With its minimalist design and sleek brushed metal lid, the Acer Travelmate Timeline XTM8372TG is a business laptop that retains a certain sense of style. It’s solidly-built, and at 2.kg a heavy laptop, although it never feels bulky.

Perhaps the most noticeable external feature of the Acer Travelmate TimelineX TM8372TG-5454G50Mnbb is the large, protruding battery pack at the rear. Rather than just have this jutting out backwards like that of the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge, this one doubles up as a mini stand, tilting the laptop into a more comfortable position when placed on a desk.

Of course its main function is to increase battery life, and this is where the TimelineX series excels. Lasting over ten hours under MobileMark 2007 the Acer Travelmate TimelineX TM8372TG-5454G50Mnbb has enough juice on a single charge to work all day in an office and handle your commute too.

A large industrial-looking power switch sits beside a similar button which gives quick access to wireless and Bluetooth control as well as switching between the Acer Travelmate TimelineX TM8372TG-5454G50Mnbb's discrete nVidia GeForce 310M GPU and the integrated Intel HD graphics, denoted by an illuminated blue letter P.

The keyboard is a traditional-style tessellating type with no special keys for media transport and the like but handy Euro and Dollar symbol keys nestling in with the cursor control keys down at the bottom right.

A small, recessed multi-touch touchpad sits below the Acer Travelmate TimelineX TM8372TG-5454G50Mnbb's keyboard and incorporates a fingerprint reader between the two mouse buttons.

Using the nVidia GPU we achieved a speedy frame rate of 106fps when running FEAR, showing that the Acer notebook is quite capable of a little after-hours gaming.

Fitted with 4GB of DDR3 RAM, a 500GB 5400rpm hard drive and a fast 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-450M processor, the Acer Travelmate TimelineX TM8372TG-5454G50Mnbb notebook is capable of some heavy-duty work, as showed by its WorldBench 6 score of 107. It’s a little slower than Sony’s Vaio S and the fearsome Toshiba Tecra M11, but considerably faster than any of the thin-and-light devices using ultra-low voltage CPUs, despite its stupendous battery life.

All ports are side-mounted and include VGA, gigabit LAN and a trio of USB 2.0 sockets. There’s also Acer’s proprietary docking connector, although sadly no HDMI, eSATA or FireWire.

Next page: Our expert verdict >>

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Acer Travelmate TimelineX XTM8372TG: Specs

  • 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 450M
  • 13.3in matt LED-backlit 1366x768
  • Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
  • 4GB DDR3-1066 RAM
  • 500GB 2.5in 5400rpm SATA 3Gb/s HDD
  • nVidia GeForce 310M with 512MB
  • VGA
  • Stereo speakers, mic, heaphone jack
  • 3 x USB 2.0
  • DVD±RW DL 8x
  • 802.11n. Bluetooth 3.0
  • Gigabit ethernet
  • MS, MS PRO, SD, MMC, xD
  • Docking station port, Webcam, fingerprint reader, DASP
  • 87Wh Li-Ion removable
  • 324x234x30.5mm
  • 2116g
  • 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 450M
  • 13.3in matt LED-backlit 1366x768
  • Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
  • 4GB DDR3-1066 RAM
  • 500GB 2.5in 5400rpm SATA 3Gb/s HDD
  • nVidia GeForce 310M with 512MB
  • VGA
  • Stereo speakers, mic, heaphone jack
  • 3 x USB 2.0
  • DVD±RW DL 8x
  • 802.11n. Bluetooth 3.0
  • Gigabit ethernet
  • MS, MS PRO, SD, MMC, xD
  • Docking station port, Webcam, fingerprint reader, DASP
  • 87Wh Li-Ion removable
  • 324x234x30.5mm
  • 2116g

OUR VERDICT

The Acer Travelmate TimelineX TM8372TG-5454G50Mnbb may not have corporate-level management features of Toshiba’s Tecra M11-17W, but in terms of performance it’s not far behind. Add to that more than double the battery life and a considerably lower asking price and Acer’s offering becomes a compelling purchase for business on the move as well as in the office.

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