Acer's TravelMate Timeline 8481T Notebook Designed With Enterprise in MindBy Channel Insider Staff | Print
Review: Acer has a new notebook, the TravelMate Timeline 8481T. But can it succeed in the enterprise where other Acer devices have so far failed to catch on?
When it comes to enterprise computing, most IT decision-makers will choose between computers from Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo. Over the years, those firms have delivered the best products and value to companies, and IT staffs simply see them as their best bets when it comes to providing PCs to employees.
But as of late, Acer has been making an especially hard push for the corporate world as it sees its global market share shrink.
In the second quarter of 2010, Acer shipped 11.7 million PCs, earning about 14 percent of the market. During the second quarter of 2011, however, shipments slipped to 9.3 million, good for 10.9 percent share and placing the company in fourth place behind HP, Dell and Lenovo.
Now it's no surprise that Acer wants to go after the enterprise. The three companies that are leading the PC maker are all heavily invested in the corporate world. Acer is known more as a consumer PC maker, especially in the United States, and hasn't been attracting as many enterprise users as it would like.
But the company hopes that will change with the help of a lightweight notebook it recently launched, the TravelMate Timeline 8481T.
That notebook, which boasts a 14-inch WXGA LED LCD display and a 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-2557M processor in the version I tested, delivers a host of enterprise-focused features and a simple design that should appeal to some corporate users. But whether it does enough to actually make IT staffs want to buy into Acer's devices instead of the computers from HP and Dell they've been using for years is decidedly in doubt.
Acer seems to fully understand the needs of the corporate world in the TravelMate Timeline 8481T.
The PC comes with a simple black finish and black keyboard. Without the battery pack, the computer can be easily placed into a purse or small computer bag and, at about 4 pounds with the battery connected, it shouldn't be too heavy for mobile employees to carry around.
The 8481T's footprint is about the size of those found on 13-inch notebooks; however, the device comes with a 14-inch WXGA LED LCD display. It might not seem like much, but for road warriors, that's an important aspect of the notebook's value proposition.
Other than that, the 8481T is very run-of-the-mill from a design perspective. Employees place the battery pack on the back of the PC and will find a couple USB ports on the right side of the notebook. On the left side of the PC are USB 3.0 and eSATA ports. In addition, users can hook up the PC to an HDTV, thanks to the built-in HDMI port.
The 8481T's keyboard might take some getting used to. Although it's full-sized and quite attractive, the keys are flush with the top of the bottom panel of the notebook, potentially making them a bit more difficult to use than the average laptop keyboard. After some practice, though, users shouldn't have too much difficulty using the notebook.
It's also worth noting that the 8481T's touchpad is very basic. You can slide your fingers around the pad and control the cursor with ease, but scrolling could be improved.
There is one thing missing from the 8481T: an optical drive. Acer's decision to not include an optical drive is a curious one, and something that could be a deal-breaker for firms that require such a feature to get software and other contents onto the device.
Acer ostensibly ditched the optical drive to ensure the computer stayed thin and lightweight, similar to Apple's own moves with its MacBook Air. And the company may feel the lack of an optical drive isn't necessary, what with the computer's ports. However, an optical drive would have been a nice feature.
To read the original eWeek article, click here: Acer Designs TravelMate Timeline 8481T With Enterprise in Mind