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

Given the Timeline series is all about battery life, it seems fitting to start our performance analysis there. And, as expected, the TravelMate 8731 delivers handsomely. In the Producutivity segment of MobileMark 2007 it lasted an incredible six hours and 37 minutes, extending to just over seven hours in the low intensity Reader test. These don't quite match Acer's predictions of eight hours or more, but clearly the six-cell, 5,600mAh battery delivers more than enough life for a day out.

Overall performance is pretty solid, too. Admittedly this isn't the kind of laptop you can edit HD video on and in some cases it can struggle with very high bit-rate HD videos (720p is just fine), but for productivity tasks - i.e. the kinds of tasks the 8731 is meant for - it copes perfectly well. This is particularly true of this dual-core version which, as you can see from the graph following the review, is comfortably faster than the single-core Acer Aspire 4810T-353 we looked at previously.

This is all achieved with nary a whisper from the fan or any discernible heat. Yes, every now and again the fan will spin up, but for the most part the 8731 is faultlessly cool and quiet - as you might well demand from an ultra-low voltage laptop. It's also a very well put together machine; there's a sense of solidity to the chassis that's greatly enhanced by the aluminium lid.

This quality extends to the keyboard and touchpad, both of which are very good. Key response is crisp and positive and the layout generates no meaningful complaints. We'd prefer the touchpad to not occupy such a central position, but there's a button for deactivating it if it gets in the way.

In truth, then, the TravelMate 8731 is much as we anticipated. It has the awesome battery life we saw previously, but mixes this with a few well-selected business features. There are plenty of things that could arguably be added to the 8731, such as TPM security and an optical drive, but they would inevitably push the price up - defeating the object entirely. As things stand, you'd be hard-pressed to find a business ultra-portable that offers such an excellent battery-powered usage time for such an affordable price.

Verdict

If you're a businessman who has always wanted an ultra-portable but couldn't justify the expense, the TravelMate Timeline 8731 should make you very happy. Its outstanding battery life and realistic price are its best points, but it also retains enough important features that you won't feel too hamstrung.

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.

comments powered by Disqus