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Acer Timeline Ultra M5 hands-on: game-savvy ultrabook gets sturdier construction

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Acer's introduced the Timeline Ultra M5, a 15.6-inch successor to the never-released Ultra M3.

Gallery Photo: Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M5 hands-on pictures
Gallery Photo: Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M5 hands-on pictures

Two months ago, we reviewed the Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3-581TG, a 0.78-inch thick laptop that (properly configured) could play Battlefield 3. If you went out and tried to buy one, though, you were probably out of luck, because Acer decided never to launch the laptop outside of its native Asia. Why? The company was waiting to introduce the Ultra M5. It's the spitting image of its 15.6-inch predecessor, to the point where you'd swear it sprung from the same mold, but this 15.6-inch laptop has far more solid construction.

Where the Ultra M3 was practically all plastic with some thin metal components here and there, the Ultra M5 has an aluminum lid and palmrest, only relying on cheaper glass-infused polycarbonate for the base of the machine. A prototype model felt more durable, too, flexing less when typing, the speakers sounded slightly better too, and the power button that irked us so much when we were trying to use the trackpad has been relocated to the front right edge. Sadly, the ports are all still in back. There's also going to be a 14-inch version which uses a single piece of metal for both the palmrest and keyboard tray. We don't have a full spec sheet, prices or release dates yet, but you can see there's a DVD tray on the side, and since it's an ultrabook you can probably expect Intel's latest Ivy Bridge processors and at least a solid state cache. If you're looking to play games, look for the 15-inch M5-581TG and 14-inch M5-481TG, which use Nvidia's GeForce GT 640M Kepler GPU... although you should probably note that the 14-incher uses the LE version of the chip, which runs more slowly. Take a look at how the machine has evolved in our pictures above.