SMC 2008 - The IEEE International Conference



Acer Aspire TimelineX AS3820T-5246

acer aspireAcer's series of Timeline laptops was one of the first that started emphasizing the battery life in full-powered and nevertheless slim systems. The first model was released in the first half of 2009 and since then many PC makers with varied success were trying to combine thin design, decent performance and long battery life in a better way than Acer.

Acer also keeps developing its series and the latest model in it is the Aspire TimelineX AS3820T-5246 with its 13-inch display, Intel Core i3 CPU and good look. Its battery life and performance are also good enough, though they don’t outpace the competition radically.

The lowest price scale for the thin AS3820T-5246 is at $729. Its closest rival Toshiba Portege 705 has the price at $829 and more, for example. If the notebook also has a discrete graphics, like the Asus U33J, the price will start with $1000 (though it is important to notice that both of the above-mentioned devices have sturdier build quality and snazzier designs).

The flat-topped and wide keys has a unique and only inherent to Acer style, which takes a little time to get used to it for those who is more familiar with island-style standard keys. One of its interesting features is extra surface area for some keys like large Shift key on the right side for example. People say it takes about an hour to get used to the keyboard to gain back the normal typo rate. Though there are no discrete keys for media control, there is a single button for a quick launching of just about any program you want.

The touchpad has a decent size; it is definitely not as big as on 13-inch MacBooks and HP's Envy. Acer has developed a multitouch gestures and usual two-finger support on the PC side. Besides that the touchpad allows to use a circular finger pattern to scroll long Web pages or documents. If you try to flick two fingers horizontally while surfing the web you'll go back and forward in your browser history. But in comparison to MacBooks such gestures require an exact finger placement which makes it pretty useless, as most definitely you'll have no time to concentrate and make proper moves.

The display of AS3820T-5246 is 13.3-inch wide and has a native resolution of 1366x768 pixels, which is a standard resolution for most notebooks that have 11-15-inch displays. It looks bright and clear even from the extreme angles, thus making it a nice solution for movie watching, document creation and Web surfing. The built-in speakers have a label of Dolby Home Theater on it, but the sound seemed to be pretty common, thus meaning they are fine for everyday use, but listening to music or watching movies will require external speakers or headphones for the best experience.

If to take a look under the hood, it is a system with Intel Core i3 CPU, which is very efficient for everyday tasks like Web surfing, watching movies and video files online, and working on documents. Benchmark tests showed the performance of AS3820T-5246 is similar to the performance of the Portege R705 that also has an Intel Core i3 processor.

The notebook allows to play in social and casual games due to its Intel integrated graphics, though active gamers will be dissatisfied with this fact. The test showed only around 12 frames per second in Street Fighter IV, which is not enough for good gaming but means that older games should work well on that system.