Battery Life

Getting detailed specifications for the Acer TimelineU M3 has been a little bit difficult; the notebook isn't on Acer's site yet (despite apparently having been released into the wild) and our reviewer's guide is a bit light on details. The box for it claims a meager 3-cell battery, but we're told it has a healthy 55Wh of capacity. That seems pretty dense, but as you'll see it's believable.

Unfortunately due to the crunch we don't yet have results for media playback, but those will be added as soon as humanly possible.

Battery Life - Idle

Battery Life - Internet

Relative Battery Life - Idle

Relative Battery Life - Internet

The TimelineU M3 absolutely rocks socks on the battery. NVIDIA's Optimus technology is in full effect here, and as a result the M3 is able to meet and beat the advertised eight hours of battery life that even the reviewer's guide for the M3 claims. This is one place where using the ULV i7-2637M does seem to pay major dividends compared to the full voltage chips.

Heat and Noise

Heat and noise are two more places where having that ULV chip seems to help the M3. While load noise isn't exactly ideal, it's only roughly 41dBA under load, and that's only when the GPU is being stressed. Meanwhile, no hot spots seem to develop on the top surface of the notebook. That said, top-center on the bottom of the M3 does get a bit warm; it's not uncomfortably hot and certainly won't scald you, but there's definitely a single sharp source of heat inside the M3.

Screen Quality

At the risk of digressing, when I used to write for NotebookReview I found myself trying to eschew talking about the speakers of the notebooks I reviewed whenever possible because the results were the same 99% of the time. That's remained true here; notebook speakers are typically only worth talking about when they're not terrible. The reason I bring this up is because I'm beginning to feel the same way when testing the notebook screens. It's obviously useful information, but this is a component that almost always underwhelms, and the same is true again with the Acer TimelineU M3.

While the 1366x768 resolution of today's mediocre TN panel is ideal for our bandwidth-constrained GPU, it doesn't require any feat of prestidigitation to say that the comments on this review will once again light up with well-founded complaints about a 15.6" screen running this resolution natively. Frankly it's just inadequate for a notebook this size, and we're going to keep harping about these subpar panels until manufacturers wise up and start getting it right.

LCD Analysis - Contrast

LCD Analysis - White

LCD Analysis - Black

LCD Analysis - Delta E

LCD Analysis - Color Gamut

You can see from our test results that it doesn't necessarily have to be this bad. While the M14x's screen is underwhelming in places, it also runs at a superior 1600x900 resolution. The Sony Vaio Z2 may be a premium notebook (or at least a premium-priced one), but you at least see where some of that purchase price is going: a fantastic, high-resolution screen.

Meanwhile, the Acer TimelineU M3 sports the industry-standard dismal TN panel with weak viewing angles, low contrast, and low color accuracy and quality. This needs to change, and there's really no reason to settle for a crappy display when you're putting in 256GB SSDs.

And let's be clear about the costs: when an end user can go out and purchase a replacement AU Optronics B156HW01 v4 display for under $100 (compared to around $60 for a typical 1366x768 panel), the cost savings can't be that much for the laptop makers. Granted, with ultrabooks the manufacturers are also looking to get the thinnest panels they can find (another misguided goal in my book: thinness while sacrificing keyboard and display quality just doesn't make sense), but there are still much better 15.6" displays out there that would only increase the BOM by $50 at most.

Gaming Performance Conclusion: A GeForce and an Acer Both So Close
POST A COMMENT

76 Comments

View All Comments

  • mschira - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    You call this compelling?
    Trackpad sucks. COME on. That is one of the most important usability items on a laptop.
    If the trackpad sucks the notebook sucks.
    Screen resolution? 768P on 15.6" are they joking?

    Also ditch the optical drive. I have a Lenovo 420s and replaced the optical drive with a second battery. I have the optical drive somewhere but I am not sure I would find it if I ever needed it.

    Great move with the GT 640 absolutely. Also great move with the mSSD and harddrive bay.
    But else?
    M.
    Reply
  • nateclind - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    How about showing a little class and respect. You can definitely disagree, but go about it in a more constructive way. Reply
  • snuuggles - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    The tone of the op was somewhat ascerbic. The tone of -your- post is just weird... How, exactly, are they not being "classy?!"

    Try to be specific (as the op was).
    Reply
  • weiran - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    His points are perfectly valid and constructive.

    In the recent Dell XPS13 review, it had almost the exact same faults as this laptop and yet this one is somehow "compelling"? The trackpad and screen are two of the most important parts of a laptop, yet the poor screen doesn't even get a mention in the conclusion. Is the rest of the laptop good enough to overlook those deficiencies?

    The author also seems to base his final judgement on a retail price of around $800, I'll tell you now there's no way it will be close to $800 a decent sized SSD and i7.
    Reply
  • mschira - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    Hm, I didn't even get far enough to appreciate the price. 800 would be a good offer, but a 256GB SSD, and i7 and a Kepler GPU for 800?
    Sure.
    And the next iPad will be sold for a benefit price in Africa.
    M.
    Reply
  • nissangtr786 - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    I reckon this has 20-50% less power then the full gt640m 2gb card as the 1gb gt640m is the LE version 15-20w card vs the 2gb gt640m 25-30w card.

    http://forum.notebookreview.com/gaming-software-gr...

    See that forum and see the list of graphics cards and you will se it is pretty impressive for a 15-20w card.
    Reply
  • Gideonic - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    Nice ME3 reference ;) Reply
  • kallogan - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    Kepler seems indeed to be a big step forward... Reply
  • flensr - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    My wife is complaining about her laptop again and this is exactly the form factor she likes (thin and light but with optical drive) but the screen is so awful that I'm going to have to give it a pass. Almost everything else about this is awesome (6GB ram max is pretty weak but the mSATA SSD + 2.5 HDD is a great choice) and having an ethernet port and optical drive is a requirement for me, but the screen simply must be better than this or it's a complete waste of money to purchase.

    I bought a lenovo T420s which is remarkably similar to this thing (thin light with optical, 14") but after receiving it and seeing how terrible that screen was, I'm going to hold out until either the laptop screens improve or tablets improve to the point where I can switch over completely to tablet use. That T420s is the last laptop with a crummy screen I'll ever buy.

    Laptop manufacturers are going to lose their customers in a BIG way in a year or two when tablet hardware is capable of running a "real" OS, unless they can figure out a way to put nice screens in their laptops. I would have happily paid an extra $400 for my T420s for an upgraded screen, and I won't buy a replacement with a TN screen at ANY price. If that means I wait until the ipad 8 or whatever microsoft comes out with in a couple of years when their tablets are not much different than tiny desktops/laptops, then that's better than using one of these horrible screens.
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    Doesnt the 560M have just half that many cores? And it is faster? What is going on here? Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now