressive. Despite its slim form factor and being predominantly made out of plastic, the Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T is still pretty well built -- the screen is strongly attached to the rest of the chassis with two hinges at the spine. Overall, we like the Aspire TimelineX 4820T's thin and light design.

Usability

The Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T has a 14-inch glossy LED-backlit display with a widescreen resolution of 1366x768 pixels. The 4820T's screen also has a 16:9 aspect ratio which is ideal for watching high-def (HD) content off the Internet. The Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T's screen quality is very good -- the display's nice and bright and evenly lit throughout. Owing to the laptop's glossy screen, it displays rich vibrant colors, and is especially great for watching movies -- although it does a very good job displaying clear, crisp text, too. Compared to other laptop displays, the Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T's screen has good viewing angles. A 1.3MP webcam is recessed on the top screen bezel of the Aspire TimelineX 4820T laptop's display, and a microphone grooved in a little to its left. The webcam works great for video chats over Skype.

The keyboard and touchpad is another area of improvement on the new Aspire TimelineX 4820T compared to its predecessors (including the 13-inch Acer Aspire Timeline 3810T). The keyboard sports isolated, chiclet-styled keys that are well-sized and well laid out on the keyboard deck. Every keystroke gives optimum tactile feedback and there's no flex to spoil your typing experience on the Acer Aspire 4820T laptop. There's also the customary quick-launch key to the top right corner of the keyboard where you can customize the one program you use the most. Also the DVD drive's eject button is now placed above the keyboard, not on the tray itself -- we like this design change.

The new redesigned touchpad has curved corners and is slightly dipped below the level of the laptop's palmrest. More importantly, there's just a hint of fine texture on the Aspire TimelineX 4820T's touchpad, providing very good response while manouvring the mouse on screen. The Aspire 4820T's touchpad is gesture-enabled to zoom in and out of images, rotate pictures, and scroll through Web pages and documents, and the feature works like a charm -- no complaints whatsoever. The laptop's single strip mouse button is also much improved compared to previous Acer Aspire Timeline laptops and nice to use.

Hardware Specs

The Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T doesn't come with a ULV processor like the older Timeline 4810T. In fact, it sports the relatively mainstream Intel Core i3-330M 2.13-GHz processor, 3GB of DDR3 RAM, 320GB hard drive, and onboard Intel GMA HD graphics. Compared to other laptops in our Top 5 Mainstream Laptops list, the Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T trades off a dedicated graphics card for longer battery life -- substituting performance tailored to a different set of users, the ones who are interested in ample battery life and don't care so much about 3D graphics or gaming. Despite its omission of a dedicated graphics card, the Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T laptop's basic hardware configuration is still pretty good.

The Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T slim and light laptop comes with four USB ports, microphone and headphone jacks, VGA-out, multicard reader, and a tray-loading DVD writer drive. Acer also bundles in an HDMI v1.3 port on the Aspire TimelineX 4820T, which comes in handy should you wish to connect the slim laptop to an HDTV to watch HD content. The Aspire TimelineX 4820T slim laptop doesn't miss out on high-speed connectivity options like Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1 wireless connectivity. The laptop comes with a standard six-cell battery, 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium operating system and one-year warranty.

Performance

Compared to the Dell Studio 14 Artist Edition, Acer Aspire 5740G, and the Dell Inspiron 14R laptops, the Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T performs modestly at best. At least in our synthetic benchmarks, the Aspire TimelineX 4820T plays second fiddle to them with an overall WorldBench 6 score of 81. Its PC Mark 05 (5079) and 3D Mark 06 (1465) score isn't the best in our Top 5 Mainstream Laptops standings, but it isn't far behind either. In fact, in our real-world tests, we had absolutely no trouble multitasking on the Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T -- all your day-to-day office and home applications, browsing the web, listening to music, and watching movies worked just fine on the Acer TimelineX 4820T slim laptop.

The lack of a discrete graphics card rules out any kind of gaming on the Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T, but nothing stops you from watching HD movies on the slim laptop. We played our test HD 720p and 1080p files on the Aspire TimelineX 4820T and the laptop handled them pretty well. The movies played smoothly without a single stutter and the audio-visual experience was very good. In fact, the Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T's onboard speakers are placed between the keyboard and hinge, boasting of Dolby Home Theater virtual surround sound. The audio from the slim laptop's onboard speakers was very good for its form factor, and quite loud. You can definitely watch movies and pump out music on the Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T while seated in a medium-sized room or a small conference hall.

Now comes the bit that's most exciting on Acer's TimelineX series of notebooks. We managed a very healthy 2 hours 10 minutes in our battery tests carried out at high performance mode and full-screen brightness on the Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T slim laptop -- this is better than any other laptop listed in our Top 5 Mainstream Laptops. Acer claims a battery life of 8 hours on a single charge from the Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T's six-cell battery. We are glad to report that it lives up to that claim in real-world usage -- I managed to extract just under 7 hours of browsing the Web through Wi-Fi at 50-percent screen brightness in balanced battery mode of Windows 7. I have no doubt the laptop will achieve its claimed 8-hour mark on a more conservative battery plan, a feat unmatched by any other laptop we've reviewed.

Bottom Line

The Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T is another successful addition to Acer's Timeline series of slim laptops with great battery life. The Aspire TimelineX 4820T sells for a price of Rs. 40,748 -- for that price you get the right balance between perfomance and features, not to mention a very slim and light 14-inch laptop with truly remarkable battery life.

The Dell Studio 14 Artist Edition marginally edges out the Aspire TimelineX 4820T due to its inclusion of a dedicated graphics card, and therefore its wider appeal. But if you don't care much about graphics and are primarily interested in a slim, light 14-inch laptop that's great for outdoor use with unprecedented battery life, we highly recommend the Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820T. Check out Acer's website for more information on Aspire TimelineX laptops.

Updated price on July 29, 2010

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