Acer's outstanding Aspire TimelineX 4820TG outclasses many more expensive laptops and has an excellent specification for the price.
14 in 1,366×768 display, 2.2kg, 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 450M, 4.00GB RAM, 500GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
We’re big fans of Acer’s TimelineX series of laptops, and the 4820TG does nothing to change that fact. Acer claims eight hours of battery life despite the powerful Core i5 450M processor, but we actually saw nine hours, 39 minutes in our light-use battery test. This is fantastic for a general-purpose laptop. However, the hefty battery adds a lot weight, making the 4820TG heavier than most 14in laptops at 2.2kg. The TimelineX also tends to get rather warm – not hot enough to cause discomfort, but it was certainly noticeable.
Build quality is very good, as we’ve seen with previous TimelineX models. The lid is surprisingly thin, though, which makes it feel a little vulnerable. The 14in 1,366×768 screen has a glossy finish, which makes it very reflective under some lighting conditions. However, it’s bright and clear with pleasingly realistic colours, which still looked good at reduced brightness settings. Plus, we had no complaints about viewing angles, which meant we didn’t have to be square-on to get the best contrast and colours.
The speakers produce a full-bodied sound with plenty of volume. They become a little muddy on busy or complex tracks, but are reasonably good if you’re watching a film or listening to the odd pop song.
We appreciated the laptop’s four USB ports, but there’s no support for eSATA or FireWire. VGA and HDMI ports cater for video and there’s Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n WiFi and a memory card reader that can handle SD, SDHC, Memory Stick Pro, MMC and xD formats. The keyboard feels a little light and loose, which can make it a bit uncomfortable for heavy typists, but it’s centrally positioned, with large keys and even a decent sized space bar and we managed good typing speeds on it.
Although you could hardly call the 4820TG cheap, it easily outdoes many more expensive laptops in terms of performance and features. There’s a 500GB hard disk, 4GB of RAM and an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470 graphics processor with 512MB of dedicated graphics memory. The graphics card means that it managed a very respectable 39.3fps at 1,280×768 in our CoD4 test, making it a decent choice if you want to be able to play games. The laptop’s overall score of 92 in our multimedia benchmark was excellent, putting it head and shoulders above many more expensive laptops.
The 4820TG offers a tempting combination of processor power, gaming performance and battery life. It has a good-quality display and we have few complaints about its other physical characteristics – keyboard, touchpad and build quality. The only criticisms we can level at it is that it’s a touch heavy and gets a little warm. The one-year warranty isn’t as good some manufacturers offer, but at least Acer will collect and return your laptop to you in the event of a fault.
The fact that it’s faster in both applications and games than many more expensive laptops means the TimelineX 4820TG is an excellent choice. Add the fact that it also lasts far longer on battery power, and it’s a deserving winner of our Best Buy award.
|Processor||Intel Core i5 450M|
|Processor clock speed||2.4GHz|
|Memory slots free||0|
|Sound||Realtek HD Audio|
|Viewable size||14 in|
|Graphics Processor||ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470|
|Graphics/video ports||VGA, HDMI|
|Total storage capacity||500GB|
|Optical drive model||HL-DT-ST GU10N|
|Optical drive type||DVD+/-RW +/-DL|
Ports and Expansion
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100/1000|
|Wireless networking support||802.11n|
|PC Card slots||none|
|Supported memory cards||SD, SDHC, Memory Stick PRO, MMC, xD|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|Operating system restore option||burn own restore disc|
|Software included||Microsoft Works 9.0, NTI Backup Now 5, NTI Media Maker 8|
|Warranty||one year collect and return|