Considering both versions of its smaller 14in sibling (the dual-core 4810T and single-core 4810T-353) won recommended awards, we're expecting good things from Acer's new 15.6in Aspire Timeline 5810T. Arguably an Ultra-Low Voltage (ULV) processor and thin-and-light chassis don't make quite as much sense in a form factor this large, but let's see how it actually holds up.
In terms of style the 5810T is identical to its smaller siblings, meaning you get a subtle, conservative look. As ever the outer part of the lid is constructed using brushed aluminium, lending not only a high-quality feel but excellent durability for the part of a laptop that's usually exposed to the most abuse.
The matte finish persists once you open the laptop up, but though the materials used are now plastics, build quality remains excellent with not a hint of creak or flex anywhere. All this while maintaining a slim profile (with a maximum thickness of 30mm) and weighing in at a mere 2.4kg - both impressive figures for a 15.6in machine. The only unfortunate exceptions to the generally strong build-quality are the hinges, which could be sturdier.
Though the 5810T won't win any beauty awards, its combination of carbon grey with a matte black screen bezel and semi-glossy keyboard is fairly stylish. Were it not for this keyboard and the reflective screen, the Timelines could easily be mistaken for business machines, but to be honest we'd far rather have this than the constant care and maintenance of a glossy finish, so can only commend Acer for its decision.
Just below the screen's matte black bezel nestles a thin grey strip containing a few sensitive touch-controls including Wi-Fi, instant back-up and eco mode. To the left of this resides the small chromed power button sporting an unobtrusive white LED, while on the right is a disc-eject button which operates the tray-based optical drive. This is far easier than having the button along the side and, like the metal lid, is yet another of those touches that sets the Timelines apart from many other laptops in their price-range.
Connectivity is the only minor negative so far, in that the 5810T lacks not only eSATA but also any form of ExpressCard slot. It's one of the sacrifices of the slim profile, but at least all the essentials are there. At the left we have a lock slot, USB port, VGA and HDMI, followed by another two USB ports close together and finally 3.5mm microphone and headphone jacks, the latter of which doubles as S/PDIF. The last four connections are also marked by small icons along the top to make plugging cables in even easier.
Along the front we find a memory card reader and a large colour-changing LED that indicates if the 5810T is charging or the battery is getting low. To the right is the optical drive, a fourth USB port and Gigabit Ethernet socket.