The parade of Ultrabooks marches on with Acer's announcement of the new Aspire Timeline Ultra M5 lineup. Three new models offer no killer features, but do include -- in the case of the two higher-priced notebooks -- Intel Ivy Bridge processors and Nvidia graphics and are a mere 0.81 inches thick.
Starting at $679.99, the 4.3-pound M5-481T-6670 features a 14-inch LED-backlit 1,366x768 screen, 1.5GHz Core i3-2377M Sandy Bridge Processor and 6GB of RAM. An additional $80 nets you the M5-481TG-6814, which includes the same screen but also packs the 2.6GHz Core i5-3317U Ivy Bridge CPU and GeForce GT640M LE graphics. You do, however, only get 4GB of RAM.
The $829.99 M5-581TG-6666 bumps the screen size up to 15.6 inches (though with the same resolution) while keeping the same Ivy Bridge processor and GeForce graphics as the M5-481TG-6814. (You do get 6GB of RAM, however.) All three M5 systems include 500GB hard drives, 20GB solid state drives for quicker boot-ups (using the Acer Green Instant On feature), a DVD drive, and both Intel and Acer anti-theft technology. Acer claims battery life up to 8 hours thanks to the M5's PowerSmart long-life battery pack.
While the Aspire Timeline Ultra M5 notebooks won't wow you like the HP Envy Spectre, they continue the Ultrabook's path toward becoming the mainstream laptop platform, which becomes important as back-to-school shopping kicks off soon.