Acer Timeline X 5830T
The boy in blue
Boosted battery life
The plus side is that while the battery isn’t removable, it does offer very strong performance. The standard specification sticker on the 5830T’s wrist-rest boldly proclaims eight hours and upwards of battery life, which I scoffed at until I ran a light-use test. With the screen on, the 802.11n wireless radio connected to a base-station and nothing else happening, the 5830T ran for a spectacular nine and a half hours, which is extremely good for a mid-range thumper of a laptop with a 15.6in screen.
Given the far harder task of running with the screen at full brightness and looping PCMark Vantage until it collapsed, the 5830T ran for two hours 56 minutes, so with normal use it seems fair to expect pretty much a full day’s use from it before you need to find a socket.
Big battery life
There’s a good selection of ports: HDMI, VGA, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0. The 3.5mm headphone jack runs double-duties as an analogue connector and an S/PDIF. SD and three USB 2.0 ports complete the set.
The Timeline X's 15.6in screen has the nice-in-the-shop-but-useless-at-home glossy finish. An attempt at working outside revealed that the screen just doesn’t have the brightness for overcoming strongly-lit environments. And the resolution of 1366 x 768 feels a tad paltry when there’s so much physical space on offer.
Still, the screen is excellent in terms of colour reproduction. At the very least, the relatively lowly resolution means you won’t lament the optical drive too much, which doesn’t have Blu-ray capabilities.
If I had a single complaint it’s the noise the machine makes when you pull out the power cable - if the speakers aren’t muted you get a horrible, monotone 'boop' noise which will be familiar to all those who have ever watched a 486 get through its POST.
This is a decent system from Acer. It compromises on computational welly, but offers more than enough memory to keep things running smoothly. The only people who won’t be wholly enamoured with it are likely to be serious power users - it’s not particularly well-suited to Photoshop or big rendering jobs - and gamers. If you simply want a machine for everyday work or studies, this will fill the role without carving a rut out of your wallet. Look online and you'll pay £100 less than the RRP. ®
Thanks to SaveOnLaptops for the review sample
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