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Acer Aspire Timeline 1810TZ - 11.6in Intel CULV Laptop review

Andy Vandervell

By

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

9

Pros

  • Great battery life
  • Multiple finishes
  • Great value

Cons

  • Poor viewing angles
  • Shallow keyboard
  • No Bluetooth

Key Features

  • Dual-core Pentium SU4100 CPU
  • LED-backlit 1377x768 pixel LCD screen
  • HDMI output
  • 3GB RAM
  • 250GB hard drive
  • Manufacturer: Acer
  • Review Price: free/subscription

2008 was the year of the netbook; 2009 is the year of the 'affordable' ultra-portable laptop. It seems self-evident now, but netbooks showed Intel, AMD and other manufacturers that there was a sincere demand for affordable, portable laptops. Netbooks fall short of fulfilling that demand, but this year has seen a number of products aim to fill the gap. Acer has been at the forefront with its Aspire Timeline and TravelMate Timeline ranges: notable successes being the Aspire 4810T and the TravelMate 8371. Its latest effort, the Aspire Timeline 1810TZ, looks to set the bar even higher.

We'll say it straight now: the 1810TZ is about as close as we've ever come to giving a laptop (netbooks not included) a 10/10. Why it doesn't receive such an accolade will be revealed in the course of the review, but suffice to say the margins are extremely slim. What's important is that, rather like what the Samsung NC10 did for netbooks, the 1810TZ distils exactly what an affordable, ultra-portable laptop ought to be. Ironically our first point of reference for how to get it wrong is another Samsung product, the recently reviewed X120.

That's actually a little unfair to the Samsung. As we said in the review, were it not for its poor battery life the X120 would be an outstanding product, too. We'd wager plenty other laptops will be more disappointing than the X120, which makes its single failing all the more irritating. Unsurprisingly it's one of the many things the 1810TZ gets right.

While incorporating the six-cell, 5,600mAh capacity battery in the 1810TZ means it lacks the sleekness of the Samsung, our testing revealed battery life of eight hours and 43 minutes! Under the exact same testing conditions the X120 managed a paltry two hours, 33 minutes - over three times less.

This is a massive difference by anyone's estimation and though you won't always get this amount of life, even pushing this system hard will return great results and you're far less likely to be caught short. It's not as if you're paying more for the privilege; the 1810TZ is currently retailing for as little as £430 - actually less than the Samsung at time of writing.

Moving to more superficial matters, while the Acer isn't as pretty as the X120, it's no ugly duckling, either. It might lack the cohesive curves and minimalist appeal, but the slim chassis (22mm at its thinnest, 30mm at its thickest) is still well arranged and has a few well placed curves of its own. It's just that, rather like the lacklustre Aspire One D150, Acer uses far too many contrasting materials for it to hang together as effectively.

A choice of colours, which include black and blue in addition to our red version, add a nice bit of variety, though. An overall weight of 1.4kg is also very good and no build issues were discernible from our retail sample; in fact, the quality of plastics and general assembly feels rock solid.

Sullivan McIntyre

November 25, 2009, 9:59 pm

Great review, very glad to see a good write up of this interesting product.





Am thinking of buying one of these as a present for the folks this Xmas. However, I've travelled the path to this machine from cheaper netbooks and I can't help but think that I could get TWO Samsung N130s for the same price and still have £15 left over. My main issue is the anaemic Atom processor when watching full screen flash video... Dammit, decisions!

Andy0d2

November 25, 2009, 10:19 pm

Check out the acer 1820Pt/Ptz tablet versions of this notebook. I believe it includes blue-tooth in addition to having the tablet functionality.

MSIC

November 25, 2009, 11:06 pm

A generally excellent review, thank you. I do think however that you missed a trick by either comparing, or at least mentioning products like the samsung n510. I can understand why many people might want to create a distinction between the 2 products, calling one a netbook and another an ultraportable (or whatever) but frankly that's just marketing, since both are computers, and have more in common than differences, including price (very nearly).


Other than this omission though, well done.

Martin Daler

November 26, 2009, 2:32 am

The portability and battery life are the making of this machine, coupled with its performance. Finally I can carry a laptop with me which has the gumption to do the job, and I can happily leave the power brick at home. And it didn't break the bank.

Oliver270

November 26, 2009, 4:44 am

not having a ION GPU in there is a missed opportunity in my opinion. I'd be looking to put Ubuntu 9.10 or XP on there but without proper hardware video acceleration in anything but Vista or Windows 7 (as Intel will only provide proper drivers for HDCP compliant OSs) this is worthless to me.


How difficult can it be for one manufacturer to get this right? 11inch screen, 1366*768 screen, bluetooth, 802.11n, CULV, ION, and 6 cell battery. Please have it weight less than 1.5kgs and sell under £400.





All we get are half baked attempts

Tony Walker

November 26, 2009, 5:30 am

I can't believe you criticise the keyboard at all!





This has the best laptop keyboard I've used in a long while. I was so impressed that I nearly walked out of PC World with one of these babes. Yes, PC World. Great for testing lappie KBs. Quite a few of Acer's newest lappies share this new KB including the 751 netbook. All are as good as each other. Don't get swayed by reviewers who overly praise Samsung KBs - they are at best average.





Yes I'm a keyboard fascist (monitors and mice too). For reference, my desktop KB is a classic IBM PS/2 102 key beaut, and the best lappie KB I had was a Dell Inspiron 7000 with a KB at least as good as an IBM Thinkpad.

AnonymousTrain

November 26, 2009, 9:56 am

Are the speakers on this better or worse than those on the Acer Ferrari One or Samsung X120?

Andy Vandervell

November 26, 2009, 3:00 pm

Thanks for all the kind comments, it's always nice to be appreciated!





@MSIC: That's a fair point, but I've tried not to overcomplicate matters too much. What I would say is that at current prices, the N510 is overpriced. In fact, one good thing about the CULV segment is it looks as if it'll force netbook prices down to far more realistic levels. Which can only be a good thing.





@Oliver: ION would be nice, but as you say it's less of an issue on Windows as it is for Linux users. Assuming most people will be sticking with Windows (a fair one I think) ION brings far less to the table here than it does with netbooks. It might give some extra gaming performance, but probably not enough to warrant an excitement. Alternatively we might see some interesting stuff coming from AMD in the near future.





@Tony Walker: Well keyboards are a subjective thing, clearly. As you say, though, shallow keys or not it's still a very good keyboard. I certainly wouldn't class it as a deal breaker, otherwise it woulnd't have got an award!





@AnoymousTrain: The two Acer's are about the same, both are better than the X120.

Nicholas Name

November 26, 2009, 3:15 pm

A balanced and informative review as ever, thanks Andy.





This would be the device to push my 1000HE onto ebay, but for the omission of bluetooth (essential for tethering and calendar sync). The cost saving must be in the pennies and a module would fit into the tiniest space. Why on earth would the manufacturer decide to leave it out?

bv121

November 26, 2009, 3:34 pm

Thanks for the review TR - was as expected having had a play around in PCW myself.





Looks like this will be the replacement for my NC10, the 2.5 yrold daughter having moved on to watching Pingu on Youtube ("YouTube" - one of her new words - we're so proud...) the NC10 just can't cut it with flash video...





Would like to see if Asus ever release a comparible UL20A, or Toshiba with it's T115 - but no other manufacturers seem to be competing right now...

sebbe

November 26, 2009, 3:57 pm

Thanks for an great review!





I have a question: Which graphics card did your testmodel come with? Intel GMA4500M or GMA4500MHD?


I live in Denmark, and here this model comes with Bluetooth, but does not have the GMA 4500MHD. The graphics card is really the only reason why I am hesitant to buy this notebook as I worry it will have a negative influence on HD-playback.


Any thoughts?

Stelph

November 26, 2009, 4:55 pm

Allt those who have a netbook but are unhappy with the graphical grunt of it should check out the Broadcomm Crystal HDmini-PCI card, check out the video here:





http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...





It allow even the most basic atom netbook to playback 1080p and eventually High Definition Flash (as its going to be supported by Flash 10.1).





Not bad for a card that costs under £20 on ebay :-)

Philepo

November 26, 2009, 5:20 pm

Free on 24 month contract?





Even though this is meant to be the price that you can get a free laptop if you sign up for a 24 month mobile contract they are always God awful laptops and not worth the carrage costs. Lets hope we some bright spark might give this as an option.

MarkW

November 26, 2009, 6:03 pm

There is a model one up from this that DOES have bluetooth (and a better processor and 4GB ram). The model number is AS1810T-8638 (black) or AS1810T-8679 (blue) - Not to be confused with the original single-core 1810T.





Think its only $50 more in the US, so might be worthwhile. Have heard the 4GB RAM makes a difference too.

Rickysio

November 26, 2009, 6:10 pm

@ Stelph





Most netbooks lack a miniPCI slot, save HP netbooks (and a few others, but I'm only aware about HP's. Mostly because I own the 2140.).





And if you go for a HP notebook, I'd think I'd just spring for the 311.

Stelph

November 26, 2009, 7:56 pm

@Rickysio actually I think that all the netbooks have a miniPCI slot, its just that they currently have a WiFi card installed in the slot. So you would lose wifi unless your a lucky person with an EEE PC as some of those come with a second miniPCI slot, or you use a USB stick, both much chaper options than switiching to a laptop anyway

Malderon

November 26, 2009, 9:45 pm

Been looking around for a CULV laptop for my sister, and have seen rave reviews for this one. But then came accross Dell 11z with similar spec and due to Dell's volatile pricing currently available with £130 off making it £399 (or £440 with the Pink top which I'm sure she will insist on.





Any idea how these compare in terms of battery life, display/keyboard quality?





Any idea

Andy Vandervell

November 26, 2009, 10:58 pm

@Malderon: If you're looking at the same page I am, that spec only comes with a three-cell battery, so you'd probably want to upgrade that (£45) - you get less RAM, too. I've heard some bad things about the touchpads on those as well, so I'd say the Acer is the one.

OJ

November 27, 2009, 4:32 am

Two questions: firstly, are there some models that come with Bluetooth? I'm looking at an "AS1810TZW" model in a Finnish online shop, and it states THREE times that it has Bluetooth (in the overview, the detailed description and the tech specs). Seeing as there is a Bluetooth indicator on the front, it would seem logical that some models do come with it...





Secondly, any chance of an image gallery showing the different colours available (white, black, blue)? There seem to be very few photos online of anything but the red model. Thanks :)

sebbe

November 27, 2009, 1:40 pm

@OJ


There are two models in Denmark. One with Vista, which comes in black, blue and white.


The other one with Win 7, which comes in black, blue and red.


Both models come with Bluetooth.


But here you get the GMA 4500M instead of the Intel GMA 4500MHD

OJ

November 27, 2009, 2:47 pm

Sebbe: Tak, that's useful to know. Although, the Finnish model I'm looking at appears to come in white, with Windows 7, with Bluetooth and with the 4500MHD, so I guess it's not the same model. Then again, it is 50€ more than the British price quoted on this page.

drittenorn

November 27, 2009, 7:56 pm

Andy, good review as ever. I'd like to be able to use this to watch BBC HD programmes downloaded (not streamed) from iPlayer, do you think there would be enough CPU/graphics grunt to handle this without dropped frames or sync issues ? Thanks a lot.

pimlicosound

November 27, 2009, 9:48 pm

Good review - I look the look of this quite a bit. Can you possibly tell us how HD Flash playback on this compares to that on an Ion/Atom 330 nettop with Flash 10.1 and hardware acceleration?

Martin Daler

November 28, 2009, 2:12 am

@drittenorn I was all set to give this a go for you, but I see iPlayer does not play with Win7, according to BBC. So I didn't start. But it has no trouble with streamed iPlayer content.

cybergibbons

November 28, 2009, 5:41 am

I've just bought one of these (yes, from PC World) on the back of this review and I'm so far very happy.





Just downloading some HD on iplayer to see what it's like compared to my Revo ION.

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