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  • guilmon14 - Saturday, November 27, 2010 - link

    Gateway NV53A36u has a triple core phenom n830 2.1ghz radeon hd 5650
    and i looked up the prices and it sells for about 600
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, November 27, 2010 - link

    Hmmm... interesting, particularly on sale:

    $550 for tri-core and HD 5650, but who knows for how long?
  • danielt - Saturday, November 27, 2010 - link

    You've been critical of Acer's recent notebooks because you haven't tried any of the timelineX notebooks, what a shame...
    AS4820TG is a gem with incredible performance (better than Envy 14) and very long battery life, which is something hard to find given its price point.
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, November 27, 2010 - link

    No, we've been mostly critical of Acer's laptops for their sub-par build quality, mediocre displays, and horrible keyboards. Looking at the TimelineX, the only area where it's clearly better than other Acer laptops is that there are a few aluminum panels (or at least it looks like aluminum). The keyboard is the same lousy "floating island" design, and I've read enough reviews to know that the build quality is still questionable at best and the keyboard shows plenty of flex. $800 for the 4820TG is still reasonable, given the overall feature set, but unlike Optimus there's a bit issue with AMD switchable graphics: you can't update the AMD drivers unless you get a driver from Acer with both Intel and AMD graphics rolled into one. So in short...

    Intel Core i3/i5 CPU
    Light weight
    Switchable graphics gives...
    -Great battery life
    -Good graphics performance

    Build quality
    Switchable graphics driver updates

    I'd like to see a TimelineX update with Optimus GT 425M (or higher) and a backlit keyboard -- the latter mostly because it would make it impossible to use the floating island keys that feel loose and have terrible travel, and hopefully address the flex issue as well.
  • rocky12345 - Saturday, November 27, 2010 - link

    So what your saying is now days if a company does not use aluminum panels their build quality is sub standard. get real not everyone wants a piece of metal sitting on their desk that will get scratched or dented & look ugly after 6 months. Plastic has been the main building point of laptips for many years & I guess we can thank Apple for making people think we need to use aluminum panels for a laptop to be good.

    As for the keyboards yea Acer keyboards can be soft but that is common among most laptop these days. I fixed mine by lifting it out & putting a thin layer of one sided sticky tape to take up the space & now the keyboard is very solid. If all you have to worry about is the keyboard being a bit soft then count yourself lucky that these keyboards are not like a lot of other companies that actually have the keys falling off a lot fo the time.

    LCD screens again this is common of most LCD's these days they all pretty much suck on a laptop unless you spend bigger bucks for the unit to begin with. We can only blame our selves for companies like acer & others for putting out sub standard screens in laptops to keep costs down. Most people these days think of computers as an appliance & as such do not want to spend much on them I am talking about the every day joe or someones grandma & grandpa. They want something good but do not want to pay much for it so we get laptops with lower quality screens & smaller batteries.

    Speaking of battery life & switchable graphics who actually needs to have 10 hors of battery life these days. Not to many people do & with so many ways to charge up these units these days whether it be the wall plug or a portable car charger most can get by with a laptop that can get 3 or 4 hours only. it is Apple that would lead you to believe that we all need 10 to 15 hours of battery life between charges & it looks like you agree with that somewhat.

    I personally believe that in the near future that companies should release laptops with built in charging features that would allow them to take a charge while in direct sunlight or any kind of room light that would activate the charging system. Maybe I should patent the idea before someone like Apple does & hordes the idea for only themselves. lol

    My point is if you want a high quality laptop you have to pay the price these units are at a low price point & as such are built at a lower build quality. Maybe in the future if you want to see better screens & build quality review each companies high end product lines not these low priced units that the average joe six pack will pick up at Wal-Mart. Most of your readers here not your average computer user it is ok we can handle the sticker price shock most of us know you have to pay to get quality.
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, November 27, 2010 - link

    You don't have to have aluminum or whatever to have better build quality, but certainly it can help. I also don't expect budget laptops to have the build quality of, say, a ThinkPad. Slapping aluminum panels on top of plastic still won't give good build quality, though I do think the end result is a bit nicer looking than straight glossy plastic.

    My point is that you get what you pay for, and when someone says that "you've been critical of Acer's recent notebooks because you haven't tried any of the timelineX notebooks", I want to set the stage. I'd *still* be critical of the TimelineX in areas that warrant criticism. I don't think it's asking too much to get a better keyboard into Acer's laptop -- and I'm not talking about the flex issue; the keys are terrible! Use any chiclet and it should be better, and something like a ThinkPad or a Latitude is worlds better. The TimelineX is decent, but it has plenty of flaws and problems; that's all I said above.
  • danielt - Sunday, November 28, 2010 - link

    OK so you're talking about the apparent build quality and keyboard.
    I'm more interested in performance relative to price factor. In a core i5 setup of 4820TG, its graphics and gaming performances are better than the new Dell XPS and even Envy (with i5), while at the same time cheaper than them.
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, November 28, 2010 - link

    Exactly, which is what I was trying to get at in this review. The 5551G isn't the world's greatest laptop, but priced at $650 or less it's an amazing deal for the performance. I've known quite a few people with Acer, Dell, and HP (and other budget) laptops where they've started to fall apart after a couple years, but then I know others where the laptops lasted several years without problems. It all comes down to how you treat it.

    From the price/performance perspective, the TimelineX also has a really nice feature set. I'd love to see another $50 put towards addressing build quality and the keyboard, but $800 for the 4820TG is a very good price.
  • Samus - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    I can't believe it! Acer has a fanboi? Reply
  • DanNeely - Sunday, November 28, 2010 - link

    It doesn't need to be aluminum/magnesium, especially on a budget laptop; simple matte plastic that doesn't turn into a fingerprinty smeary greasy disgusting mess will due. Reply
  • TekDemon - Monday, December 06, 2010 - link

    Acer notebooks are very obviously built to a price-point...they're the only company I know that'll actually ship laptops with only one speaker to save that extra dollar. I know that doesn't apply to the Timeline but there's still plenty of penny-pinching in the build.
    And it does matter since in reliability studies they don't fare all that hot compared to companies that put more effort into good build quality.
  • MadMan007 - Saturday, November 27, 2010 - link

    I think it's interesting that much of the article, when talking about the laptop overall, goes on about pricepriceprice but then you want a better LCD too, and even quantify it to the opint that the pricepriceprice advantage would be washed out by a better LCD. Not that AT has as much pull as lame mainstream places like CNet, PCWorld etc but maybe if you started making it clear that better screens at a higher price is a good thing, rather than going back and forth between 'great price' and 'bad screen,' manufacturers might take note. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, November 27, 2010 - link

    I didn't think I really said much about the LCD in this review. I mention it as being average in the intro, and I have our standard LCD test page where I show how it's no better than other budget laptop LCDs, There's definitely a place for good LCDs, but honestly putting a high quality LCD into an AMD-based laptop like this is pretty pointless. If you're willing to pay $100 more for a quality LCD, you'd probably want better build quality, better battery life, and a faster CPU as well -- all of which you can find in something like the Dell XPS 15.

    When we're looking at what is essentially a pure budget build, I'm okay with the mediocre LCDs; I don't like them, but I don't expect them to increase the cost by 15 to 25% just for the display. Basically, budget notebooks costing under $650 with standard LCDs is acceptable.

    I think you're referring to the quote at the beginning, where I reference the Toshiba A660D conclusion. Keep in mind that the A665D/A660D originally cost over $800 (it's now $680 for the A665D-S6059 at Newegg), and at a price of $800 I expect a lot more. I suppose I could edit the quote, but I didn't want to do that. Hope that clarifies things a bit. :)
  • Stuka87 - Saturday, November 27, 2010 - link

    The Hardware Monitor graphic is missing from page 6.

    Instead I just see: [HWMonitor]
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, November 27, 2010 - link

    Fixed, thanks. I put that in as a placeholder (we add the text into the content engine and then add images) and missed replacing it. Oops. Reply
  • silverblue - Saturday, November 27, 2010 - link

    Acer's best AMD model seems to be the 5553 which, despite not really being a step up, does offer switchable graphics. That in itself may gift it better battery life with that anaemic 48Wh battery.

    In any case, the CPU in the 5551 is a few months old now; it would be good if you could find a laptop with a Phenom II P650 (runs at 2.8GHz and sports a 25W TDP), though it's a new model so I doubt it's readily available.
  • KingstonU - Saturday, November 27, 2010 - link

    Great job on the review, you guys cover and discuss all the aspects that I want to know about when shopping for this kind of laptop. I recently bought the TimeLineX which is almost this exact laptop but with Core 2010 CPU and a much bigger battery for $850 CA. Cures almost all of the problems with the model in the review. Very happy with my purchase and look forward to more laptops like this in the future. Reply
  • aylafan - Sunday, November 28, 2010 - link

    While I do agree about the love/hate relationship with the keyboard and poor LCD screen. Overall, I still think the Acer's Aspire 5551G is better buy than the 5740G I owned before. Maybe, not in the processor department, but pretty much in everything else.

    I've played around with a similar Acer laptop model at Wal-mart and the build quality feels much better than the plastic gemstone design of the 5740G. The 5740G has poor battery life, it had an annoying beep each time I unplugged the power adapter, it weighed more than other laptops in its class, the Western Digital hard drive kept freezing so I had to install quietHDD, the touchpad buttons were stiff to push down, etc. There were just too many annoying things with the 5740G. All these flaws pretty much killed my expectations of the laptop.

    Now, the TimelineX 4820TG is on a whole different level. I've had no problems with it and the build quality feels more sturdier than the 5740G that I owned before. It's given me around 6 hours of battery life. it's extremely thin, weighs only 4.65 lbs, has a Core i processor, it looks professional, it has switchable graphics, etc. and best thing is that it's only around $800. Here is my review.

    While, you may argue that the TimelineX is just a better version of the Acer laptop you just reviewed. Every little improvement changes the whole experience.
  • Akaz1976 - Sunday, November 28, 2010 - link

    Would love to see a Acer 3820TG-7360 (i3/HD5650/4GB/$700) review . Recently i have had good experience with acer sub-notebooks.

    Acer seems to be the only one targeting decent variety in optical drive-less (sub 4lbs) notebooks. I have an 1820tz which is awesome for what it does (essentially a netbook size/batterylife but basic laptop type power). Its great for wife/kids even work related travel. And for the price it only needs to last half as long as a 'business' laptop (to cost same amount annually).

    The 3820 ( provides excellent portability and performance. Apparently (i have not received mine yet) it delivers 8hrs of battery life and <4lbs for travel (i can carry it at a conference for full day without having to have a powerbar or wreck my shoulder) yet i can play BFBC2 at medium in my hotel room in the evening.


    PS. I think laptop makers need to really evaluate the role of optical drive in modern always connected/Saas/USB key world. Even as a gamer i rarely need optical drive (bless steam). For work i have never need optical drive as everything is installed at the start (even then many software are downloaded rather CD installed). All it does is add cost and weight.
  • Dug - Sunday, November 28, 2010 - link

    I just bought a timelineX 4820TG for under $790 and my only complaint would be the speakers. But at 4.5lbs and getting over 6hrs batter life, I can forgive this. The keyboard is not bad at all.
    I'm not sure why anyone would by this over the 4820TG. Plus I can overclock the video card without any problem and without any obnoxious noisy fans.

  • freespace303 - Sunday, November 28, 2010 - link

    Please review the HP Envy 14, and 17 3D!!!! Reply
  • blackrook - Sunday, November 28, 2010 - link

    I don't think that's going to happen. Reply
  • freespace303 - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    Why not? I"m about to just buy it myself and send it to Anand to review. Seriously! How can I get a hold of him or any of the Anandtech staff to do something like that? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    I believe Vivek has an Envy 14 from someone on loan (i.e. not from HP), and Dustin has an Envy 17... but not the 3D. Se la vi! Reply
  • iamkyle - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    C'est la vie Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    [Jarred hides his head in shame... teach me to try and write French....] Reply
  • freespace303 - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    Is it true? Reviewing the 17? Interested in reviewing the 3D version? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    Dustin has the Envy 17 in his grubby little hands. Unfortunately, to quote him, "It looks like this one has been through quite a few reviewers already. It came in an Amazon box!" So, I don't know if it will be an up-to-date model or something made six months ago. As for Vivek, he has someone's Envy 14 with the Radiance display, which obviously isn't available from HP anymore. I suppose a few people are selling such laptops (used) on eBay, but I really hope HP finds a way to get more of the 900p Radiance panel in stock. Reply
  • blackrook - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - link

    HP reps are saying that they'll be back in stock sometime in December. Now to decide whether it's worth trusting them. Reply
  • StrangerGuy - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    Why not bash Asus even more? Same mediocre LCDs, a lot more junk models (thousands of crappy 310m laptops, ULV CPU on the 14" in 2010), and they are way behind Acer in overall value for dollar if you ask me. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    But ASUS' keyboards and build quality are at least better than Acer (the keyboards are FAR better IMO!), and if you get the Optimus models you have better battery life. I don't *hate* Acer, but you cannot convince me that the keyboards are good. I've used dozens of laptops and I type large portions of each article on the laptop in question. Every time, the Acer/Gateway keyboard leaves me very unhappy. Reply
  • flexy - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    There is no such thing as a "gaming laptop" with a display < 17", IMO.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    Sure there is. ASUS G53Jw, MSI GX660, Alienware M15x, HP Envy 15.... Are you saying you prefer 17" and larger for gaming laptops, or am I missing something? Reply
  • PSbench - Wednesday, December 01, 2010 - link

    I don't know why people put up with such low resolution on a 15 inch screen (1366x768) Reply
  • Hrel - Thursday, December 02, 2010 - link

    The price seems fair for what you get, saw it for $550 at Costco. I'd easily be willing to pay an extra 150 if they included a 1080p screen and that 84Whr battery. Switcheable graphics would be nice to have too; granted with that battery I wouldn't need it. Reply

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