The Acer inspire and aspire series of notebooks and ultrabooks were really a few inspiring products which users aspired to own. However when Acer developed the Acer Aspire M3, it met with a lot of flak. The reason, while the Aspire M3 was one hardbound device that could work up the most demanding game requirements in a breeze, it failed the litmus test in all other areas of performance. The project M3 was therefore shelved at that time. However Acer has redesigned and redeployed the M3 into a highly competitive all performing Aspire M5 that promises something for everybody. The best part of the deal is that the Acer Aspire M5 is very affordable and offers very good updates at slightly higher margins. Why it might be a good buy for the holiday season can be decided once you have gone through my take on the redesigned everything book.
DESIGN & HARDWARE: The Acer Aspire M5 stands at a 14” screen size and isn’t a show stopper with its design. However it gives a well finished look that is smart enough. It has a brushed aluminium lid and palmrest. The fibreglass infused plastic base is good at insulating the lap from the heat of the machine. The edges and hinges of the M5 sport a matte soft-touch rubber finish that gives it a look of being high end although its highly affordable. The upgrade touch windows 8 model sport very slim displays with edge to edge glass covers to support the Windows 8 touch gestures. The M5 has a chasis that is very strong and the screen lid hinges support the display at any angle the user desires. If I were to surmise on the M5, I would say its a strong offer for a price so low in terms of its design and hardware.
SOFTWARE: The Acer Aspire Timeline M5 supports Windows having a processor speed of 1.7GHz with a Core i5-3317U processor with 4GB RAM, a 500GB HDD, a 5400 RPM hard drive and a 20GB solid state cache. This is the primary software base support that the M5 sports and remains vastly unchanged even with the higher upgrades as the $779.99 which comes with NVidia graphics for gaming and the $799.99 upgrade which sports the Windows 8 based touch model. However in the touch model the RAM has been slated up to 6 GB.
The Acer Aspire M5 has negotiated upon the speed a little by empowering more storage space by utilizing a marginally slower 500 GB HDD and instead of installing a pure solid state drive, it has used a SSD cache. Although it isn’t slowed down by a huge margin still there are those noticeable time delays ranging from a second to 4 seconds while utilizing applications and specifically the few seconds lag while reviving the system from sleep is noticeable. Also the M5 sports many built in applications which Acer already keys into the book. Some of these are pretty useful like Netflix while others like the shortcuts to eBay are clearly a nuisance.
FEATURES: If we talk about features all I can say is that the best in terms of this coinage would be the gaming feature that is stepped up in the $779.99 upgrade because it features Nvidia Graphics. However in general if I was to speak of the M5 features starting with the display I must say its not very high end. The display resolution is at 1366 x 768 which when fitted into the 14” size makes everything look pixelated which doesnot bear good for performance in this regard. In terms of the audio quality too the M5 isn’t that credible because it bears its speakers underneath its base as a result of which the audio appears muffled when the machine is placed on an uneven surface. The audio clarity is bearable and not that harshly bad under normal circumstances. However my advice for the users, it is better to use headphones with this one.
Keyboard on the Aspire M5 gets a mixed review because on one hand the keys on the keyboard are very flat, stiff and have a very bad actuation result once pressed. On the brighter side however the full keyboard gives ample space for the user which is a good feature and also all the keys sport backlight now. However when one moves up to the touch screen on the upgraded model there is no mixed review that I will give. The touch is abysmal if you continue with the same drivers that come packed into the M5 at the time of purchase. However if you were to download separate drivers from Acer and use it then it performs comfortably well.
Rounded up the Acer Aspire Timeline M5 ultra is a good performer which is affordable starting at $629.99 and features something for every user segment. My stats:
DESIGN : 3.5/5