I’ve always admired the idea of a netbook, but not enough to actually buy one – I suspected their lack of power in comparison to a standard notebook would be a major limitation.
But faced with an impending trip (to Korea and Japan), and having lugged my Thinkpad T60 on past trips I wanted something much lighter. However, I need enough oomph to do real work without it bogging down, as well as handling large photo editing, watching HD video. The netbooks I’d played with certainly didn’t meet these requirements.
Could the Acer Aspire Timeline 1810TZ be the answer? It gets a cracking write-up at TrustedReviews and looked as though it might be up to the task. It weighs 1.3kg and has a 11.6″ 1378 x 768 screen, a near full-size keyboard, 250GB HDD and 3GB RAM.
Most impressively, it boasts an 8 hour battery life, due to the inclusion of the CULV Intel SU4100 1.3Ghz dual-core processor.
First impressions are not great; coming from a Thinkpad background I find the keyboard rather unsatisfactory. Key travel is minimal, the arrow keys are way small, and I am having a major issue with the position of the right SHIFT key which is causing some cramp in my little finger. There’s a bit of squeak too.
But it is good enough to type at near full-speed, and with practice perhaps I won’t notice the layout so much.
I’m also not a big fan of the touchpad, I keep jogging the cursor when typing. In use it doesn’t feel hugely responsive.
Connectivity however is good; 3 USB ports, 1 HDMI, 1 VGA and an SD card reader is ample for my needs. The Ethernet port is 1 gigabit. Lack of Bluetooth is easily remedied with a £10 adapter. There is no CD/DVD drive as is standard with this form factor. But this is hardly an issue these days.
The screen is nice, pretty large and bright. It is quite reflective, as some reviews have noted. This doesn’t bother me because I like looking at my reflection.
The laptop should be ideal for watching DVDs on the plane, a decent viewing angle should be possible even on Ryanair, unlike the T60 which can barely open up to 90 degrees in the cheap seats.
8 hours battery is seriously good, and with a bit of care this can be turned into an all-day laptop. This is important because recharging is rather slow with the 30W adapter, taking 3-4 hours to fully charge.
Spec-wise this beats my 3 year old T60 in nearly every department (with the obvious exception of build quality) and only costs £429, so that’s definite progress. If the keyboard was better, I’d have reached laptop nirvana.