Acer TravelMate Timeline 8371-944G32N - 13.3in Laptop - Acer TravelMate Timeline 8371

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Acer TravelMate Timeline 8371-944G32N - 13.3in Laptop

Summary

Our Score:

9

There are three versions of the TravelMate 8731: two whose primary difference is the processor (single-core or dual-core) and one that's like ours except with discrete graphics. We're looking at the dual-core, Intel integrated graphics version and provided you can stretch to it, it's definitely preferable to the single-core iteration. Our version, the TravelMate 8371-944G32N, comes with an Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400 that runs at 1.4GHz on an 800MHz front-side bus and has a generous 3MB L2 Cache.

Any comparisons to Intel's Atom processors should be extinguished right away; not only is the architecture of this processor much faster, its L2 Cache is significantly larger, providing a noticeable speed bump. Acer has also been smart enough to couple this with a fast 7,200rpm, 320GB hard drive. This aids system responsiveness, though not quite as much as an SSD might! This drive is also shock protected, with motion sensors detecting falls in order to protect against data loss. There's an ample 4GB of RAM on-board, though this isn't entirely utilised by the 32-bit version of Vista Business installed.

Network connectivity can't be faulted. Both Gigabit Ethernet and Draft-N Wi-Fi are included and 3G enabled versions are to be sold at a later date. Also included is Bluetooth 2.1, so all the staple technologies of the mobile worker are accounted for.

Physical connectivity is fine, too, though not overwhelming - the price and size of the 8731 dictate this. In addition to the docking port connection mentioned earlier there are three USB ports, the Ethernet port, a memory card reader, a couple of audio jacks and a VGA output. All of which is fine, but we would have really liked at least one of the USB ports given 'sleep & charge' capabilities, since this would be invaluable to anyone needing to charge mobile devices on the go.

Still, at this price, it's hard to quibble with one or two compromises, which is true of the audio visual side of things as well. With a 1,366 x 768 native resolution, the 13.3in display provides ample desktop real-estate, while the bright LED backlighting and anti-glare finish make it useable outdoors. However, these positives aside, there isn't a great deal to shout about. Viewing angles are okay but not great, as is colour fidelity and sharpness.

As this is a business laptop, integrated audio comes pretty low down on the list of priorities. Audio is tinny and just about passable for online videos, but useless for anything else. Moreover, whereas the Aspire versions benefitted from Dolby Sound Room and thus improved headphone performance, the 8731 does not.

Max

August 27, 2009, 6:44 am

So lets get this straight, small, portable, decent build quality, good features and a half decent screen. £700. I was berated for suggesting that netbook style laptops could replace business oriented ultra-portables, but here we have a netbook-alike doing exactly that.





Once Ion 2 hits and it can take the 1.2GHz CULV C2D/S, Windows 7 (which only requires 1 or 2gb ram), and stick a cheap HD in there, take out the fingerprint stuff and other superfluous additions, and you have a similar performing machine, with probably better battery life for even less money! Hell you can even keep the fingerprint stuff and extra ports and price it for £500 which is a damnsight less than £2000 for a super duper Vaio ultra portable.

Chris

August 27, 2009, 8:33 pm

@Max: Sorry, I don't see anything that this laptop has in common with a standard netbook. It's a relatively cheap business-oriented laptop, and I'm glad someone is finally charging realistic money for one.

PoisonJam

August 28, 2009, 1:24 am

Even though this is the age of ridiculous product numbers, just what are Acer thinking with this one?! Ugh.





I can very much see the appeal of this. A light, reasonably powerful laptop with a large, high resolution screen. The limited resolutions of Netbooks is why they can never replace a proper ultra-portable for business use. Some program won't even install on Netbook resolutions (Dreamweaver for one).

PoisonJam

August 29, 2009, 3:11 am

Also, something I'd love to see with laptop reviews (especially Ultra-Portables) is the weight and size (and possibly picture) of the charger. I have to take my charger wherever I take my laptop so the charger could be the deciding factor between two lightweight laptops for me.

farki80

August 30, 2009, 4:32 am

Nice notebook, but 13.3" is just too big for an ultraportable.





I hope Acer has improved the built quality of the notebooks. While they present good value for money, my previous experience with Acers hasn't been positive. My VAIO on the other hand...

paul.k

August 15, 2010, 12:39 am

just had it for a week. an excellent machine for someone who travels a lot. low-key styling, not brash, excellent ergonomics, good build. sure, maybe it does not play games well, but I am in business, not gaming! TM8371-944G16n: intel x25 SSD 160, 4GB RAM, WWAN, Bluetooth, WIFi abgn, fingerprint scanner. Battery lasts 5.5 hours with WiFi and not dimming the screen completely. the screen is excellent, too. even with onboard intel graphics I connect a 19" monitor at home office. and all this for less than half price that I would have paid for similar specs Latitude or Thinkpad - I paid ca GBP 500 in Denmark. Highly recommended. PoisonJam, the charger is half-size or smaller than my Dell charger.

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