Acer has announced the availability of its latest ultrabook series, the Timeline Ultra M5, which comes in three configurations including two with discrete Nvidia graphics. The most affordable option (M5-481T-6770) is set at $680 with a 14-inch 1366x768 LED-backlit display, a Sandy Bridge Core i3-2377M processor, Intel HD Graphics 3000, 6GB of DDR3 RAM, as well as a 500GB HDD, 20GB SSD and DVD drive.
Stepping up a notch, the M5-481TG-6814 is set at $780 and packs an Ivy Bridge Core i5-3317U, an Nvidia GeForce GT 640M LE 1GB, 4GB of RAM, as well as the same display and storage configuration as the lower-cost unit. At the priciest end, Acer offers the $830 M5-581TG-6666 with a 15.6-inch 1366x768 screen and 6GB of RAM, while the remaining components appear to be the same as the $780 machine.
The Timeline Ultra M5 systems are a bit bulkier than most ultrabooks, but that's to be expected with the hard drive, DVD drive and discrete GPU. Both 14-inchers weigh 4.3lbs while the 15-inch system is even heavier at 5.07lbs. All three measure 0.81 inches thin. By comparison, the Folio 13 we reviewed earlier this year is also toward the larger end of ultrabooks, yet it weighs 3.3lbs and measures 0.7 inches thick.
The Timeline Ultra M5 press release also mentions features include a backlit keyboard, two USB 3.0 ports, Dolby-branded audio as well as an eight-hour battery life. We don't meant to detract from what seems like a decent lineup, but it (re)raises the question: at what point is an ultrabook not an ultrabook anymore? At this rate, you'll probably be able to buy a desktop replacement "ultrabook" by Christmas.