Acer Aspire TimelineX AS3830TG-6431 review: Acer Aspire TimelineX AS3830TG-6431

The new and unsurprising port addition on the TimelineX 3830TG-6431 is USB 3.0; the blue color-coded port is becoming near-ubiquitous on laptops at this point, and could come in handy for high-speed peripherals. Bluetooth is also included standard.

This particular Acer Aspire TimelineX is a fixed configuration, but the included 4GB of RAM can be expanded up to 8GB. Acer makes a variety of other TimelineX configs, some with more RAM and hard-drive space. Incidentally, while this 13-inch TimelineX lacks an optical drive, those desperate for a built-in DVD drive might consider the slightly larger 14-inch TimelineX, which includes one. Our config's 4GB of RAM and 500GB hard drive are straight-up standard for mainstream laptops these days, offering plenty of memory and storage for the average user.

A standard-voltage 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M is a processor we've seen on many laptops, ranging from the Sony Vaio SA21GX to the HP Pavilion dv6t-6000. It represents the middle ground for Intel's second-generation Core i-series processors, and offers excellent speed in both single-task and multimedia multitasking work. Benchmark performance was similar to what we saw on the HP dv6t-6000, Sony Vaio SA21GX, and Dell Inspiron 15R.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Acer Aspire TimelineX 3830TG-6431
589 
Dell Vostro 3350
606 

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Acer Aspire TimelineX 3830TG-6431
91 
Dell Vostro 3350
91 

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Dell Vostro 3350
120 
Acer Aspire TimelineX 3830TG-6431
121 

The Nvidia GeForce GT 540M graphics included in this particular TimelineX are this laptop's strong suit, being decidedly better than you'd find in an equivalent thin 13-incher. Street Fighter IV played at a silky-smooth 60 frames per second in native resolution at medium graphics settings; Unreal Tournament III, while an older game, ran at a speedy 86 fps. These Nvidia graphics are Optimus-enabled as well, meaning the laptop automatically switches to Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics when the Nvidia graphics aren't needed. That offers some battery life benefits, as seen below.

Juice box
Acer Aspire TimelineX 3830TG-6431 Average watts per hour
Off (60%) 0.33
Sleep (10%) 0.84
Idle (25%) 11.5
Load (05%) 46.5
Raw kWh number 48.02
Annual power consumption cost $5.45

Annual power consumption cost
Dell Vostro 3350
$5.19 
Acer Aspire TimelineX 3830TG-6431
$5.45 

An included six-cell battery lasted 4 hours and 44 minutes in our video playback battery drain test. For a laptop with discrete graphics, that's impressive. The Sony Vaio SA21GX/SI's battery fared better with graphics off but worse with graphics on, while the Toshiba Portege R835 far eclipsed it in battery life, but had only integrated graphics.

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Acer Aspire TimelineX 3830TG-6431
284 
Dell Vostro 3350
236 

Acer includes a standard one-year warranty with the Aspire TimelineX 3830TG-6431. The support Web site is good at providing a list of appropriate driver software and FAQ pages for your particular model of laptop. Discovering the telephone support number is not as easy, so after several minutes of circular linking, we gave up and Googled it. Try 866-695-2237 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. CT, and you'll need your system's serial or SNID number.

The $780 price and impressive specs of this compact Acer 13-incher are hard to beat. If you're looking for a laptop that's thin, relatively stylish, and still manages to offer a great combination of speed and battery life, look into the Acer Aspire TimelineX 3830TG-6431. While it lacks an optical drive and is heavier than equivalent 13-inchers we've seen, its game-ready graphics are worth the compromise.

System configurations:

Acer Aspire Timeline X 3830TG-6431
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 540M / 128MB (Dedicated) Intel GMA HD; 640GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

HP ProBook 6360b
Windows 7 Professional (64-bit); 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 64MB (Dedicated)/1,696MB (Total) Intel GMA HD; 320GB Hitachi 7,200rpm

Toshiba Portege R835-P56X
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 64MB (Dedicated)/1,696MB (Total) Intel GMA HD; 640GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420s
Windows 7 Professional (64-bit); 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 64MB (Dedicated)/1,696MB (Total) Intel GMA HD; 320GB Seagate 7,200rpm

Dell Vostro 3350
Windows 7 Professional (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 512MB AMD Mobility Radeon HD 6470M / 64MB (Dedicated) Intel GMA HD; 320GB Western Digital 7,200rpm

What you'll pay

Pricing is currently unavailable.

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Where to Buy

Acer Aspire TimelineX AS3830TG-6431

Part Number: LX.RFQ02.067

MSRP: $779.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Resolution 1366 x 768 ( HD )
  • Installed Size 4 GB
  • Weight 4.2 lbs
  • Graphics Processor NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M - 1 GB DDR3 VRAM
  • CPU Intel Core i5 (2nd Gen) 2410M / 2.3 GHz
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