Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display (2013, 15-inch screen)
Apple MacBook Air (13-inch)
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Toshiba Chromebook 2stars
For its second Chromebook, Toshiba shaved off as much chassis as possible without sacrificing...
laptop headlines of late, but there's another class of machine challenging for the hyper-portable crown. Consumer ultra-low-voltage, or CULV, laptops -- catchy, eh? -- tend to be slightly larger and more comfortable to use than netbooks, yet offer similar levels of performance and battery life, making them ideal for anyone that values both portability and comfort. One of the best examples in this category is the 11.6-inch Acer Aspire Timeline 1810T, our configuration of which, the AS1810TZ-413G25N, is on sale now for around £460.may be scoring the most
Hoi polloi's delight
The 1810T's 285 by 22 by 204mm chassis feels just right in most usage scenarios. This is a laptop that's just as comfortable to use whether you're sitting at a desk for hours at a time, or vegging out in bed watching episodes of Lost. What's more, at 1.4kg, it's exceptionally easy to carry, and its gorgeous red colour scheme won't fail to impress the hoi polloi (it's also available in black or blue).
Use me, abuse me
Early netbooks, and indeed some newer models, have tiny, cramped keyboards that render them almost useless for anything other than hammering out a quick email or Web address. The keyboard on the 1810T, however, is fabulous. Each of its buttons is actually larger than those on a full-sized desktop keyboard, and there's a good amount of space between each key and its closest neighbour. The amount of travel in the keys seems quite shallow, but we found it easy to achieve the same typing speeds on the 1810T as we did on a proper desktop keyboard.
The 1810T's trackpad is also worthy of praise. It has a small surface area, but supports multi-touch gestures, so users can navigate files with just a swipe of the fingers, as with the iPhone.
Connect the dots
The 1810T won't shy away from connecting to external devices. It has a total of three USB ports -- two on the right and a third on the left -- plus a multi-format memory-card reader, mic and headphone jacks, a VGA video output, and, pleasingly, an HDMI port.
Devices of this size -- even the similarly equipped-- usually lack an HDMI port, so its presence is a welcome bonus, particularly for users who need to connect their laptop to a digital external display. The 1810T also comes with 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, although Bluetooth and 3G connectivity are conspicuously absent.