10 expert reviews - 0 user reviews
We have collected 10 reviews of the Acer Aspire Timeline U M3-581TG. Experts rate Acer Aspire Timeline U M3-581TG 7.7/10. Reviewsor.com helps you find reviews, best prices, user reviews of the Acer Aspire Timeline U M3-581TG and Acer Ultrabook.
Yet another ultrabook that doesn't compromise on the features of a laptop, and we aren't the ones who would crib or criticize! We appreciate all the slim goodness heading our way! In a nutshell, the Aspire M3 is an ultrabook with a 15.6-inch display. The polycarbonate used is not of the highest quality visually, but it does a good enough job of offering a solid build quality. However, it doesn't take away the fact that the M3 will look and feel inferior to the Samsung Series 5 (read our review), that falls into the same price category. The black colour is matte throughout, with a brushed pattern on the lid. Open the Aspire Timeline Ultra M3's lid, and the area around the keypad also has the same finish. The bezel also has a matte black finish, something that helps keep away reflections while watching videos. Power key placement is on the front side, in a weird place – hidden away on the chin. It's not a bad design idea, considering that it keeps the area around the keyboard clean and uncluttered. HP also tried something like this a while ago, with the power key on the side. We wonder why such a design element hasn't caught on with other manufacturers yet.
a tagline that will easily sell a boatload of Acer Timeline M3 notebooks, it doesn't take much more than: “an ultrabook that will play Battlefield 3 on Ultra setting.” And it's true, too. The Timeline M3 will indeed play BF3 on Ultra, provided you're comfortable with 30 frames per second. That dips a bit below our thresholds for a shooter. We preferred playing Battlefield 3 on High, which gave us 50–60fps in online play. Granted, we were only playing at the 1366x768 native resolution of the machine's 15.6-inch panel, but that's pretty good for a so-called ultrabook. We say so-called ultrabook because even though it's within the very loose parameters set by Intel, a lot of people who encounter the Timeline M3 aren't going to think this widescreen notebook is an ultrabook. Most people equate ultrabooks with PC clones of a MacBook Air. But the definition is broader. Ultrabooks must be within a certain height, run a certain proc, reach a certain battery life rating, and come out of hibernation in a certain amount of time. The Timeline is wide—just shy of 15 inches across—so wide that it has enough space for an optical drive. There's even room in the Timeline to sport a 7mm, 2.5?inch drive bay.
Nvidia has been calling the Acer Timeline U M3 the first true Ultrabook. And the big, green graphics giant has good reason to be backing this svelte-looking machine - at its heart beats the very latest in mobile graphics power, the GeForce GT 640M. This is the big selling point for this otherwise rather middle-of-the-road machine, and without it there is no way we would be anywhere near as enamoured with it. As a 15-inch notebook it's rather stretching the idea of the super-slim Ultrabook, and the screen sure is nothing to write home about. But, as it stands, we are rather taken by this laptop because of what the M3-581TG actually represents. This slimline machine is a comparative gaming monster: when you put this ultra-portable notebook up against heavyweight gaming slabs from the likes of MSI and Asus, you realise it's just as capable of throwing up frame rates that are completely playable. And never before seen in a machine this thin. Now this is no cumbersome gaming behemoth but a portable plaything in a very manageable form. We're not talking about quad-core processors or SLI graphics here, but rather a laptop that feels at home on your lap and one that can move more than a couple of feet from a power outlet.
Acer apparently decided not to wait for Intel's Ivy Bridge processors to come out before launching its second wave of ultrabooks. The Aspire Timeline Ultra M3 is the first of its kind to be offered in 15.6-inch format. If "15.6-inch ultrabook" sounds like an oxymoron to you, know that this laptop has everything you'd expect from an ultrabook: it's thin and has a great battery life and tons of power. It even combines a 20 GB SSD for performance with a 500 GB hard drive for storage. The chassis isn't entirely made of aluminium; only the matte black lid got the royal treatment. For the rest, it's plastic, plastic, plastic. Acer obviously intends to beat the competition's prices with this one. The design is sober, in a broad-appeal kind of way, but lacks the sense of prestige found with the Asus UX31E. We were impressed with the keyboard—the keys aren't raised very high, yet they're precise and quiet. And the addition of the numeric keypad doesn't clutter the space. One thing we did find bothersome, though, was the ridiculously small arrow keys... The area below the keys has been put to good use with a spacious, multitouch 10.6 x 8 cm touchpad for two-finger zooming and scrolling. You can tap/click anywhere on the touchpad, and when you slide your finger the onscreen response is nice and smooth. It's also highly precise.
We like Logitech's speakers, and we like AirPlay, Apple's technology for streaming video and uncompressed audio over Wi-Fi. In theory, then, we should like Logitech's first AirPlay speaker, the Logitech UE Air Speaker. And we do - but not without reservations.Let's talk AirPlay first. So long as you have a Wi-Fi network and at least one PC or Mac running iTunes 10.1 or later, or a recent iOS device, you can stream your music to the Logitech UE Air Speaker. With an iOS device, you can stream to one AirPlay target at a time - this speaker, say, or an Apple TV. But fire up iTunes and you can stream to more than one at once, setting the volume independently for each from your PC or Mac, or adjusting the volume on the speaker and having that update on your computer's screen. Rather more impressively, you can pull an iPhone or iPod touch out of your pocket, or pick up your iPad, and use Apple's free Remote app to control the library on your PC or Mac.And because it's then your computer that's doing the heavy lifting, you can pick as many of your AirPlay speakers as your network can cope with, and wander round the house gleefully changing tracks and tweaking the volume for all your speakers from the device in your hand.
The Acer Timeline M3 is a study in polar opposites. Its thin, elegant chassis and superb performance for its class suggest that the M3 might be a true category leader, but an painfully poor LCD panel prevents the Acer from achieving that goal. At 4.5 pounds, the Timeline M3 is very light for a 15-inch laptop, and even with the 65W power brick factored in, it weighs only a scant 5.25 pounds. Acer dubs this machine an Ultrabook, which just goes to show how vague that moniker is. Still the M3 is sleek and quite light for so large a laptop. It's no slouch in the performance department, either. The combination of a Core i7-2637M low-voltage processor, Nvidia GeForce GT 640M graphics, and a 256GB solid-state drive yields an impressive WorldBench 7 score of 155--one of the highest performance scores we've seen for a machine in the ultraportable laptop category. The M3 also lasted for more than 8 hours in PCWorld's battery life test. So what's not to like? The LCD--the most visible component in the system--is a 15.6-inch panel that delivers a puny resolution of 1366 by 768 pixels. That might work for a 13.3-inch Ultrabook; but at the M3's larger screen size, you'll notice the "screen door" effect of individual pixels while watching video content.
What is an ultrabook? Intel has a pretty loose definition: as long as your laptop is less than 0.8 inches thin, has five hours of battery life, rapidly wakes from sleep, and has a second-generation Intel Core processor, you're basically part of the club. What "ultrabook" stands for, though, is an entirely different matter. The first wave of ultrabooks were designed specifically to compete with Apple's MacBook Air, and it showed: a teardrop-shaped wedge design, a metal frame, a 13-inch screen, a Core i5-2437M processor, 4GB of memory, and integrated Intel graphics featured in almost every machine. Why do I bring this up? Acer broke the mold. The Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3 technically fulfills all of Intel's criteria, but it's nothing like the ultrabooks that came before: it's a 15-inch laptop with a plastic chassis, a low-res screen, a 10-key numpad, and a DVD drive. It's a sleeper, too. Underneath that unassuming polycarbonate exterior lies an Nvidia GeForce GT 640M dedicated graphics chip that can actually play graphically intensive games, unlike any other ultrabook on the market. There are plenty of tradeoffs, though. Are they worth it? Read on. Hardware The Aspire Ultra M3 may be primarily made of plastic, but it's actually a fairly handsome design.
Look out, Razer! Acer is literally and figuratively stretching the definition of Ultrabook with the Aspire Timeline Ultra M3. This 15-inch laptop is the largest and heaviest Ultrabook to date, but at 4.5 pounds, it's still one of the lightest machines with this size screen. More important, it's the first Ultrabook to feature discrete graphics, in this case Nvidia's new GeForce GT640M GPU. Combined with a 256GB SSD, we can easily see mobile gamers gravitating to this system. But just how much oomph do you get for your money?Editor's Note: Currently on sale in Singapore, Acer says this notebook will hit U.S. shores in the second quarter of 2012.When its price becomes available, we will update this review, and reserve the right to change the rating.Click to EnlargeSimilar to its other Timeline notebooks, the Timeline Ultra M3 has a pretty toned-down look. The lid is made of metal and painted black, so fingerprints don't show up too readily. Inside, the deck is the same color as the lid, but is plastic, as is the spacious trackpad. The area behind the keyboard, though, is a lighter shade of gray. Oddly, the power button is on the front edge, so if this laptop is actually in your lap, you risk accidentally shutting off the system.
One simple problem has been troubling us since the arrival of the ultrabook category of thin, Intel-based premium laptops last year: Ultrabooks don't really deliver premium performance. Acer hopes to change that with the new Aspire Timeline Ultra M3; the first 15-inch ultrabook with high-performance NVIDIA GeForce 640M graphics inside. Can a thin-and-light ultrabook really give you "ultra" performance? Keep reading to find out.Build and DesignAt first glance the Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3 looks like a basic widescreen laptop with a thin profile, but take a closer look and you'll see the all-metal exterior conceals a very well-equipped ultrabook with many ports and a nice keyboard. While the 15-inch footprint and 20mm thickness of the chassis makes this the largest "ultrabook" we've reviewed to date, that size provides just enough room for a tray-loading optical drive and some powerful internal components. It's fair to point out that the original concept for "ultrabooks" was premium thin laptops based on the 11-inch and 13-inch Apple MacBook Air, but it's also fair to point out that many people like larger screens and full-sized keyboards ... and 15-inch laptops remain the most popular notebook size in terms of sales here in the United States.
Most decent laptops can be put into one of two categories -- portable or powerful. If you want a powerhouse of a laptop, it's likely to be big and heavy, but if you're looking for something to carry around, then you'll be making cutbacks in processing power.While the raft of ultrabooks recently hitting the market generally provide a strong enough serving of juice for most tasks, none of them are racy enough to please the gaming crowd.The Acer Aspire M3, however, packs Nvidia's latest GeForce 640M processor to chomp through the latest games, while remaining slim and portable. Will it offer enough to satisfy the dedicated gamer?There's no word on UK pricing or availability yet, but it's already on sale in China, so it shouldn't be too long before it makes its way here. The price has not been announced yet, but I've been told it will be around £600, which would be extremely affordable for a viable gaming machine. As soon as this is confirmed, I'll update this review.The world is evidently far too colourful and bright, so in an effort to tone things down, Acer has decked the M3 in an entirely black suit. Unlike my cheap polyester outfit, it's made of a combination of metal and plastic, which results in a much firmer construction.