The Acer Timeline Ultra M3 is what we'd call a bit of a "tweener." At $799 MSRP, this machine is definitely one of the less expensive Ultrabook options on the market right now, especially if you consider it's sporting one of NVIDIA's latest GPUs under the hood. The machine you're looking at here may not come to the US exactly as you see it and may differ in certain areas.
No guts, no glory, so we opened it up... A single PCB
Unfortunately for us, the Ultrabook experience here falls a bit flat in spots, since build quality doesn't measure up to what we've seen from the likes of Asus
. This machine's chassis is an all plastic affair and the keyboard feels a tad spongy in spots. The machine is very thin (only 20mm), especially for 15-inch model but unfortunately all of the major ports are on the rear of the notebook, except for its SD card slot; which by the way is a nice addition that isn't often enough found in Ultrabooks these days. The Timeline Ultra M3's display is reasonably bright and sharp but again, with 15" of real estate, we were hoping for a bit more than its native resolution of 1366X768.
Our test machine came configured with an Intel Core i5-2467M dual-core CPU that has a base frequency of 1.6GHz and Turbos up to 2.1GHz, along with 4GB of DDR3-1333 RAM, a 500GB HDD with integrated Solid State Drive, and of course NVIDIA's GeForce GT 640M GPU. The Timeline Ultra M3 does support NVIDIA's Optimus dynamic switching technology, to conserve power consumption and shutdown the GPU on the fly when it's not needed. As you can see above, the good majority of all this technology is crammed on to a single PCB, save for things like system memory and WiFi radios. In the flesh, it really was an impressive internal design to behold.
And as you'll see in the pages ahead, for NVIDIA and Acer to figure out how squeeze
this kind of performance and horsepower into such a wafer-thin form
factor is a technological marvel for the most part as well.