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COMPUTER SYSTEMS

Acer Aspire Ethos and TimelineX Laptop Review
By: wubayou
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    2011-08-02

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    This laptop review covers Acer Aspire's Ethos AS8951G and TimelineX AS380TG-6431 series computers.

    The Acer Aspire Ethos AS8951G is a laptop that falls into the desktop replacement category.  Huge dimensions, snappy performance, and a boatload of features make the Ethos AS8951G a must-see for entertainment junkies.  The Aspire Ethos AS8951G comes with a one-year warranty and is available for around $1,400.

    The Aspire Ethos AS8951G comes equipped with a 2.0GHz Intel Core i7-2630WM processor.  This high end processor is part of Intelís second generation of Core i7 chips, and it gives the laptop superb performance across the line.  You can do all of your routine tasks with ease.  When you combine the powerful i7 processor with the Nvidia GeForce GT 555M graphics card, you have yourself a laptop that also serves as a device for modern gaming, even though itís not really marketed specifically as such.  Slap on 8GB of DDR3 SDRAM, and you can perform multiple tasks at the same time without having to worry about lethargic performance.  Simply put, the Ethos dishes out performance that should satisfy even the most demanding users.

    When you consider its mammoth size and power, you would think that the Ethos AS8951G suffers when it comes to battery life.  Surprisingly, the laptop tests quite well in that department.  This is for two reasons.  First, the graphics card comes with Optimus technology that allows it to toggle with integrated graphics when applicable.  Second, the laptop is large enough to accommodate an eight-cell battery.  The end result is that you get over five hours of usage on a single charge, which is absurd (in a good way) for a laptop of this size.

    Since Acer markets the Aspire Ethos AS8951G as an entertainment laptop, itís no surprise to find a built-in Blu-ray player, which is a nice touch.  An integrated webcam and microphone are onboard for when you want to video chat with friends.  802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth provide wireless connectivity to the internet and other devices.  A sizable 750GB hard drive allows you ample space to store all of your files and programs.  Thereís a media card reader for transferring data with devices such as cameras too.  As for the operating system, you get Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 64-bit pre-installed.

    The most obvious thing that stands out when looking at the Aspire Ethos AS8951G is its size.  This is not the laptop for a frequent traveler by any means, as it measures in at 17.3 inches wide by 11.6 inches deep by 1.6 inches thick.  It also weighs 8.6 pounds, so you will get a mini workout from moving the laptop around.  The appearance is free of aesthetic flair, with a black brushed metal look that coats most of the exterior. 

    The 18.4-inch LED-backlit display has a full HD resolution of 1,920 x 1,080, making the Ethos AS8951G perfect for watching movies.  The display has an edge-to-edge glass format and is resistant to scratches.  When you combine the large full HD display with the laptopís impressive audio system, the Ethos AS8951G becomes very appealing for movie-lovers.  In all, there are five integrated speakers and a subwoofer that provide plenty of volume.

    Acer took advantage of the Aspire Ethos AS8951Gís ample real estate by pairing it with a spacious keyboard that includes a numeric keypad.  The keys are responsive and very comfortable to type with.  Perhaps the highlight of the laptopís design is its large touchpad, which can actually be ejected to double as a remote control while you enjoy movies and other media.  The touchpad even has integrated touch-sensitive controls for volume and more.  As for the responsiveness of the touchpad, it is a bit sticky and takes some getting used to.  A nice added perk sits to the right of the touchpad.  Itís a fingerprint reader that can be used to create an added level of security to the laptop.  Connectivity is the final subject worth discussing, and Acer did a great job in this department.  In all, you get four USB ports, one USB/eSATA port, VGA, HDMI, a mini-DisplayPort, Ethernet, FireWire, and microphone/headphone jacks.

    If you are looking to toss out your desktop in favor of a large laptop, the Acer Aspire Ethos AS8951G deserves a strong look.  It has all the entertainment features you would want, plus solid performance, connectivity, and some extra luxuries.

    Acer Aspire TimelineX AS3830TG-6431

    Performance is the name of the game with the Acer Aspire TimelineX AS3830TG-6431.  This thin-and-light 13.3-inch laptop packs excellent performance and a well-rounded feature set into a compact package.  The Aspire TimelineX AS3830TG-6431 is available for $749.99 and it comes with a one-year warranty on parts and labor.


    The Aspire TimelineX AS3830TG-6431 is powered by a 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M processor.  The second generation Intel processor combines with the laptops 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM to offer excellent performance.  You can run multiple applications at the same time without problems, and it does not matter if you are surfing the net, watching a movie, or playing a game, as the laptop can handle it all.  An Nvidia GeForce GT 540M graphics card provides solid graphics support.  Battery life is superb, with the six-cell battery offering approximately nine hours of usage on a single charge.

    Unfortunately, one feature thatís missing from the TimelineX AS3830TG-6431 is an optical drive.  Although it is considered to be a thin-and-light laptop, others in its class have managed to include an optical drive, so the absence is disappointing.  Moving on, you get plenty of storage via a 500GB hard drive.  802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are onboard for wireless convenience.  You can video chat with friends thanks to a 1.3-megapixel HD webcam and microphone.  The webcam is quite good in terms of picture clarity.  Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 64-bit is the operating system that comes pre-installed.

    As far as thin-and-light laptops are concerned, the Aspire TimelineX AS3830TG-6431 may not be the sleekest in its class.  Still, it is highly portable, measuring 12.6 inches wide by 9 inches deep by 1.1 inches thick and weighing 4.1 pounds.  A metallic blue finish coats most of the laptop, with the exception of the black keyboard and its silver surroundings. 

    The 13.3-inch display with 1,366 x 768 resolution produces decent graphics overall.  Movies and games look fine, and the only gripe could be the glossy finish.  The laptop does have a solid audio setup via Dolby Home Theater speakers.  The keyboard is rather average.  Its keys are wide and spacious, but they give off an odd feeling when typing.  The touchpad is responsive, but is probably smaller than it should be.  Connectivity options include one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, VGA, HDMI, microphone/headphone jacks, and an Ethernet port.

    In the end, while the Acer Aspire TimelineX AS3830TG-6431 does lack an optical drive and the perfect keyboard/touchpad combo, its positive aspects overshadow its negative ones.  If you are in the market for an affordable thin-and-light laptop with great performance and battery life, put the Aspire TimelineX AS3830TG-6431 on your list.


    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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