Acer TimelineX 4820T Review

Laptops Thinks

For under £400, the 4820T is the best of both worlds, with both plenty of processing power, a long battery life, a great dedicated graphics – in a slim, attractive package. You might not get fancy extras like a Blu-ray drive or a full-HD display and the screen may reflect the light, but for power in a portable package this is a great choice.

Introduction

Once again Acer have produced another great light weight, ultra-thin laptop, with no obvious target audience, with stunning performance, battery life and quite simply great all round specifications.

Design

 

Acer have essentially set you free from the plug point with this great laptop, capable of running a couple of marathons. However, just to make sure you don’t become a body builder over night by carrying the laptop around Acer have made sure that it is ultra-thin at 25x342x245mm and weighs just over 2kg at 2.2kg.
Even though Acer have tried its best to make it ultra-portable they’ve still managed to cram in a great 14.1”inch LED screen that gives you big-screen entertainment in a brilliantly portable chassis. Acer haven’t stopped there, o no, they’ve even included a great Intel Core i3 processor and a huge 4GB RAM so no matter what you’re doing the 4820T has some serious mobile power, putting it on a par with some far larger machines.
The i3 processor with intelligent performance that accelerates in response to demanding tasks, such as playing games and editing photos moves faster when you do. The Intel Core i3 processor automatically allocates processing power where it is needed most, whether you’re creating HD video, editing photos or playing the latest games, with the Intel Core i3 processor you can multitask with ease.
There’s no point editing videos or photos if the hard drive capacity cannot store all your necessary files, well Acer have made sure this never happens and have included a great 320GB hard drive.
The TimelineX 4820T doesn’t just have the processor’s integrated graphics chip but also a dedicated ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650. Even though the i5’s integrated graphics chip set provides superb visual performance for sharper images, richer-colour and life-like audio and video we all know a dedicated graphics card far exceeds many, if not all, integrated graphic chipsets and once again this stands true.

Screen

The AMD ATI Radeon HD 5650 is a middle class DirectX 11 graphics card, on par with the Nvidia GeForce GTS 250M, the Radeon 5650 is able to support nearly all DirectX 10 games. However, even though this is a middle class DirectX 11 graphics card it will not be able to support all the upcoming and current DirectX 11 games in full detail settings. However, the HD 5650 is a great companion for a screen resolution of 1366×768, it seems Acer did their homework.
The HD5650 supports Avivo HD to accelerate HD videos using the graphics card, another novelty of the HD 5650 is the possibility to transport HD Audio formats (8-channel Dolby True HD, DTS Master) over the HDMI port. A bigger novelty is the capability, thanks to Eyevision, to use 6 monitors with the HD 5650 in 3D and 2D applications where as most laptops are limited to a maximum of 3, 2 external displays and the internal display. Don’t worry the Radeon’s power consumption should be relatively low and according to most about 10-15 watts.

Performance

 

It might be quite confusing to hear that your potential laptop has two graphics cards. Well don’t worry switching from one to another is easy as clicking a button, the screen goes black for a second, but otherwise there’s no interruption to your work, even though this process is slightly annoying and unnecessary especially considering that the Radeon far exceeds the capabilities of the Core i5’s integrated graphic chip. However, it does help the 4820T to last for just under eight hours under light usage.
Furthermore, there are four USB ports for attaching external storage or other peripherals. There are both VGA and HDMI outputs, and the headphone socket also doubles as an S/PDIF digital audio output, so you have plenty of options for hooking up the 4820T to home cinema systems and external displays.
The internal speakers use Dolby Home Theatre to add depth, but despite producing a wide sound stage, the lack of volume and bass means they’re not worth your much loved music collection but only really useful for watching YouTube.
Even though all of this great hardware comes in what seems to be a tough case, with a brushed aluminum lid and wrist rest, a glossy black plastic on the bezel and keyboard panel adding a touch of class there’s a noticeable amount of flex in the lid and keyboard. The touch pad is large and supports multi-touch gestures in Windows 7, such as pinch-to-zoon.
The biggest problem is the display, a glossy finish means that reflections can be problematic meaning you may have to play about with the lid to get the best picture. When you do get the right angle you’ll find deep, vibrant colours and good contrast. The 1,366×768 resolution is what you’d expect on a 15in screen, but it doesn’t feel cramped on the smaller 14in display and there’s plenty of desktop room.

Conclusion

For under £400, the 4820T is the best of both worlds, with both plenty of processing power, a long battery life, a great dedicated graphics – in a slim, attractive package. You might not get fancy extras like a Blu-ray drive or a full-HD display and the screen may reflect the light, but for power in a portable package this is a great choice.

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