Recently I wrote about replacing my main computer, a six-year-old Dell Inspiron 8600, with a homebuilt desktop computer. I also mentioned that, for my mobile needs, I ordered a fast, much cheaper notebook from someone else, and promised more about that notebook in a future issue. This is the one…
I built my new desktop and bought a small, fast, light and powerful notebook computer for slightly less than I planned to pay for a Dell Studio XPS 16 notebook, let alone the fast, lightweight Alienware (Dell) M11X cost that I planned to purchase a couple months later. Dell’s customer relations blunders on my order helped me save over $1500 — and NewEgg(for the desktop components) and Amazon
(for the notebook) appreciated my business.
So, what did I buy?
I bought the Acer Aspire TimelineX AS3820T-5246 13.3-Inch HD Laptop (Black Brushed Aluminum) laptop/notebook from Amazon.
What’s the difference between a laptop and a notebook? Some people use the term interchangeably. Personally, I view a laptop to be larger and heavier than a notebook. The Acer Aspire TimelineX is about the size of my leatherbound notepad that holds an 8.5 x 11 inch pad of paper.
What’s so great about the TimelineX? First, it has a phenomenal battery life. The battery is advertised to up to 8 hours with the 6-cell battery included (of course, battery life is a function of what you’re doing, LCD display brightness, whether wireless is turned on or off, whether Bluetooth is turned on or off, and other variables. But, that’s the story with any notebook. This battery life is amazing, even if the processor were to be slow and the LCD display dim. But, they’re not…
My new TimelineX has the Intel Core i3-350 dual-core processor (want a faster one, get the AS3820T-3051), Windows 7 Home Premium, 4 GB of 1066MHz DDR3 RAM, and a lot more. It weighs just under 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms).
The display is amazing. At 13.3 inches (diagonally), the size is considerably larger than the netbook it’s replacing (my homebuilt desktop replaced my old notebook, since it was used as my main computer). Resolution is 1366×768, which is the same as my 10-inch netbook had — of course, this means that the TimelineX is much more readable. Instead of the typical fluorescent tubes providing the backlighting for the LCD, this model has LED backlighting. Why? LED backlighting uses less energy (longer battery life). It’s brighter, too. The notebook also has an HDMI™ port for routing to your HDMI-capable monitor or television.
Four gigabytes of RAM provides plenty of memory with 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium, at least for now. There are two RAM slots with a total capacity of 8 GB (each can take a 4GB DDR3 SODIMM), so the memory can be expanded in the future.
Communications are a breeze: the TimelineX has both Gigabit 10/100/1000 wired Ethernet and wireless 802.11 b/g/n capability, as well as Bluetooth for peripherals like mice (I don’t use Bluetooth except for my cellphone’s Bluetooth earpiece). Wireless 802.11n is a big boost over 802.11g and very noticable.
Gigabit Ethernet is, too, but the traffic will only be as fast as the slowest link. That is, if you’re transferring files to or from a PC that only does 10/100 Ethernet, your transfer speeds will be capped by the capabilities of that connection, not the connection you have to your Gigabit router or Gigabit switch.
The hard drive is a large 320 GB model, but at a relatively slow 5,400 RPM. Desktop computers normally have 7,200 RPM drives, but 5,400 RPM models use less energy and don’t generate as much heat. Notebooks have a lot crammed into a very little space, so cooling is a challenge. A 7200 RPM drive would add more heat to a notebook. Could that be a problem? Yes, I know from my own experience…
What about an optical drive? There’s not one. You will need an external DVD burner to burn DVD’s (including your system backup and driver backup disks) and to install software from CD’s or DVD’s.
Finally, there’s a memory card slot reader. The 5-in-1 card reader reads optional MultiMediaCard™, Secure Digital card, Memory Stick®, Memory Stick PRO™ or xD-Picture Card™
What are the available Acer Aspire® TimelineX AS3820T configurations?
- Model AS3820T-5246
(the one I bought): Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium ; 64-bit version; Intel® Core™ i3-350M Mobile Processor (3MB Intel® Smart Cache, 2.26GHz); 4GB (2/2) DDR3 1066 SDRAM; 320GB hard drive; 5-in-1 card reader; Acer® CineCrystal 13.3″ (1366 x 768) TFT display; Intel® HD Graphics; 802.11b/g/n WLAN, Bluetooth®, gigabit LAN, webcam; six-cell battery; one-year limited warranty
- Model AS3820T-3051 (doesn’t appear available yet): Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium ; 64-bit version; Intel® Core™ i5-450M Mobile Processor (3MB Intel® Smart Cache, 2.4GHz); 4GB (2/2) DDR3 1066 SDRAM; 500GB hard drive; 5-in-1 card reader; Acer® CineCrystal 13.3″ (1366 x 768) TFT display; Intel® HD Graphics; 802.11b/g/n WLAN, Bluetooth®, gigabit LAN, webcam; nine-cell battery; one-year limited warranty
Update: 7/29/10 – the AS3820T-3051 is available now.
Dimensions and weight: 12.8″ (324.0mm) W x 9.3″ (235.0mm) D x 0.9″ – 1.1” (22.0mm – 28.9mm) H / 4.0 lb. (1.8kg) with six-cell battery.