WHEN LOOKING FOR a tagline that will easily sell a boatload of Acer Timeline M3 notebooks, it doesn’t take much more than: “an ultrabook that will play Battlefield 3 on Ultra setting.” And it’s true, too.
The Timeline M3 will indeed play BF3 on Ultra, provided you’re comfortable with 30 frames per second. That dips a bit below our thresholds for a shooter. We preferred playing Battlefield 3 on High, which gave us 50–60fps in online play. Granted, we were only playing at the 1366x768 native resolution of the machine’s 15.6-inch panel, but that’s pretty good for a so-called ultrabook.
We say so-called ultrabook because even though it’s within the very loose parameters set by Intel, a lot of people who encounter the Timeline M3 aren’t going to think this widescreen notebook is an ultrabook. Most people equate ultrabooks with PC clones of a MacBook Air. But the definition is broader. Ultrabooks must be within a certain height, run a certain proc, reach a certain battery life rating, and come out of hibernation in a certain amount of time. The Timeline is wide—just shy of 15 inches across—so wide that it has enough space for an optical drive. There’s even room in the Timeline to sport a 7mm, 2.5‑inch drive bay. Acer doesn’t use the bay, though, instead opting for a teeny-but-fast SATA 6Gb/s Lite-On SSD in mSATA trim. Storage hogs hoping to use both bays will be heartbroken—installing a drive in the 2.5-inch bay turned off the mSATA drive.
The tablet market has taken its sweet time coming down to pedestrian price levels -- and we're talking about tablets you'd actually want to own, not a craptastic knockoff that's bug-ridden and slow as molasses -- but we're finally starting to see affordable slates become the norm rather than the exception. It started with Amazon's Kindle Fire, which some consider a glorified eBook reader, and later this year, Acer will get in on the low-price action with its A110 Iconia Tab.
Acer is pitching its America-bound Aspire V5 Series of ultrathin notebooks at "students and consumers looking for impressive performance, style, and full-featured mobility." That sounds a lot like an Ultrabook, only the Aspire V5 isn't, though it is a slender machine at a mere 0.79 inches and 4.6 pounds for the 14-inch model, and 0.83 inches and 5 pounds for the 15.6-inch build.
Opinions on Windows 8 as a desktop operating system are definitely a mixed bag. While most people would describe the fusion of Metro and the Desktop as awkward at best, even the biggest of critics have to admit the potential for Metro on tablets is huge. We’ve had three release previews at this point to give us an idea of what the operating system will look like, but hardware could make or break Microsoft’s tablet aspirations. PC OEM’s have tripped over themselves trying to duplicate the industrial designs consumers crave, and if Windows 8 ships on 4 inch thick square tablets, they might as well not even bother. Our first glimpse of new Windows 8 tablet hardware will be on display next week at Computex Taipei, with Acer, Toshiba, & Asus showing off new designs.
Acer this week rolled out its TravelMate P243 laptop, a notebook designed to meet the needs of SMB and SOHO with a "pleasant yet practical design." On the practicality side, the TravelMate P243 wields third generation Intel Core processor options with Turbo Boost and, according to model, discrete level Nvidia GeForce GT 630M graphics to tear through those multimedia chores (or some gaming in between hammering out TPS reports).
Typically when a company advertises a product for enterprise or commercial customers, what they're really saying is, 'Hey, we jacked up the price, thanks for your business.' That doesn't appear to be the case with Acer's new B243PWL monitor, a 24-inch "commercial display." It's a $329 (MSRP) monitor, but it boasts an IPS panel with a Full HD (1920x1200) 16:10 screen resolution and a 100,000,000:1 contrast ratio (dynamic).
Apple spawned the media tablet market with the launch of the original iPad a couple of years back. Two iPad updates and countless Android tablets later, its viselike grip over the tablet market remains intact. To add insult to injury for its rivals, market research firm IDC recently predicted that it could take until 2015 for Android tablets to overtake the iPad in terms of market share. Well, not so fast. For all we know, Windows 8 and not Android could eventually end up upsetting Apple’s apple cart. Hit the jump for more.
Acer today did something it's never done before. The company launched its first quad-core tablet in North America, the Acer Iconia Tab A510 with an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor. It's also one of just a handful of Android devices running the latest build of Google's open source operating system, version 4.0, or more deliciously known as Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS).
Gone are the days when ghastly looking CRT monitors cluttered your desk with a chunky footprint and all the grace of a sloth. Some of today's displays actually quality for design awards, like Acer's S235HL monitor, winner of a 2012 iF product design award and one of five new ultra-slim, LED-backlit S Series LCD panels unveiled to the U.S. market place today.
Ultrabooks haven’t really been flying off store shelves as Intel and its PC vendor friends had hoped. The underwhelming performance of first-generation ultrabooks notwithstanding, they are unlikely to abandon the whole idea anytime soon. An obvious way of making these ultra-thin and -light laptops more inviting to buyers is to lower their prices. While vendors are currently having a hard time keeping ultrabook prices under $1,000, Acer Global President Jianren Weng has already started talking about sub-$500 ultrabooks.