The Bottom Line
Sep 20 2011 - Acer's Aspire TimelineX AS3830T-6417 continues the companies trend of affordable ultraportable laptops. With street pricing of around $600, it is one of the least expensive 13-inch models on the market. It isn't going to be as thin as the ultrathin laptops but it does offer a solid mix of features to make it a solid primary computer for someone looking at a compact system. There are some downsides to the low cost nature of the system including the fact that it does not feature an optical drive that some similarly sized systems have and it does feature too much software installed on it.
- Good Battery Life
- USB 3.0 and Bluetooth
- Lacks Optical Drive
- Lots of Trailware Installed
- Intel Core i3-2310M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
- 500GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 13.3" WXGA (1366x768) LED Backlit Display 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- Intel HD Graphics 3000 Integrated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- One USB 3.0, Two USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 5-in-1 Card Reader
- 12.6" x 9" x 1.2" @ 4.1 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter
Review - Acer Aspire TimelineX AS3830T-6417
Sep 20 2011 - The Acer Aspire TimelineX AS3830T-6417 is essentially an update to their previous model of low cost ultraportables. This revision updates it from the first to second generation of Core i processors from Intel. To keep the costs low, a very low end Core i3-2310M dual core processor is used. It is a standard laptop version as well compared to low voltage models that conserve a bit more power. It is a good performance choice that offers enough performance for the majority of users. This combined with 4GB of DDR3 memory allow for an overall smooth experience. Only more demanding tasks such as desktop video will really show the limitations of the processor.
While many ultraportables are looking to move to solid state drives, they also add a fair amount to the price. To keep the costs down on the Aspire TimelineX 3830T, Acer uses a traditional hard drive with a very spacious 500GB capacity. This means that the system has more than enough space to be used as a primary laptop. It does however not feature any form of optical drive. This helps keep the costs and size of the laptop down. So, if you need to load software from a CD or watch a DVD movie, you will need to use an external drive. Thankfully, the system does offer a new USB 3.0 port for high speed external storage.
Like the past TimelineX 3820T, it features a 13.3-inch display common to many ultraportables. It uses a standard 1366x768 resolution and features a glossy display coating typical to many consumer laptops. This makes it more difficult to use outdoors and in certain lighting conditions due to glare and reflections. One big improvement is the integrated graphics that are built into the CPU. The new Intel HD Graphics 3000 offer much better graphics than the past GMA graphics. The downside is that it still lacks any real 3D performance for tasks like casual gaming. What it does offer though is the ability to boost the performance of some video tasks such as desktop video with QuickSync enabled applications.
One of the primary goals of the TimelineX series is to have long running times. To achieve this, Acer uses an internal six cell 6000mAh battery pack. This gives it a bit more juice than the ultrathin models that are becoming very popular. This with the new Sandy Bridge processor should give it a slight boost over past models. In video streaming playback tests, the laptop is able to run four hours and three quarter hours before going into standby mode. This is roughly a thirty minute improvement over the past model. Acer advertises up to nine hours of running time which is a bit optimistic but it should last close to eight with a very conservative power profile.
The keyboard layout and design of the Aspire TimelineX 3830T remains pretty much unchanged. It still uses the isolated keyboard design which is pretty comfortable and accurate. It is recessed slightly from the palmrest. The big change though is the trackpad buttons. Rather than using a rocker bar design as in past models, they have switched to dedicated left and right buttons that improves their functionality.
Of course, the big thing going for the Acer Aspire TimelineX AS3830T-6417 is the pricing. With a list price of $650 and street pricing available for under $600, it is a very affordable option for those looking to get a compact and lightweight laptop. It isn't as thin or as stylish as some other models available but it does cost hundreds less.
Consumers looking at the system should be forewarned that it does come with a large amount of applications preinstalled on it. This is a typical problem seen with many lower cost options and it can cause issues with performance especially when booting up the machine. It is best to uninstall any applications that aren't wanted to improve boot times and unclutter ones desktop.