Acer's Aspire Timeline 3810T does not quite live up to the all-day battery life claimed for it, but even 5 hours is not to be sniffed at. The system is also reasonably priced for a thin-and-light model and stylish enough that even an executive would not be ashamed to carry one.
Slim and relatively light; stylish brushed aluminium design; better than average battery life.
No CD or DVD drive; ships with Vista Home edition.
The Acer Aspire 3810T is a thin-and-light laptop designed to offer a long battery life through greater energy efficiency. While it may not quite live up to Acer's claims of eight or nine hours of use, the system is nevertheless well designed and should prove a useful tool for mobile workers.
Available from 15 May, the 3810T is part of Acer's Timeline series of laptops that are intended to offer a full day's work from a single battery charge. However, this is achieved largely through software that configures the system for minimal power consumption by actions such as reducing the display brightness. Without this, the laptop achieves a typical battery life of about three hours.
Battery life aside, the Aspire 3810T has a lot to commend it; at 24mm thick and weighing about 1.6kg, it is comparable to Lenovo's Thinkpad X301 series, widely regarded as one of the best thin-and-light laptop models. It features a decent 13.3in screen, a comfortable keyboard for typing, and a stylish brushed aluminium casing. It is also quite reasonably priced compared with many other thin-and-light models.
Acer is somewhat ambiguous about the target market for the Aspire 3810T. With its understated design and emphasis on long battery life, we would expect it to be aimed at business users. However, it ships only with Vista Home Premium or Home Basic, versions of Windows intended for consumers.
Our review unit was based on an Intel 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo SU9400 ultra-low voltage processor, one of the features Acer cites as contributing to the long battery life and cooler running of the laptop. It also has 2GB of DDR3 memory (upgradable to 4GB) and a 320GB hard drive. A Flash solid state drive is optional. One omission is that there is no drive bay to take an internal CD or DVD drive.
This specification is ample for business applications and gives the Aspire 3810T a rating of 3.2 under the Windows Experience Index built into Windows Vista. This score was pegged back by the graphics performance of the system, with the processor, memory and hard drive all showing better than average scores.
The rest of the specification includes 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for communications. Our review unit also had a 3G modem, which is not present on all models. The SIM slot for this is hidden behind the battery pack.
Other I/O consists of Gigabit Ethernet, three USB ports, and a slot for SD Card, Memory Stick and XD Flash storage cards. There is also an HDMI digital video output in addition to a standard VGA connector, plus audio jack sockets.
The Aspire's memory is fitted in two slots, accessible via a cover on the underside of the case. A second cover provides access to the hard drive. There is no slot for a docking cradle.