Usage and Final Thoughts
The 1366 x 768 resolution on the X340 fits the 13.4" screen nicely and its quality is more or less on par with that of the recently reviewed Timeline 4810T -- which I would consider good but not great. When compared with the Averatec N3400, the X340 had a bit of a yellowish tint on white backgrounds. It wasn't that bad but certainly noticeable when put side by side.
Overall build quality could be better. The frame of the system is all plastic, and then there is the mushy keyboard, which certainly could use some work. The magnets used to keep the lid down when it is closed were a nice touch, though, and the sound on this system works very well despite the odd speaker placement.
Battery life on the X-Slim X340 was impressive at 8 hours and 14 minutes, sitting idle at the desktop with 50% brightness. Although a very respectable showing by any standard, it was a bit disappointing to see the smaller-screen X340 offering roughly 36 minutes less run time than the Timeline 4810T despite the larger 8-cell battery pack. Both systems share the same processor so in terms of performance they run neck and neck.
The X-Slim is very quiet under load albeit slightly louder than the Timeline. We should note that the exhaust from the cooling system expels the heat out from the front of the keyboard towards the user, not out the back of the system like most configurations. The internal cooling fan does a nice job of keeping the system chilly, only the corner where the exhaust air is expelled was slightly warm.
On paper, the X340 is a very thin and light notebook, but those claims mostly apply with the smaller 4-cell battery only. The 8-cell battery we tested with added a good bit of thickness to the system and virtually eliminated the notebook's super slim profile.
At the end of the day, the X340 isn't a bad notebook but there are better options in the same category. For around $50 to $100 less, the Acer Timeline 4810T provides the same processing power and hard drive size, an extra 2GB of DDR3 memory, a larger screen, a much better keyboard, better battery life and an internal optical drive.
Pros: Lightweight, good battery life, HDMI-out, good sound quality, large touchpad.
Cons: Mushy keyboard, not as slim as claimed with 8-cell battery, accessing expansion bays voids warranty, no optical drive.