Acer Aspire 1810TZ
Small laptop, enormous battery life
Review So you want a small notebook, but you're put off by the average netbook's puny graphics, relatively low res screen and limited-horsepower Atom processor. What do you do?
Acer's Aspire Timeline 1810TZ: big name, small notebook
We think you could do a lot worse than Acer's Aspire 1810TZ. Sony's skinny and compact Vaio X is nice, but it's not cheap. Acer's alternative is a wee bit more bulky, but since it's on sale for around £450, it's considerably less expensive.
The 1810TZ is part of Acer's Timeline series of long-endurance laptops, so it's also a good long runner.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves. The 1810TZ is a kind of netbook-plus. Its size suggests a netbook - its 285mm width is set more by the large keyboard than by the 11.6in widescreen, LED-backlit display - but it has a dual-core Pentium SU4100 processor clocked at 1.3GHz and 3GB of 800MHz DDR 2 memory.
The Pentium is a Core derivative rather than one of Intel's old notebook CPUs, so it delivers a reasonable lick of performance - certainly for the kind of apps you'll be running on a portable with a relatively small screen. It's a 45nm chip that's essentially the same part as the Core 2 Duo SU7300 found in the Samsung X520 we reviewed earlier this week. The SU7300 has 3MB of "smart" cache, according to Intel; the SU4100 has 2MB of cache - ordinary, presumably. The Pentium lacks SSE 4 support, too. You'll see from the performance numbers, the missing megabyte of cache makes a small difference.
Another difference, this time to a typical netbook: the display is 1366 x 768 rather than 1024 x 600, so you have a decent amount of space to work in. Of course, that's fewer pixels vertically than 1280 x 800, the typical resolution of low-end laptops until vendors got the 16:9 aspect ratio bug. You will notice those missing 32 pixels if you're used to a screen with a higher resolution. And, yes, it's a glossy screen, though we like it.
The thick glossy lid protects the glossy 1366 x 768 screen
The screen is driven by Intel's GMA 4500MHD graphics core integrated into the GS45 chipset, which also feeds the 1810TZ's HDMI port - again, a feature we're not used to seeing on a netbook.
What about linux?
I don't suppose you'd care to slap Ubuntu on it (and your other test machines) as a dual-boot and tell us what doesn't work out of the box?
I like the look of this, but if it can't do the linux thing, it's staying on the shelf...
A quick look at the spec reveals... 1.4kg / 3lbs.
Just got my 1810TZ . Overall very nice--solid build quality, as suggested by the review. A few things the review didn't note: The USB ports are very tight. The sound has some background hiss, as expected for built-in sound. No hum or other frequencies (a problem I've encountered on other notebooks). There is a recovery partition on the hard disk. I made recovery discs (with an external DVD burner), then wanted to free up the space from the recovery partition, so I repartitioned the disk, and reinstalled from the recovery discs. This worked with no problems, though it did take it 1.5 hours (no human intervention required though).
Looks like a nice little machine. I would certainly consider one when I upgrade my current Acer Aspire 2920 (12.1" notebook, in fact reviewed on here a year or two back).
I just wish a few more manufacturers would start doing machines like this rather than over sized netbooks as not everyone wants to lug around a 15" or 17" machine (I certainly wouldn't want to lug a 17" machine around due to the weight), and sometimes we need a little bit more CPU power than an Atom can give.
Shame Acer didn't drop an ION chipset in this little machine though.
vs Asus Ul30A
I was looking at getting the same laptop, but with a bigger 13.3" screen, the 3810TZ.
Asus are bringing out their UL30A1 which is core duo, with other models such as UL30A2 etc. They work out a bit more expensive, but the battery life is considerably better, up to 11 hours.
The UL20A also seems a good deal. The 2 year international warranty compared to Acer's 1 year may also be a winner. Nothing on amazon UK as of yet, so I'm sitting tight for now. I think it's better to buy this after Christmas if at all possible once Asus' pricing has been confirmed.