Acer really loves Ultrabooks. Just last week the company announced the uber-thin S5 series, an Ultrabook with a razor thin .59-inch profile. The Timeline Ultra M5 is filled with some of the same goodies as the Ultra M3, but it gets a new lightweight design and offers Intel Ivy Bridge power and Nvidia graphics for $779.
The M5 measures .81 inches thick, which is on the chunky side but reasonable given that this 4.3-pound notebook houses a DVD drive. Available in 14 and 15.6-inches (the latter costs $829), the larger of the two models also sports an edge-to-edge LCD display. Keep reading to get all the details and full specs.
The $679 base model of the M5 includes a 2nd-generation 1.5-GHz Intel Core i3 processor, 6GB of RAM and Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics. But we'd splurge for the $779 version, which features a third-gen Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and Nvidia GT640M graphics for playing games. The most expensive $829 model has 6GB of RAM and weighs a heftier 5.07 pounds (as opposed to 4.3 pounds for the 14-inch versions).
Other features include back-lit keyboards, a number pad, and a battery rated to provide over 8 hours on a charge. In addition, PowerSmart technology pushes the M5 to maintain its battery endurance over multiple charging cycles.
When we reviewed the Ultra M3, we noted that the screen was available only with a 1366 x 768-pixel resolution. The same holds true for both sizes of the Ultra M5, even the larger 15.6-inch version with a wider screen. That's right, the resolution for both systems is still 1366 x 768 pixels.
All M5's ship with a 500GB hard drive paired with 20GB of solid state memory. That's a step down from the M3 and its 256GB solid-state drive, but most value-priced Ultrabooks go this hybrid route. Green Instant On software helps the Timeline M5 wake from sleep in less than 2 seconds and emerge from hibernation 6 seconds.
Acer's value-priced Ultrabook provides a good mix of features and components, and we like that you can step up to discrete graphics for under $800. Only time--and our full review-- will tell how the system stacks up.