Usage and Final Thoughts
The 14-inch panel on the Timeline is nice to look at, and its 1366x768 resolution is well suited to the screen size. At max brightness colors were crisp and had pop to them. However, vertical viewing angles were not great, and when compared side-by-side with the Averatec N3400 (reviewed here), the Acer Timeline 4810T showed some contrast weaknesses as whites were not as pronounced.
The Timeline 4810T feels sturdy while remaining fairly thin as Acer managed to squeeze in an optical drive, something not found on many notebooks of this size or price range. Compared to the aforementioned Averatec laptop which is marketed as a lightweight 13-inch notebook, the back of the Timeline 4810T is raised up slightly more, while the front is raised equally on both systems.
Out of the box, I was less than thrilled about the amount of bloatware installed on the Timeline. Windows Vista felt sluggish because of this, providing a poor initial experience to novice users who may not take this into account and rather just complain about their brand new system being slow. After removing the unwanted software and installing the latest OS updates, the system was noticeably quicker. Looking at forum discussions we've read about current owners jumping the initial setup completely in favor of reformatting after receiving their Windows 7 install disks, which is the most recommended path at this point.
Battery life on the Timeline was outstanding, putting up the best numbers we have seen to date. Running the laptop with the screen at half brightness, sitting idle at the desktop and all power saving features disabled, the battery was good for 8 hours and 50 minutes. And this was running Vista, which is a bit more power hungry than both XP and Windows 7. The result can be attributed to the low voltage Intel Core 2 Solo, operating at only 1.4GHz (10W TDP), which is surprisingly quiet and doesnt put out much heat.
In fact, this may be the quietest notebook I have ever worked with. Even under full load, the system is whisper quiet and only slightly warm to the touch on the bottom. The wrist rest area didn't seem to generate any heat at all.
Our performance tests show the Core 2 Solo processor being roughly twice as powerful as the typical 1.6GHz Atom chip found in most netbooks. This means it will be more than enough for most basic computing needs, whilst also providing decent performance on more resource intensive tasks like video streaming. For example, non-HD YouTube videos at full screen were viewable without noticeable lag, but high quality clips from sites like Hulu and CBS pushed the processor over its limit.
Currently retailing for $550*, we were satisfied with the Timeline's overall design and build quality. Ideally we could have used either a bit more processing power or a better quality screen, but for the price we have to admit what you get is more than adequate. With 4GB of RAM the Timeline is a happy multi-tasker also.
Outstanding product: Acer Timeline 14" 4810T Notebook
If you need a notebook with decent processing power that will last the course of the day without a recharge, the Timeline 4810T could be the one for you.
Pros: Excellent battery life, great keyboard, relatively slim design, built-in optical drive, HDMI out, attractive price point.
Cons: CPU performance leaves a little to be desired, bloatware bundled, single-piece mouse button.
*Newegg sells the Timeline 4810T for $550, while other retailers seem to be charging considerably more for the same model. The Timeline 4810TZ seems to be essentially the same notebook with the difference of a dual core, slightly lower-clocked Pentium SU4100 CPU.