Timeline series notebooks lead Acer's product avalanche

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A new release from Acer's Timeline series

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April 9, 2009 Looks like Acer’s product developers have been slamming down the Red Bulls with a raft of new products being announced including the Timeline energy-efficient series of notebooks, the first small-form-factor PC based around NVIDIA’s Ion platform, a new netbook, and a notebook or three. Let’s get to it.

Timeline Series

In a bid to give their new Timeline series notebooks longer battery life without packing the units with bulkier batteries, Acer has crammed the units with as many energy-saving features as they can muster. Acer say the result is a notebook whose system efficiency is greatly increased with reduced power consumption boosting battery life by up to 40% for a running time of more than eight hours. Energy saving features in the Timeline series includes Ultra Low Voltage Intel Core 2 Duo processors and Intel Display Power Savings Technology (Intel DPST) that is designed to reduce display backlight with minimum visual impact, saving up to 33% energy compared to typical notebooks.

Add to that the Acer Smart Power key - which alters the system settings to maximize power savings - and the end result is a series of notebooks that meets the Energy Star 5.0 prerequisites and then some. When running the Timeline series on mains power the Acer Power Smart adapter consumes 66% less electricity than required by Energy Star. Acer says this translates to a saving of 1,752 watt per year, the equivalent of a 15-watt bulb to be lit for 116 days. Also, the Power Smart adapter enters adaptive charging mode automatically when the battery is fully charged and stops consuming energy.

Other specs include HDMI and S/PDIF out, DDR3 RAM, multitouch touchpad, integrated camera, built-in Wi-Fi and WIMAX, and drives up to 500GB for traditional HDD’s and 64GB SSD – the inclusion of which extends the battery life an extra two hours. The aluminum covered Acer Timeline notebooks include 13.3, 14.1 and 15.6-inch models with LED-backlit 16:9 1366 x 768 displays in a one-inch thick case. They range in weight from 1.6 kg (3.5 lb) for the 13.3” model up to 2.4 kg (5.3 lb) for the 15.6” unit.


Acer has also announced the AspireRevo – the first small-form-factor PC (which the marketing geniuses at Intel have dubbed nettops) based around NVIDIA’s Ion platform, which combines an Intel Atom 230 processor and NVIDIA Ion GPU, which packs a GeForce 9400M engine. The diminutive size of the AspireRevo belies its real power, as replacing the 945G-series chipset and GMA 950 graphics with Nvidia’s Ion GPU gives the hardcover book-sized unit the power to play 1080p HD video with 7.1 audio and run DirectX 10.0 games and Vista Home Premium with full high-gloss Aero effects.

Thanks to a special mounting system the AspireRevo can also be converted into an all-in-one unit through attachment to any LCD or TV with a VESA attachment. The VESA mount offers vertical adjustment ensuring that the power-on button, optional webcam and memory card reader are always perfectly accessible from the top of any LCD display used. Further highlighting Acer’s aim to get the AspireRevo into living rooms is the availability of a bundle includes a game controller with 3D motion sensors and trigger that can also be used like an air mouse or remote control for the media center. The AspireRevo comes with a choice of a SATA Hard Drive or Solid State Drive, up to 4GB of DDR2 RAM, a Mini PCI Express slot 802.11b/g (and /Draft-N on selected models) wireless, Gigabyte Ethernet network connection and HDMI connection.

Acer Aspire Z5600

For those that prefer their all-in-one to come pre-packaged the Aspire Z5600 PC could be just the thing. Built with Windows 7 very much in mind the Z5600 features a 24-inch display with full touch screen capabilities while all the nuts and bolts of the PC have been placed on the rear of the 1080p 24-inch display. This includes MXM graphic processors, Intel CPU, a built-in TV tuner to watch or record programs that can then be burned to disc using the DVD/Blu-Ray player/writer combo drive or stored on the up to 2TB of HDD storage space as well as an integrated webcam to let friends and family check up on the state of your living room via video call.

And the rest…Acer Aspire One

Acer have also released details of their slightly upsized Aspire One netbook, which shares similar specs to its little brother, but ups the display from 10 to 11.6-inches and adds multitouch trackpad, Dolby Pro Logic sound and soft-touch keyboard. Weighing in at just over one kilogram Acer claims the unit can run for up to eight hours on a single charge.

Acer Aspire 8935 and 5935 notebooks

The Aspire 8935 and 5935 notebooks each feature Full HD 1920x1080 resolution LED rear-lit CineCrystal display panels with 16:9 aspect ratio in 15.6 inch and 18.4 inch formats, backlit keyboard and 5.1 Channel surround sound with Tuba CineBass amplifier for low frequency bass. The new notebooks offer up to 4 GB of DDR3 memory and the Aspire 8935 can accommodate two HDD’s for a maximum capacity of up to 1TB of capacity, while the Aspire 5935 be equipped with a HDD of up to 500 GB. Both models include a built-in 6-in-1 card reader, 802.11b/g/Draft-N Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0+, Gigabit LAN and modem. While not coming as standard, the new Aspire laptops can also be equipped with WIMAX connection. The Acer Crystal Eye webcam, Acer Video Conference Manager Software and the optional Acer Xpress VoIP phone gives you everything you need for video calls, (except the internet connection and someone to call obviously), while both models can also be equipped with Acer Bio-Protection, an adaptable fingerprint software package that not only offers a biometric protection for your computer but ensures a convenient and personalized way to launch applications, favourite links and play-lists.

Acer Aspire 3935

While they might not have a notebook for every man, woman and child, (nearly, but not quite), Acer is definitely looking to cover all the market segment bases. With its press release sprinkled with words like, ‘style, glamour and efficiency’, it’s obvious the Aspire 3935 is aimed squarely at the techno-fashion conscious. Its less than one inch thick golden brown chassis houses a 13.3" 16:9 HD 1366x768 resolution display and the Acer FineTip keyboard features larger key caps and key gaps to help out big knuckled clusmy typists. Touch sensitive hotkeys provide easy access to frequently used functions, while the multi-gesture touchpad offers scrolling, zooming and flipping functionalities. While it may be pretty, Acer are quick to point out that doesn’t mean it ain’t tough thanks to its full metal structure with a brushed-metal finish Built-in Wi-Fi as well as WiMAX coupled with the integrated webcam make videoconferencing easy while the inclusion of many of the energy saving features found in Acer’s Timeline series means the 3935 also claims eight hours of battery life. The Aspire 3935 is powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo processor and Mobile Intel GM45 Express chipset with integrated 3D graphics and supports up to 4 GB of DDR3 RAM. The Aspire 3935 is available with or without optical drive and can be specified with a HDD or SSD.

After all that I think the good folk at Acer have earned a good lie down.

The Acer Timeline series will range in price from USD$699 to $899. No pricing or availability details for the other Acer releases as yet.

Darren Quick

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