Acer Timeline U M5-481TG (2012): Full Review – Part 5

Friday, August 17th, 2012 11:31:14 by

Stereo speakers, seated below the front edge of the laptop, are shockingly loud. Cranked all the way up, they’ll turn heads at an office. On the other hand, they’re crass and lack quality sound definition. They will, however, blast audio quite nicely in a busy room.

A brief note on preinstalled bloatware: Acer’s one of the worst at this, and there were plenty of pop-up antiviral and trial software windows that annoyed me enough to write this paragraph. Acer’s hardly the only one to do this, but I just wanted you to know that this very affordable laptop does come with annoying trialware.

An included 1,280×720-pixel-resolution Webcam worked well enough, and picked up my face in a dimly lit office.

Tucked into the rear of the M5’s chassis are all the basic ports you’d need, including a pair of USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, and an Ethernet jack, plus Bluetooth. A DVD drive rounds out the perfect package, especially at this price. I just wish some of those ports had been added to the sides; plenty of unused space on the right could easily have been used for more than just an SD card slot and a headphone jack.

Finding configuration and upgrade options on Acer’s own Web site is nearly impossible (I couldn’t even easily locate the Timeline U by name). Suffice it to say that this fixed-configuration Timeline U M5-481TG comes with a good middle-of-the-line Core i5-3317U processor, a 500GB hybrid hard drive with a 20GB solid-state drive (SSD), 4GB of RAM, and Nvidia GeForce GT 640M LE graphics.

As mentioned above, Acer offers an $829 version of the M5 that’s a whole new chassis size — 15.6-inch screen, along with 6GB of RAM — but has otherwise identical specs. Compared with other ultrabooks on the market, the Timeline U M5-481TG for $779 is a downright steal. A similarly configured Dell Inspiron 14z with an extra 4GB of RAM and AMD graphics costs $899, and it’s the only ultrabook configuration we’ve seen that comes close while also including dedicated graphics and an optical drive.

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