Acer's TravelMate Timeline is one of the best ultra-portable laptops we've seen thanks to its excellent battery life and performance.
13.3 in 1,366×768 display, 1.7kg, 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400, 4.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows Vista Business
Acer’s TravelMate Timeline 8371 has a plain, grey appearance that looks dowdy compared to most ultra-portable laptops. It feels sturdy, though, with an especially rigid lid that barely flexes at all under pressure.
The Timeline may be slender, but it’s one of the few ultra-portable laptops that comes with a dual-core processor, Intel’s 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo SU9400. Although this isn’t as powerful as desktop Core 2 Duo processors, it helps make the Timeline significantly quicker than the ultra-portable laptops that use ULV processors, especially our in demanding multitasking test. As expected, its integrated Intel graphics chip wasn’t up to playing the latest 3D games.
Although the keyboard is large the keys feel a little springy and the cursor keys are smaller than the others. However, we soon got used to these, and the keyboard is comfortable enough to use. The touchpad is small but accurate. We wish the buttons were bigger and gave more tactile feedback when pressed, though.
The Timeline is well suited to working on the go. It has a built-in 3G modem, and if you insert your own SIM you can get online from almost anywhere. Battery life is stunning; it lasted eight hours and 40 minutes in our test. This is one of the longest times we’ve seen.
It’s also equipped with a large 320GB hard disk, which should be enough for all but the biggest files. The only minor disappointments are that, like all ULV ultra-portable laptops, there’s no optical disc drive or ExpressCard slot.
The 13.3in 1,366×768 widescreen display has a matt finish, which reduces distracting reflections caused by overhead lighting. The screen is bright, evenly lit and displays accurate colours. If you want to use an external display, the HDMI and VGA outputs will be useful.
Acer’s TimeLine 8371 is one of the best ultra-portable laptops we’ve reviewed. Its battery life is stunning, it has a built-in 3G modem and a dual-core processor. It’s excellent value and wins our Best Buy award.
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400|
|Processor clock speed||1.4GHz|
|Memory slots free||0|
|Sound||Intel HD Audio|
|Power consumption standby||1W|
|Power consumption idle||15W|
|Power consumption active||26W|
|Viewable size||13.3 in|
|Graphics Processor||Intel GMA 4500M HD|
|Total storage capacity||320GB|
|Optical drive model||none|
|Optical drive type||N/A|
Ports and Expansion
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100/1000|
|Wireless networking support||802.11a/b/g, HSDPA, HSUPA|
|PC Card slots||none|
|Supported memory cards||SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo, xD|
|Other ports||port replicator connector|
|Operating system||Windows Vista Business|
|Operating system restore option||restore partition|
|Software included||InterVideo WinDVD 8|
|Warranty||one year collect and return|