Inside, the 4810T-353 is quite similar to its more expensive sibling, the main differences being the CPU and hard drive. This means you get only a single-core Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500, which runs at 1.4GHz and has 3MB L2 Cache – the same as before, just with one less core. Storage, meanwhile, is downgraded from a 320GB hard drive to 250GB.
Even with these compromises you’re left with an impressively specified machine. For networking you get both Gigabit Ethernet and Draft-N Wi-Fi, not to mention Bluetooth. There’s no shortage of system memory either, with 3GB of 1,066MHz DDR3 RAM on offer.
It’s only really the graphics that let the side down, since it’s of the Intel integrated variety. This means any meaningful GPU acceleration for video is out of the question, though there’s talk that a version of Media Player Classic Home Cinema could at least support h.264 acceleration via DirectX Video Acceleration (DXVA) soon. Until then, though, 720p video is just about playable, though it does nearly max out the CPU. Gaming is also out of the question, not that anyone should buy a system like this with that in mind.
In a system like this, compromise is the order of the day – as the PCMark Vantage results demonstrate. Losing the second core has a significant impact on performance, with the dual-core 4810T coming out 40 per cent faster overall. A more relevant comparison, however, would be the HP Pavilion dv2-1030ea – the only Athlon Neo powered system to date. It costs around the same, offers similar features and also uses a single-core processor. Both systems are very well matched, with some tests resulting in identical scores!
On a more subjective level the Acer copes with general duties just fine and the CULV processor is clearly more competent than Atom. It’s only when you try to run several applications at once that things begin to slow-down, and video editing and other CPU intensive tasks are clearly a non-starter. Light image editing should be okay, but this is a system better suited to productivity tasks than heavy-duty multimedia.
It’s battery life where the Acers prove their worth, though. While the 4810T-353 doesn’t quite match the version we reviewed in May, at six hours and 18 minutes in Productivity and six hours 43 minutes in the Reader test, it still offers outstanding longevity. It’s just a shame the HP doesn’t come with a higher capacity battery, since without one it’s impossible to get a like-for-like comparison of the Intel and AMD based systems.
While performance suffers in comparison to the dual-core version and HD video is still challenging, this version of the 4810T still comes recommended. For the price it offers a tempting array of features, a portable and great to use chassis, and battery life that makes it perfect for mobile people on a tight budget.