Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/12/14/review_acer_travelmate_timelinex_tm8481t_notebook/

Acer TravelMate Timeline X TM8481T 14in Core i5 notebook

Endurance over performance?

By Simon Crisp

Posted in Laptops and Tablets, 14th December 2011 07:00 GMT

Review As the name might suggest, Acer’s TravelMate family of notebooks are aimed at the mobile users, with an eye on business bods after something a little more stylish than the standard issue grey slab. A new addition to the range is the Timeline X TM8481T with just a couple of variants at present.

Acer TravelMate Timeline X TM8481T 14in Core i5 notebook

Road runner: Acer's TravelMate Timeline X TM8481T

The version I’m looking at here is the memorably monikered 2463G32nkk which is powered by an Intel Core i5 CPU. If you want a bit more grunt then there is the 2634G32nkk which is Intel Core i7 powered and around £150 more expensive.

The Intel 1.6GHz Core i5-2467M on the review model is backed by a rather miserly 3GB of DDR3 RAM – the motherboard supports up to 8GB – a 320GB hard drive and 64-bit Windows 7 Professional. It’s certainly no speed demon but it manages to do the everyday office apps without too much complaining though a bit more memory certainly wouldn’t go amiss.

Acer TravelMate Timeline X TM8481T 14in Core i5 notebook

Integrated graphics, powers the VGA and HDMI outputs when needed

Using Intel’s GMA HD3000 graphics core means that there isn’t any serious game playing potential and certainly DX11 games are out of the window anyway, as the graphics hardware doesn’t support it. It does, however make a good fist of 1080p playback but with mobility in mind, the Acer Travelmate Timeline TM8481T doesn’t come with a built in Blu-ray or any form of optical drive for that matter.

Acer has performed a neat trick with the 1366 x 768-pixel display, as the 14in panel takes up the same amount of room as a 13in screen thanks to the thinness of the bezel. Its matt finish is ideal for challenging environments, as it reduces any reflections coming from overhead lighting.

Acer TravelMate Timeline X TM8481T 14in Core i5 notebook

Staying power

The downside with this finish is that it errs to a more muted the colour intensity. The lid also flexes a fair bit, so some care needs to be taken when packing it into a bag to prevent any damage being done to the screen.

Acer TravelMate Timeline X TM8481T 14in Core i5 notebook

The battery bulge appears to be a necessary evil, as it is swappable

The chiclet style keyboard has good spacing between the keys which feel solid enough when typing. Under the keyboard sits a multi-touch trackpad and nestling in between the two mouse keys is a finger print reader which, together with the TPM (Trusted Platform Module), offers some security for the mobile business user.

With an aluminum–magnesium chassis it should survive the knocks and scrapes of everyday life on the move, although it has to be said the black finish on the lid and the wrist pads are finger print magnets.

The use of materials also makes it a nice slim line design; 16mm at the front of the unit rising to 20mm at the rear, well that’s until you fit the rather large battery which does nothing for its appearance or weight come to that matter but does angle the notebook making it easier to type.

Benchmark Tests

PCMark 7 Results

Acer TravelMate Timeline X TM8481T 14in Core i5 notebook

Longer bars are better

PCMark 7 Battery Life Results

Acer TravelMate Timeline X TM8481T 14in Core i5 notebook

Battery life in minutes
Longer bars are better

Talking of batteries, with a whacking great 8-cell 6000mAh battery and just a 1.6GHz processor it doesn’t need me to tell you that the battery life of the TM8481T-2463G32nkk is impressive, I managed to get just over six hours out of it while running PCMark Vantage in a loop which is a pretty strenuous system wide workout, but with tighter power saving settings it should easy to get nearer to Acer’s claim of eight-plus hours of battery life.

Acer TravelMate Timeline X TM8481T 14in Core i5 notebook

No speed demon, but the battery should get you through the day

Verdict


For the most part, any notebook aimed at the mobile business user should have good battery life above practically everything and that’s something the i5 version of the TM8481T has in spades, it could do with some more memory especially as it uses a 64-bit OS and it does lack an optical drive but overall it’s a decent enough notebook for any business where the budgets might be a bit tight. ®

Thanks to Saveonlaptops for the loan of the review model.

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