New Acer laptops, netbooks: 10-hour batteries, multitouch gestures

Summary:PC heavyweight Acer, which owns the Gateway, eMachines, and Packard Bell brands, announced a collection of new netbooks and full-feature notebooks that spans the company's brand portfolio.Here are the highlights of the dozen or so new laptop models Acer introduced, with a little help from CNET's Dan Ackerman, who was there in person:Acer Timeline series: "Revolutionize the IT world"A collection of 13.

PC heavyweight Acer, which owns the Gateway, eMachines, and Packard Bell brands, announced a collection of new netbooks and full-feature notebooks that spans the company's brand portfolio.

Here are the highlights of the dozen or so new laptop models Acer introduced, with a little help from CNET's Dan Ackerman, who was there in person:

Acer Timeline series: "Revolutionize the IT world" A collection of 13.3, 14.1, and 15.6-inch models with LED 16:9 displays, Intel ULV processors, touch pads with MacBook-like multitouch gestures and innovative passive cooling which is said to keep the laptop's outer surface cooler to the touch.

All three models are slightly tapered and range in thickness from about 0.9 inches to 1.5 inches, but Ackerman says they felt a little heavier than he expected. (Acer says the Timeline models range from 3.5 pounds to 5.3 pounds.) The laptops range in price from $699 to $899 and are aimed at the low-cost, high-end design category.

By using ultralow-voltage CPUs and LED displays, Acer claims that these new systems can run up to 10 hours on a single battery charge. It remains to be seen how much the user will have to hobble the system to achieve those numbers.

Quick facts:

  • 13.3, 14 and 15.6-in. models
  • LED backlit display with true 16:9 aspect ratio, 1366X768 HD resolution
  • built-in Wi-Fi/WiMAX functionalities
  • Acer Crystal Eye webcamwith Acer PrimaLite technology for easy video conferences with your business contacts
  • Intel Core 2 Duo Processor Ultra Low Voltage
  • choice of shared or dedicated VGA
  • DDR3 system memory
  • HDD with up to 500 GB of capacity, or SSD with up to 64 GB of capacity.

[Acer's official announcement]

11.6-in. Acer Aspire One Filling out the netbook portfolio, the new 11.6-inch version of the Aspire One Netbook fits nicely in between the too-small 10-in. size and the full-featured laptop 12-in. size.

The new model has a standard Intel Atom CPU and a 160GB hard drive. But unlike the current bargain-basement-price Aspire One, this version has a thin LED screen and multitouch gestures. It also has what Ackerman says looks like a better keyboard and touch pad than the current 10-in. model.

The new unit is about an inch thick. No official word on price or availability, but note that Gateway is getting rebadged versions of these 10 and 11-inch Netbooks as well, called the LT20 and LT30.

Quick facts:

  • 11.6-in. model
  • Intel Atom processor and Mobile Intel US15W Express Chipset
  • 160 GB internal hard drive and a multi-in-one card reader.
  • 2.5 cm thick
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
  • Bluetooth connectivity and 3G
  • 'Soft-touch' keyboard
  • Dolby Pro Logic sound
  • High-definition WXGA back-lit LED screen
  • 8 hours battery life based on 6 cell 5200 mAh battery
  • Digital microphone and Acer Crystal Eye webcam
  • Multi-gesture touchpad

[Acer's official announcement]

Gateway EC

This 13.3-inch laptop will feature a 16:9 LED display, switchable graphics, SSD drives, and be less than an inch thick. Ackerman says Gateway is emphasizing the "green" aspect, with an energy-saving low-power mode and Energy Star 5.0 compliance.

No price or availability info, but Ackerman wonders if the EC can compete with Apple's 13-in. Macbook.

More announced models

Quick hits on what else is new:

  • Aspire 5935 and 8935: The 18.4-inch 8935 laptop can output a 1080p resolution, True 5.1 channel surround sound and handles up to two HDDs totaling 1TB capacity. The 15.6-in. 5935 can handle a single 500GB HDD. Both support up to 4GB DDR3 memory, biometric fingerprinting, 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth 2.0, and optional WiMAX. [Acer's official announcement]
  • Aspire 3935: A 13.3-inch model with an LED-backlit LCD (1366x769) and Intel Core 2 Duo/GM45 express chipset. Has built-in Wi-Fi / WiMAX, up to 4GB DDR3 RAM, biometric fingerprints, and eight hours of use with a 8-cell battery. [Acer's official announcement]
  • eMachines D, E, G series: 16:9 aspect ratio LCD display with Intel Celeron or Pentium processors for all models, plus AMD Athlon option for E and G series. The 14-in. D and 17-in. G have up to 4GB DDR2 RAM, 500GB HDD, while the 15.6-in. E series can feature up to 5GB. All have wide keyboards, Wi-Fi, webcam, DVD drive and 5-in-1 card reader.
  • Gateway ID series: Available in glossy dark blue or matte black. Has a 15.6-in. LED backlit screen, slot-in DVD drive, webcam with a curtain,  multi-gesture touchpad and capacitive hotkeys above keyboard.

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Mobility

About

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. He is also the former editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation. He writes about business, technology and design now but used to cover finance, fashion and culture. He was an intern at Money, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics and the New York Daily Ne... Full Bio

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