Acer Aspire Timeline M3 Ultra review
The affordable Ultrabook
Wot, no Bluetooth?
You’re not going to get workstation performance at this price, and the M3’s 1.4GHz Intel Core i3-2367M Sandy Bridge processor is modest even by Ultrabook standards. Even so, the M3 scored 2343 with the PCMark 7 benchmark software, which is comparable to other HD-based Ultrabooks. The hard drive provides 320GB storage and you get 4GB RAM – a combination that should be perfectly adequate for running MS Office and other routine computing tasks. There’s no Bluetooth, though, which could be a problem if you prefer to sync up your phone this way or use wireless peripherals such as speakers.
PCMark 7 Results
Longer bars are better
If you want a little more power then there’s a model for £580 that adds a separate GeForce GT640M graphics card and a 500GB hard disk. Another £70 on top of that will also allow you to step up to an Core i5 processor running at 1.6GHz, yet still comes in at well under £700.
Battery life is good too, with the M3 managing exactly four hours when running the PowerMark 11 benchmark, and a full five hours with the BBC iPlayer, so you should get a full day’s work out of it with no problems. The DVD drive is a bit of a head-scratcher, though. Many people would happily live without a DVD drive, and that would certainly help to trim the size and weight down a bit. To be fair, most 15.6in laptops do weigh in at 2.5Kg or more, but 2.2Kg is still pushing things for a machine that calls itself an Ultrabook.
Lightweight for its size and not too many compromises either
If you want a laptop that is really slim and light then you’ll obviously want to opt for a 13in Ultrabook instead. But if you compare the M3 to most 15.6in laptops then it actually comes out looking pretty good. It’s one of the slimmest and lightest 15.6in models currently available, whilst still managing to cram in a DVD drive and decent connectivity options. A higher clock speed would be nice, but the M3 should still cope perfectly well with most routine computing tasks, and the £500 price tag isn’t at all bad for a ‘semi-ultra’ laptop of this size. ®
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