Sandy Bridge, Optimus, USB 3 converge in Acer TimelineX

The Timeline series is back, baby. Acer has just unleashed a trio of affordable and relatively slender TimelineX notebooks based on Intel's Sandy Bridge Core i3 and Core i5 processors. These systems include the 13.1" 3830T, the 14" 4830T, and the 15.6" 5830T. Prices start at only $599.99, and Acer says you should already be able to find these across retail stores in the United States.

Acer hasn't messed with the Timeline formula too much. These bad boys have 1366x768 displays, frames that are "about an inch thin," and start at 4.12 lbs for the 3830T. Battery life is supposed to range up to nine hours, although some variants with GeForce GT 520M or 540M discrete graphics will only do up to eight hours. (Those GeForce-powered models, incidentally, make use of Nvidia's Optimus switchable graphics technology to avoid draining the battery when the discrete GPU isn't needed.) Added perks include USB 3.0 connectivity and Dolby Home Theater v4 audio.

Now all we need are some fresh 11.6" Timeline laptops with Sandy Bridge guts. I've got nothing against 13" laptops personally—in fact, I think they strike a pretty healthy balance between portability and usability—but Intel's low-voltage Sandy Bridge chips are overdue for an appearance in some relatively affordable ultraportables.

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