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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  • Bols - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    ...to light up the comment panel with frustration over the screen resolution. 768p on an otherwise premium notebook is ridiculous. With a 15" form factor it is a complete disgrace.
    Let's hope apple sets the standard with a 2880x1800 macbook soon...and the rest of the world will follow.
    Reply
  • Frallan - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link


    Aye for once Im happy that there is an "i-wave" rolling over the world. The new i-pad has waaaay better resolution than this notebook. Its time to shape up or ship out for the companies that keep cramming crap screens into otherwise decent hardware.

    Was a very interesting aticle though especially as it seems as if there are going to be new mobile chips coming from nVidia soon and AMD will have to follow.

    /F
    Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, May 16, 2013 - link

    "The new i-pad has waaaay better resolution than this notebook."
    OMG! Have you truly been taken in by the marketing? Yep. That high resolution ipad has increased DPI which means it might as well be 1280x720 when you actually want 'working' space.
    Reply
  • Confusador - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    Agreed wholeheartedly, though it's worth noting that this machine can't even keep up with its direct competitors. I don't know what it's going to take to get typical buyers to care about this, but maybe Apple ca do it. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    It's wholly acceptable on an 11-12" format, borderline unacceptable in a 13.3" chassis, and ridiculous to have 1366x768 on a 15.6" format. No other way to put it. Reply
  • kkwst2 - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    I would argue that the new iPad has proven that it is completely unacceptable even in a 10-12" format. If a $500 iPad can have a high quality, high resolution screen, there is no reason a $2000+ high end ultraportable notebook cannot. I'm talking to you, Lenovo. Reply
  • noeldillabough - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    I have to agree with you, while I LOVE my X220, the 768p screen is a sore spot. Its beautiful, IPS clear etc, but not enough pixels.

    Next machine will be a high res 12" laptop with an ivy bridge and HD4000 graphics (discrete graphics cards on laptops are on their way out)
    Reply
  • kkwst2 - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    Yes, it is actually what keeps me in the T series rather than the X series. While the X panels are much higher quality, I can't work effectively with the pixel count.

    Hoping for over 1000 vertical pixels in an X series notebook within a year.
    Reply
  • JojoKracko - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    I'd second this, but I'd be talking to Alienware, whatever fool is still putting glossy crap screens in the new Asus G75, and MSI as well.

    A $1500 or more gaming laptop SHOULD REALLY HAVE A GOOD SCREEN when the top quality parts only add $100 to the total price.

    Make it a frickin' option at least and see what kind of response you get. And I mean a REAL OPTION. Allow it to be added to the BASE MODEL, not ONLY TO THE $2500 version. Yeah, I'm talking to you fAlienware!!!

    fAlienware LOL. WHY have I not seen it written like this before?!?
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    Hell - my old 15" laptop from 2005 had a 1280 x 800 screen. I'd take the extra 34 pixels over this 768p crap. Reply

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