"This Best Selling Acer Aspire TimelineX AS1830T-68U118 11.6-Inch Laptop (Black) Tends to SELL OUT VERY FAST! If this is a MUST HAVE product, be sure to Order Now to avoid disappointment!"
Acer Aspire TimelineX AS1830T-68U118 Notebook comes with these specs: Intel Core i7-680UM processor, Windows 7 Home Premium, 11.6" HD Widescreen CineCrystal LED-backlit Display, Mobile Intel HM55 Express Chipset, 4096MB DDR3 1066MHz Memory, Intel HD Graphics, 500GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive, Built-In HD 1.3MP Webcam, Multi-in-1 Digital Media Card Reader, 2nd Generation Dolby Sound Room Audio Enhancement, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi CERTIFIED, Bluetooth 3.0+HS, 3 – USB 2.0 Ports, 1 – HDMI Port, 6-cell Li-ion Battery (5800 mAh), Up to 8 hours of battery life, 3.09 lbs. 1.4 kg (system unit only), AC Power Adapter, AC Power Cord, Wireless Setup Card, Registration/ Limited Warranty Card, Microsoft Office Starter 2010, McAfee Internet Security Suite (60-day insert)
I’ve had this unit for about a month now and to date have taken it on one serious road trip, which has demonstrated the machine is all I had hoped for, and actually a good bit more. Other reviewers have thoroughly gone through what this machine has to offer so I will limit myself to what I have found useful.
1. It has handled everything I do with my desktop (something I could not say for the Dell) – let me hasten to add I don’t do games, which may need a dedicated graphics card for best effect (Asus has a machine in this class that such users might consider, although why one would want to play those kinds of games on a machine this small is beyond me)
2. It runs cool and has a very long battery life (my initial read is that it will easily go 8 or 9 hours when all you are doing is routine text processing kinds of stuff, about 4 times as long as the Dell)
3. It is in that magic weight range of around 3 lbs and its thickness and weight are not amplified by the battery (unlike many other laptops)
4. The screen is excellent (others have carped about viewing angle, but for a single user it is great, and in this size range, isn’t that what matters?)
5. I actually like the “chiclet” key board, which has “homing” ridges on the f and j keys that help with touch typing … I find individual key size to actually be substantial, and touch type at least as easily on this keyboard as the one I have at home … maybe I have a light touch, but I don’t notice any keyboard flex others seem to sense
6. The machine feels substantial, even with all the plastic (which I’m sure holds weight down)
7. The charger does not use a proprietary input, is light, consisting of a single wall wart with a configurable plug (for which you can get alternatives for other country’s outlets), configurable meaning you can position the prongs for horizontal or vertical (and it’s a 2 prong non-polarized plug) – my guess is that the total travel package is a good 2 lbs under the Dell.
Are there annoyances? There is the usual bloatware, but no worse than what I’ve experienced with other vendors … it just means spending some time removing or disabling it. There is no optical drive, but that’s a weight trade-off, and after honestly examining my usage patterns, I couldn’t even remember the last time I required one on a trip. I have a perfectly good $50 Samsung external USB that works just fine for the rare occasions I have to do something with that almost outmoded technology.
My one peeve with Acer is their not supplying system reinstall media, expecting users to create their own. It took 1.25 hours to produce the 4 DVDs their on board utility produces from the partition on the hard disk they have set aside with this content. My advice, start it going while you are watching TV or reading a book and just be prepared for it to take awhile. It would be nice if Acer would set this up so you could create a bootable USB or flash instead.
Surprises? From other reviews I expected to have issues with the touch pad, but have not at all. I’ve always hated touch pads because I somehow manage to hit them with my thumb at the wrong time with annoying effects, but not this one. Otherwise, it seems to work no better or worse than any other I’ve used across a spectrum of manufacturers. I also like having less palm space, since I’ve come to believe that is something that helps to keep my thumbs away from the touch pad.
My other surprise was with the built-in Bluetooth. I have an old Palm TX that has information I wanted to sync onto this machine, only to find USB sync for Win 7 x64 is not being supported by Palm software. A little investigation indicated I might be able to sync via Bluetooth. Sure enough, once enabled, both devices located each other and sync just worked. Incidentally, if you are new to x64 you too will likely find that some of your older apps won’t run without an upgrade to a 64-bit version (sometimes this is just a question of needing to locate a 64-bit driver, but some apps do things that are incompatible with 64-bit architecture).
I have not used an external monitor with this machine (yet) and don’t have any particular reason to use hdmi or sound I/O, so check what other reviewers have to say if those are important to you. The card reader is the usual for this type of machine and having a hot key for enabling/disabling wi-fi or Bluetooth is definitely more user friendly than the physical switch Dell supplied.
All in all, Acer has managed to wrap a lot of very nice stuff into a very small package. From my first month of usage, I believe it to be by far the best of the dozen or so laptops I’ve worked with over the years.
January 18 – update – OK, I’ve now really put this machine through some heavy lifting. For a week long workshop I was involved in, I used this laptop for extensive editing of PowerPoint slides. Presentation files ranged from a couple of slides to over 500, and sometimes I had maybe as many as 10 of them open cutting and pasting to a master. I also had Adobe Photoshop and Acrobat open at various points, not to mention Outlook, Excel, and web browsers. The machine never crashed. Every now and then I noted a bit of a pause when the system’s power misering required spinning the hard drive back up, so a SSD might be worth considering, although this was a minor annoyance. I forgot my charger and went my first day on battery alone without running dry, at least 5 hours of serious use including internet for a chunk of the time. It may be of interest that the generic nature of the charge port allowed me to use a colleague’s (for an Aspire one netbook), which while a bit less potent was sufficient to restore full charge in a few hours. The final presentation had notes on each slide and apparently PowerPoint writes to pdf in image form if you ask for notes, which showed one non-gaming reason reason for having a graphics card. It took the machine quite a bit of time to do it. An app we worked on had a bug that was revealed because the CPU evidently runs a good bit faster than Intel’s integrated graphics processor. On the other hand, Photoshop runs perfectly fine (at least for the kinds of editing I typically do). As for using projectors and external monitors, the machine brought both up effortlessly and automatically (Casio projector, miscellaneous monitor). For airplane usage and travel, it is the perfect size for today’s cramped seating, even room on the tray table for my nano mouse. I managed to get along OK with the touchpad for routine stuff, but when it came to extended or precision work, I pulled out my nano mouse. Communications and networking were flawless, across multiple variations of network configurations. One more thing that may be of interest to some, the built-in mic can be set to pass through via Sound in the control panel, which means if you plug in an external mic and hook up a set of powered speakers, the machine can easily be used as a quick and dirty PA system (my last Dell system did this quite poorly – this one is quite good).
There is nothing about the machine to change my review, except to note it is proving to be even better than I originally thought.
I was all set to buy an 11.6″ Airbook. That plan came to a screeching halt when I discovered that it didn’t have an Ethernet port. The best you could do was to buy a separate USB dongle that would provide 10/100 Ethernet. For an IT professional who is used to walking into a client’s server room and taking a 50GB backup copy of a database in no time via gigabit ehternet that was just not going to work out. I don’t fancy stepping back to 1990! Also a lot of hotels only have wired Ethernet and I just want to be able to plug in and go. Not spend time playing find-the-adapter.
I also found out that the Airbook has a mini DisplayPort. To plug into an external VGA monitor you need (yep, you guessed it) another adapter. To plug into a TV or projector you need yet another adapter for HDMI. All these are sold separately and are more junk to cart around the world. They are also the exact thing that you would find that you have lost (or left back in the hotel) just when you needed to plug into a projector to give a presentation
So I was all set to lay out serious $$$ on a Sony ultra-portable when I came across the TimelineX. I’ve had it for a month now and I couldn’t be happier with it. For the professional on the road that doesn’t want to lug around some 15.6″ monster this little guy is the perfect replacement. Compared to the Sony ultra-portables the price is outstanding value.
Overall I must say that this machine is well worth the money and having now used it, I would have happily paid a hundred or two more for it!