Hands On Use
The thing that was most impressive at first glance with the Timeline notebook is how thin the machine is. I really like the thin design and the notebook is very lightweight as well. The machine is well built and doesn't look like the budget notebook that it really is. The notebook has a rather strange looking keyboard. I call it strange because it's not really ugly or hard to use, it's just odd. The keys are highly glossy and appear to float over the underlying keyboard tray.
The key tops are very glossy, smooth and flat making for a different feel than I am used to with most keyboards that have a slight concavity to the tops of the keys. Typing feel for the odd keyboard is good with a tactile feel and a decent click when keys are pressed. After a while, you do forget that the keys are flat.
The 14-inch screen of the notebook is definitely geared more towards multimedia use than general productivity with its glossy finish. I have said it before; I am not a big fan of highly glossy screens because of the glare you have to deal with. You are in for some grief if you try and use the notebook outdoors. The screen works well, though, and has good color reproduction and no major issues with smearing or tearing when watching video online.
One of the big claims that Acer makes with the Timeline is all day computing from a single charge. Acer figures that the battery is good for a full eight hours of use per charge. If you read the benchmark section you know that with Battery Eater Pro and the Timeline set to 50% brightness and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off I was able to squeeze over four and a half hours from the battery. That is almost half the runtime that Acer promises, but as I said before, Battery Eater Pro is harder on batteries than most people will be in the real world. The battery life of the little machine is very impressive.
To get that impressive battery life you do have to give up some performance, though; the Intel Core 2 Solo processor sips power, but is slower performing than other machines. You do make a tradeoff when you go with a thin machine like the Timeline, but the trade off for the portability and style is one that many notebook users will be more than willing to make.
The machine has a decent onboard sound system that offers enough volume to hear the audio in your music or video from across the room. I was also impressed that the thin machine still offers an optical drive, which is something that you don't find on netbooks that weigh almost as much.