Acer Timeline U M5-481TG (2012): Full Review – Part 2

Friday, August 17th, 2012 11:31:35 by

The Acer Timeline U M5-481TG, while being thinner than previous Acer Timeline laptops, is not exactly thin or light compared with its ultrabook brethren: at 4.2 pounds and 0.8 inch thick, it’ll feel heavier and thicker than most competitors. However, compared with your regular everyday laptop, the Timeline U will feel, with apologies to Mr. Creosote, wafer-thin. Such is the strange middle ground of the “thinnerbooks”: the Sony Vaio S is close to the same size class, and so is the Toshiba Satellite U845. The Acer’s feature set more closely matches the Vaio S, however, than the oddly pared-down Satellite U845. It all comes down to expectations: most pared-down ultrabooks trade off features for size. In this size class, I’m fine with a bigger chassis if it affords all the extras this Timeline U manages to cram in. The Satellite U845 felt disappointing for the same reasons this Timeline U feels impressive.

Clad in a combination of matte black plastic and glossy brushed aluminum around the keyboard deck and lid, this Timeline U doesn’t fall too far from the tree of Acer’s previous Timeline laptops. These thin-and-lights with low-voltage processors predated the term “ultrabook” by a good several years, and laid the groundwork. It doesn’t come as a surprise that the look of the new Timeline U feels familiar rather than revolutionary. It’s clean, and it’s not ugly, but it suffers from a little of the generic feel that plagued the Toshiba Satellite U845.

The beauty of the Timeline U M5 will be in the eye of the beholder. If you’re a budget laptop shopper, this Acer will probably look surprisingly good to you. If you’re looking for a premium product or an ultrabook, it’ll look disappointing.

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