New Acer Timeline Notebooks Blend Performance and Price



That MSI X-Slim notebook I caught up with last week already has a new competitor, if you’re willing to give up a little of the “slim” factor. Acer’s Timeline series isn’t quite as thin and light, but it’s close enough to give the X-Slim a run for its money. The Timeline is available as a 13.3-, 14-, and 15.6-inch display model, although all have the same screen resolution of 1366 x 768. That’s solid for the smallest display, but I think the others could use a res bump. In any case, the 13.3-incher is fairly comparable to MSI’s X-Slim and points to a configuration I suspect we’ll see used much more in the coming year.

Acer is using Intel’s (s INTC) Core 2 Duo Ultra Low Voltage CPU (SU9400) or you can choose a battery-friendly Core 2 Solo SU3500. DDR3 1066 MHz RAM is the norm, as is the Mobile Intel GS45 chipset. Every 802.11x standard is supported, as is optional WiMAX. Hard drive storage runs the gamut from 160 GB to 500 GB, and there’s an SSD option as well. The trackpad looks small to me, but it does support multi-touch features. Even with the 6-cell, 5600 mAh battery, the smallest model weighs in at 3.5 pounds and Acer says 8 hours of run-time is expected, i.e.; that’s likely best case, but six hours or more ought be doable for most situations. Size-wize, the 13.3-inch model is 322 mm  x 228 mm x 23.4/28.9mm; that works out to 12.6″ x 8.9″ x 0.9/1.13″.

Acer used the extra room of a full-sized notebook to their advantage as well: there’s an optical drive on the two larger models, a 5-in-1 card reader, and touch-sensitive hot keys for WiFi, backup and Power Smart features. Power Smart kicks off battery saving functionality to help extend that run-time. Speaking of power, here’s a feature I like: the power adapter enters an adaptive charging mode when the battery is fully charged to reduce energy consumption. Acer says that the Timeline series uses 66 percent less energy than required for the Energy Star seal, i.e.: the savings equates to running a 15-Watt light bulb for 116 consecutive days.

I don’t see a price in the press release, nor on Acer’s Timeline site, but Crave says that the Timeline series runs between $699 and $899 for starters. That pricing is on par with MSI’s offering, so if these are in your price range, you’ve got a little comparison shopping to do.

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