Acer's new convertible Tablet PC, the Aspire Timeline 1820P, is small, slim and well specified. Acer claims over eight hours of battery life from this diminutive 11.6in. ultraportable, which comes in three colours: Sapphire Blue, Diamond Black and Ruby Red. It's available now at £529.99 (inc. VAT; £451 ex. VAT).
The convertible Tablet PC design has been around since 2002, but Acer claims to have a new angle on the format. According to the company the Aspire Timeline 1820P "features a special convertible design that allows you to use it as a photo frame or the perfect presentation tool. You can also fold it up like a notepad to take notes, read ebooks or navigate maps."
The Timeline 1820P runs Windows 7 (Home Premium) and has a secondary touch-based interface called TouchPortal for accessing music and video. The touch-screen supports multi-touch for pinch-to-zoom and twist-to-rotate, and accepts stylus input — handwriting recognition included.
The Timeline 1820P is small and light, measuring 28.5cm wide by 20.9cm deep by 2.85-3.45cm high and weighing 1.72kg. It has an 11.6in. display with a native resolution of 1,366 by 768 pixels, giving it the 16:9 aspect ratio that's ideal for viewing digital video content. Enhanced Dolby audio and an HDMI port assist in this respect, but sadly Acer hasn't found room for an integrated optical drive.
The keyboard is a pleasure to use, with relatively large and responsive keys. The multi-touch touchpad supports two-finger scrolling, pinch-to-zoom and flip-and-rotate.
Powered by a dual-core CULV (Consumer Ultra Low Voltage) Pentium (PTZ model) or Core 2 Duo (PT model), the Aspire Timeline 1820P uses the Mobile Intel GS45 Express Chipset with integrated graphics (GMA 4500MHD). It accommodates up to 4GB of RAM and has a 160GB, 250GB or 320GB hard drive.
Wi-Fi (various flavours) is present, along with Bluetooth (2.1+EDR) and Gigabit Ethernet, with mobile broadband (HSPA, 7.2Mbps down, 5.7Mbps up) as an option. Battery life is quoted at up to 8 hours.
A webcam sits atop the screen, and there's a 5-in-one card reader on the right side of the chassis. Three USB 2.0 ports are ranged around the edges of the notebook.
We have only seen a prototype of this notebook, but the signs are positive and we're keen to see a shipping unit. Acer should consider producing a business focussed variant of this notebook with Windows 7 Professional and, if at all possible, a built-in optical drive.