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Acer Aspire Timeline 3810TG-944G50N review

Alan Lu
15 Apr 2010
Acer Aspire Timeline 3810TG-944G50N
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
749
inc VAT

A great screen and decent battery life make this a decent ultra-portable, but it's expensive unless you really need the dual graphics chips.

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Specifications

13.3 in 1,366x768 display, 1.7kg, 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400, 4.00GB RAM, 500GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Most ultra-portable laptops with an Intel CULV processor also come equipped with one of Intel’s integrated graphics chips that shares system memory. The Acer Aspire Timeline 3810TG-944G50N is no different but it also has another graphics chip, an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 with its own dedicated memory. You can switch between the two using a contextual menu command.

The 3810TG will automatically switch to the Intel chip when running on battery power although you can manually choose the ATI chip instead. Battery life is noticeably longer with the Intel chip enabled, lasting just under nine hours in our light use test. With the ATI chip enabled, the battery lasted a shorter, but still very respectable, six hours and 39 minutes.

The ATI chip is more powerful than the Intel chip for 3D gaming. The Intel chip managed a measly 3.8fps in our Call of Duty 4 test, while the ATI chip managed a smoother 14.2fps. While it is therefore possible to play modern 3D games on the 3810TG using the ATI chip, you will have to settle for less detailed graphics settings and lower screen resolutions to achieve smooth gameplay.

Performance in more serious applications was better. The 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo SU9400 processor, which is paired with 4GB of RAM (all of which can be used thanks to the 64-bit version of Windows), achieved a particularly quick score of 60 in our image editing test. Overall, it scored 45 making it one of the quickest CULV ultra-portables we’ve seen. The large 500GB hard disk should be enough space for all but the biggest media libraries.

The 3810TG’s lid is made from metal, but the rest of the chassis is actually plastic with a metallic finish. It still feels very sturdy and robust though, and the underside didn’t become uncomfortably hot when used on a lap.

The touchpad is small, but accurate. The single pivoting button feels far too stiff though, making it uncomfortable to use. The keyboard is large, but the flat keys have a very smooth texture, which feels odd. Once we got used to it though, typing long documents was very comfortable.

We were impressed by the brightness of the 13.3in glossy widescreen display. At its highest setting it’s almost painfully bright, so the screen is perfectly legible even when brightness is reduced to conserve battery life. Colours look vivid, but viewing angles are a little restricted, so it's best to sit directly in front of the screen. Overall, the 3810TG’s display is one of the best we’ve seen on a CULV ultra-portable. The screen also tilts back fairly far, making it comfortable to use on your lap, and has a L-shaped hinge making it easier to use in cramped quarters such as an economy-class airline seat.

The 3810TG is a well-designed ultra-portable laptop, although it's relatively expensive at £749. We suspect this is at least partially due to the two graphics chip, although as the ATI chip isn't that good for gaming we don't think it's worth paying for. For most people the Sony Vaio Y11M1E/S has a longer battery life is a better choice.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo SU9400
Processor clock speed1.4GHz
Memory4.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory8GB
Size32x322x230mm
Weight1.7kg
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad

Display

Viewable size13.3 in
Native resolution1,366x768
Graphics ProcessorATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330
Graphics/video portsHDMI, VGA
Graphics Memory512MB

Storage

Total storage capacity500GB
Optical drive modelnone
Optical drive typeN/A

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slotsnone
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsSDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro, xD
Other portsnone

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includedCyberLink PowerDVD 8, Microsoft Works 9
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Warrantyone year collect and return
Price£749
Detailswww.acer.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.saveonlaptops.co.uk