Acer Aspire Timeline U M3 581T - A Picture Can Paint A Thousand Words

11/30/2012 10:41:27 AM

A picture can paint a thousand words, or even an Acer product code

The product I'll be reviewing today is the Acer Aspire Timeline U M3 581T, or to use its full name, the M3-581T-32364G34Mnkk (NX.RY8EK.001). You might ask what's in a name? But with so many different models, it's important to identify this one from any other Acer Aspire Timeline U M3 hardware that's being sold.

Description: Acer Aspire Timeline U M3 581T

The critical bit is the 'U', because this is most certainly an ultrabook, and one of the cheapest of that variety you'll find. Being 'ultra' means the M3-581T is a svelte 21 mm thick, just 2.25kg in weight, and Acer promises it can run for eight hours on its three-cell lithium polymer batteries.

Given the pricing, there were bound be some compromises made, so what are they? Well, being at the bottom of the pile means that you get a 1,4GHz Core ¡3 CPU (¡3 - 2367M), Intel's unexciting HD 3000 integrated video and a 320GB hard drive.

On the other side of that balance, you get in a built-in DVD writer, USB 3.0 port (just one), 4GB of DDR3 and a 1 5.6" active matrix TFT.

That's an impressive specification, and while the video might not be game worthy, for application use and web activities, there's an abundance of power in here.

It's also rather well made, having an attractive gunmetal finish that projects greater value than Acer is asking for it.

So what's the catch? Well, even if most of these are minor complaints, I have a few. The first is that most of the connectivity is along the back edge, which is both difficult to access and prone to creating damage on both ports and cables. Why Acer did this I've no idea, because the entire right side of the machine is completely free for use, yet was ignored.

I also found that while the touchpad is easy to use, it's also big enough to easily brush with your palm while typing, and I had a number of instances where when using Word, the cursor got moved mid-sentence or even mid-word.

The final slight niggle is the display, which is a low-cost TN panel. The resolution of 1366x768 is relatively low for its size, has an annoying glossy finish that enhances reflections, and it's not fantastic on viewing angles. I'd say it was acceptable but hardly a strong selling point of the M3 series.

Even with all these distractions, I can't help but like the M3-581T. Because it's built for the purpose of commuter computing, it's very well specified for that job and works brilliantly in that context.

Description: Acer Aspire Timeline U M3 581T

If you want more GPU power, Acer does a more expensive Core ¡5 model with NVidia GT 640M mobile graphics that's worth a look. For non-gamers,

I'd recommend you get this one and then spend a little extra on dumping the 320GB drive for some hybrid or SSD storage.

The M3-581T brings the ultrabook into the budget range of many, and that is something for which Acer should be applauded.


Price: $799.98

Manufacturer: Acer


Model: M3-581T-32364G34Mnkk



·         Windows 7 Home Premium

·         Intel Core ¡3 (¡3-2367M, 1.40GHz, 3MB)

·         39.6cm (15.6") LED TFT colour

·         Intel HD 3000

·         4GB DDR3 SDRAM

·         320GB Serial ATA

·         DVD writer

·         Weight (approximate): 2.25 kg

·         Maximum battery run time: eight hours



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