Acer TimelineU M5 Review: A 15-inch, 5lb Ultrabook?

By on August 13, 2012, 9:56 PM

Ultrabooks were originally pitched as Windows-based competitors to Apple's MacBook Air: thin, light, sexy and speedy with an all-day battery life for less than $1,000 -- a challenging feat to be sure, but one that many companies quickly overcame. With another year's worth of engineering and the more efficient Ivy Bridge architecture to work around, it should be even easier for system builders to meet or exceed Intel's guidelines.

On paper, the second wave of ultrabooks should be sleeker, faster, cheaper, more portable, and more autonomous. And they are. Those attributes have improved, it's just tough to find them all in one machine and the systems that come closest in raw specifications typically exceed $1,000.

More than last year, 2012's ultrabooks have been and will continue to be about tradeoffs: low-res screens vs. high-res, TN panels vs. IPS, snappy SSDs vs. capacious HDDs, dual-core CPUs vs. quad-core, 2GB vs. 8GB, power-sipping IGPs vs. muscle-bound GPUs, mainstream vs. premium pricing, and so on.

Acer's new TimelineU makes its own compromises. Our review unit touts a full-size backlit keyboard, 500GB of storage, a GeForce GT 640M LE GPU, an optical drive, an eight-hour battery life and an attractive $830 price tag. Naturally, the question is: what's the catch? Let's get to the bottom of that...

Read the complete review.

User Comments: 8

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gamoniac said:

Saw "1366x768 LED...". Next article please.

Guest said:

With how fast (some) analysts are predicting ultrabooks prices are gonna fall, why buy in now? Except if you really can't afford to wait e.g. dying PC

Guest said:

I bought and Acer 15" i3 4GB 500GB etc for 350?

If your PC is dying you still have a lot of options before considering an ultrabook, even at that price. AMD also has something similar to ultrabooks at 200$/? less.

Guest said:

I was hoping someone will build a decent numpad endowed ultrabook.

tonylukac said:

Once more, we readers here at Techspot don't see the value in expensive notebooks, being mostly gamers requiring high end desktops. Usually, web surfing (reading Techspot) is all we do with laptops and these prices just don't fly. I desire more like a $300 laptop. My Toshiba starts in less than a minute with no ssd, and it was less than $500 5 years ago.

waterytowers said:

15-inch + 1366x768 = fail

My 7-inch Nexus 7 has 1280x800 and between 8 and 10 hours runtime and only costs $319AUS.

To me ultrabooks should have a similar ppi and runtime but with a built-in keyboard.

ikesmasher said:

While I agree the screen resolution is outdated (for that price at least, 300-450 dollar books is understandable) I really like the "hybrid" form factor, although a Blu-ray drive would have made more sense I also agree.

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

I like the picture with the hand over the touchpad... no commenters going to comment on this? lmao, this is actually a bigger deal than there being no numpad.... but who am I to judge.

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