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
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  • trajan2448 - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    For me thats a hassle. Reply
  • trajan2448 - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    Im traveling internationally and its much easier to buy a disc. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    I would have thought that it was a hassle carrying around a few DVDs on your travels. Also, you can just rip it as an .iso or .img and VLC usually plays it just fine, no need to encode it. Little 64GB USB stick (they go cheap these days) and you have 8 or 10 movies with you at all times. But, your call of course. :D Reply
  • MichaelD - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    It's b/c PC manufacturer's (Apple not included here) continue to put out so-so products like this, that I've been sticking with Netbooks for the past three years. Six years ago I had an Acer laptop. It was top of the line for back then. It still works. It has a real touchpad and two separate mouse buttons. The screen is washed-out now, but back then it was vibrant and responsive. As someone above stated "The touchpad and screen on a laptop are EVERYTHING. If those two suck, then the laptop sucks." I couldn't agree more. I'll stick with my Netbook for now. Reply
  • chrnochime - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    When is the embargo going to be lifted? Just waiting to find out if it's worth waiting for the GK104 or go with 7870. Reply
  • bji - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    Full stop, straight to the comments to enjoy some commiseration about the state of laptop screens. I never read an Anandtech notebook review article past the word "768p". Ever. If you want my readership and page clicks Anandtech you'll have to start shipping those substandard notebooks back and asking for something more worthwhile to review. Maybe the manufacturers will finally get the hint. Reply
  • fic2 - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    Totally agree. I think any laptop "reviews" with a 768p screen should begin and end with the the sentence:

    Laptop XXX would have been reviewed but since it only has a 768p screen we did not feel it was worth our time to review and our readers time to read such a review.

    Recommendation: wait for higher resolution laptop screens.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    At that point we might as well just not review notebooks. The fact remains that 768p is the standard that has been forced upon consumers. All we can do is review what's available and continue haranguing manufacturers to fix the problem. Reply
  • Visual - Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - link

    No, you silly clueless writer.
    At that point, laptop manufacturers get a clue, and release a good product for a change.
    Review sites do have that kind of power, didn't you know?
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    And as a sidenote, how does boycotting us help change the industry? We've been actively campaigning for better screens in notebooks since we started reviewing notebooks, I'm not sure how not supporting us is going to help the situation. Reply

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