- Review Date: 08/28/2012
- Bottom line: The Acer Aspire Timeline X 4830TG-6808 mainstream laptop is a month or two behind the curve, but it's still a solid system with all-day battery life and a reasonable price.
- Pros: Long-lasting battery. Decent discrete video with automatic switching. Portable design. Comfortable keyboard. Affordable.
- Cons: Older processor. Smallish hard drive.
The Acer Aspire TimelineX AS4830TG-6808 is one of the more recent models in the TimelineX fold, a mainstay of the mainstream laptop aisle recognizable by its cobalt blue color and distinguished with some of the best battery life of any laptop line. If the 14-inch AS4830TG-6808 doesn't have the ultrathin design that is so in vogue right now, it still delivers decent performance and a solid user experience without breaking the bank.
The TimelineX AS4830TG-6808 should look familiar to anyone who's ever seen a member of the Acer TimelineX series. The cobalt blue finish, aluminum lid, and two-tone palm rest are all the same as seen on previous models. The black chiclet keys are comfortable to type on, but the lack of backlighting means that non-touch typists will be out of luck in darkened rooms, and the arrow keys are on the small side for an otherwise full-size keyboard. The touchpad is placed just to the left of center, but its multitouch surface and separate left and right buttons make it pretty foolproof.
Measuring 1.2 by 13.3 by 9.4 inches (HWD), the TimelineX AS480TG-6808 is one of the thinner mainstream laptops—even more svelte than the Asus K53SD-DS51 and the Fujitsu Lifebook LH532, both 1.4 inches thick. Weighing in at 4.56 pounds, it's also not too heavy.
The 14-inch widescreen display has an average resolution (1,366 by 768), but it's sufficient for enjoying 720p video and large enough to tile windows side by side for easy multitasking. When tested with trailers for The Dark Knight Rises, the audio was clear, but lacking in bass.
The Acer Aspire TimelineX is outfitted with two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, an Ethernet connection, and a built-in card reader (SD/xD/MMC/MS/MS Pro). A 1.3-megapixel webcam sits above the screen for video chat with decent picture quality. Bluetooth 2.1 lets you wirelessly connect to headsets or transfer data to a phone or tablet, and 802.11n Wi-Fi gives you all the Web connectivity you need. An HDMI output lets you connect directly to an HDTV or monitor, but if you want to ditch the cable the Aspire TimelineX is also equipped with WiDi 2.0, which lets you stream HD content wirelessly through an adapter like the Netgear Push2TV
On the side of the laptop is a tray-loading DVD±RW drive with dual-layer support, which is par for the course in mainstream laptops. Similar drives are found in the Editors' Choice Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 and the Lenovo IdeaPad U400, although the U400 utilizes a slot-loading drive. Storage comes by way of a 500GB 5,400rpm hard drive, but it's smaller than you'll find in most comparable systems—750GB has become much more common.
As for software, you'll find several programs preinstalled on the laptop, including Microsoft Office Starter 2010 and a 60-day trial of McAfee Internet Security Suite—double the usual 30-day period, but we'd still prefer 12 months or more for real protection. Acer covers the Aspire TimelineX with a one-year warranty.
In addition to 4GB of RAM, the Aspire TimelineX 4830TG-6808 utilizes a second-generation Intel Core i5-2450M dual-core processor. It may not match the speed and energy efficiency of current third-generation processors, but it still provides enough horsepower for Web browsing, light photo editing, and even gaming. The 4830TG-6808 scored 2,214 in Futuremark PCMark 7, behind the similarly equipped Lenovo IdeaPad U400 (2,309) and the quad-core third-generation Core i7–equipped processor seen in the IdeaPad Y480 (2,610). The TimelineX also did moderately well in our CineBench R11.5 rendering test (2.76), but was still handily beaten by the Lenovo Y480 (6.26).
The TimelineX also has an Nvidia GeForce GT 540M graphics processor, with 1GB of dedicated memory. This discrete processor provided sufficient oomph to score 9,603 in 3DMark06 and to turn out playable frame rates in our Crysis and Lost Planet 2 gaming tests (38 frames per second, or fps, in each). Optimus automatic switching alternates between the discrete graphics card and the integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 to preserve battery life without compromising the quality of graphics.
Battery life is one area where the Aspire TimelineX model line has made a name for itself. With its six-cell battery, the 4830TG-6808 lasted 9 hours 35 minutes on a single charge when tested with MobileMark. This is a moderate improvement over the previous Acer Aspire TimelineX AS4830T-6841 (9:19) and hours longer than competitors like the Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 (4:48), Fujitsu Lifebook LH532 (5:01), and Lenovo IdeaPad U400 (6:00).
Ultimately, although the Acer Aspire TimelineX 4830TG-6808 is a bit behind the curve in terms of processing hardware, it's still an affordable, capable laptop that offers strong battery life and plenty of features for a reasonable price. It may not top the high-octane processing power of the Editors' Choice Lenovo IdeaPad Y480, but it's still a smart buy, and smart shoppers will likely find it being sold for even less.