£609 + VAT
Acer's Aspire Timeline 3810t is part of a new range of laptops from the vendor aimed at offering a longer battery life without pushing up the weight too much. The system has also been designed with style in mind, with a brushed aluminium casing and a minimalist appearance.
Available from 15th May, the Aspire 3810t is the smallest of the Timeline models, equipped with a 13.3in wide-screen display and weighing in at about 1.6kg.
This makes it comparable with Lenovo's thin-and-light ThinkPad X300 and X301 models but, while Lenovo manages to squeezes in a DVD-R/W, no optical drive is fitted to Acer's model.
However, it should be noted that, while a ThinkPad X301 costs well over £1,000, this model costs £700 or less, depending on the processor fitted.
Our first impressions of the Aspire 3810t is that it feels like a well built system that will stand up to life on the road. We were impressed by the display, a high-brightness Acer CineCrystal with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, and also with the keyboard, which has large well-spaced keys that make for comfortable typing.
One slight niggle is that the laptop lid cannot be pushed right back, which means that the screen points towards your chest if you are using the system on your lap. The touchpad also has a single bar instead of separate buttons, and is flush with the case and has very little movement when pressed.
Our review sample of the Aspire 3810t was based on a 1.4GHz ultra-low voltage Core 2 Duo SU9400 processor with 2GB DDR3 memory (upgradable to 4GB) and 320GB hard drive. The operating system supplied is Windows Vista Home Premium.
For connectivity, the laptop is equipped with 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, plus a gigabit Ethernet port. It also has a HDMI digital video output in addition to a standard VGA connector, plus three USB ports, audio jack sockets and a slot for SD Card, Memory Stick and XD Flash storage cards.
Acer quotes a battery life of up to eight hours for the Aspire 3810t, which we intend to test in a later full review. This is a bold claim for such a relatively light system, especially when the battery that came with our unit was no larger than standard and rated at 5600mAh.
However, Acer claims that features such as Intel's Display Power Savings Technology and its own Smart Power software cut power consumption to make this possible.
The latter optimises the system for longer battery life. When you unplug the mains adapter, it turns off the Aero Glass visual effects and closes the Windows Sidebar, for example.
Overall, the Aspire Timeline 3810t looks good for its £609 + VAT price on first impressions, but check back here for a more in-depth review later.