Acer Aspire TimelineX 4830T review

With anticipation building over Intel’s new Ultrabook category, which lays down a specification for thin and lightweight laptops, now might seem like an odd time to launch a traditional ultraportable laptop. However, in many ways Acer’s TimelineX 4830T makes a lot of sense. A 14in screen and internal DVD optical drive could make this the ideal traveling companion for someone that can’t do without physical discs.

The laptop's metallic blue chassis, offset by the silver keyboard tray and black keys, looks great. Unsurprisingly for a 14in model, there’s no separate numeric keypad, but the QWERTY keyboard is at least full size. The home, page up and down and end keys have been relocated to the side of the keyboard tray and the function keys have shrunk a little, but we still found typing to be a trouble-free experience. Each key had a springy action and more than enough travel. The touchpad was also pleasant to use, thanks to a smooth plastic finish that creates little friction and two separate buttons with just the right amount of resistance.

Despite their being labelled as 'professionally-tuned', we still weren’t overly impressed with the Dolby Home Theatre-branded stereo speakers directly above the keyboard. They didn’t sound a whole lot different to any other laptop speaker, with only an average amount of volume, sharp high-end notes and a lack of bass.

Image quality on the 14in glossy screen was reasonable, but hardly breath-taking. A 1,366x768 resolution is average for a display of this size, and although text looked sharp, it isn’t ideal for working on two documents at once. Brightness wasn’t particularly high, even at its maximum setting, and colours were slightly muted. Viewing angles were about what we would expect from a TN LCD panel, but the large amount of screen tilt should help make up for any shortcomings here.

Considering its svelte footprint, we were pleased to see that Acer hasn’t skimped out on connectivity with the 4830T. Beyond the internal DVD re-writer, there are two regular USB ports, one faster USB3 port, HDMI and VGA video outputs, 3.5mm audio jacks for headphone out and microphone in and a multi-format card reader. Bluetooth is another welcome inclusion, as we’ve known Acer to leave this out of its budget machines in the past.

Hunter Jones

Hunter Jones

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