Acer TravelMate X3 ultrabooks draw a bead on Zenbooks

Acer is adding another premium laptop family to its portable computing lineup today with the announcement of the Travelmate X3 series. The new laptops are quite thin and light. The X349 model that's debuting today is under 0.75" (19 mm) thick and weighs 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg). Acer's aesthetic choices with the X3 series remind of the Asus Zenbook UX305, which also has similar specifications.

Acer's press release focuses on the X349 model, which has a 14" 1080p IPS screen, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and solid-state storage as large as 512GB. Compute duties are handled by a "6th generation Intel Core" processor, which surely refers to a Skylake-based Core M of some sort. Acer says the machine's battery should last 10 hours under a productivity workload.

Productivity is the name of the game here, actually—the Travelmate X349 ships with Windows 10 Pro as standard, and includes a Trusted Platform Module for easy device encryption with Bitlocker. A Windows-Hello-compatible fingerprint sensor and videoconferencing-ready 720p HDR webcam complete the package. The chiclet-style keyboard is backlit, too, for those late-night memo-composing sessions. Acer says the TravelMate X3 series will be debuting in the US in October with the X349, and it'll start at $649.99.

Comments closed
    • Phaleron
    • 3 years ago

    Initial price point is a much better indicator of 3 year failure rates than brand. A cheap laptop is cheap no matter which brand is on it.

    Within the price brackets quality will vary within a percent or two on average depending on which brand/model you are looking at but overall there isn’t a lot of variance when you look at all the laptops sold worldwide across brands. This is mainly due to the limited number of ODMs.

    I would stratify the price brackets as such: (with meaningful failure rate differences between the brackets of ~5-10%)

    $249.99 and under
    $250.00 – $499.99
    $500 – $699.99
    $700 – $999.99
    +$1000.00

      • smilingcrow
      • 3 years ago

      Are the tier 1 (by size) manufacturers using ODMs much?
      There’s also the issue of the margins that are made.
      Apple’s are very high so you need to consider that and a Dell XPS will have a much higher margin than a Dell Inspiron.
      I suppose it’s down to the design, components used, manufacturing and testing.
      Some of those are more cost effective than others.
      A carbon fibre body, 4K touch screen, PCIe SSD can add a lot to the cost but not necessarily improve reliability at all.
      CPU, RAM and NAND are generally reliable unless you go very cheap.
      It’s motherboard design and design and build quality of the shell that might make the biggest difference and I don’t think that has to cost that much to go premium in terms of reliability.

    • UberGerbil
    • 3 years ago

    What’s Acer’s quality like these days? Six or seven years ago I had relatives who seemed to always be buying Acer laptops for their kids… because the old ones always seemed to have something go wrong. Some of that may have been because they were buying at the bottom of the segment (I think they were getting them from Costco or Walmart or something). But I really have no current sense of anything built by Acer.

      • smilingcrow
      • 3 years ago

      I know what you mean and those sort of experiences can stay with you and tarnish a brand name for a very long time in one’s mind.
      I still have a negative view of Acer but I would read reviews if they released something that stood out but nothing has really.

      • NeelyCam
      • 3 years ago

      I’ve been using an Acer C720 chromebook for almost three years now.

        • highlandr
        • 3 years ago

        Those suckers are built well. We’ve got hundreds in our schools, and most of the problems we have are from accidental/purposeful damage, not manufacturing issues.

        The C740s are built just as well. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how well those Acer chromebooks have turned out.

      • UnfriendlyFire
      • 3 years ago

      Acer’s consumer and business laptops have significantly different build qualities.

      I accidentally dropped my Acer Travelmate P645 (Haswell, with Radeon 8750M) laptop about a meter off of a waxed marble floor and it landed on a corner. The only damage I could spot was chipped paint on that corner.

      Also, I originally bought the laptop because at the time, Lenovo had hinge problems with their business laptops, and HP was charging an extra $400 for the same set of hardware. Dell’s only 14″ business laptop with a dedicated GPU was limited to a 1600×900 TN screen with extremely poor color accuracy and a strong blue tint.

      However… Acer’s warranty repair wasn’t the best. I’ve had instances where they would miss a reported problem, and one instance where they broke something, thus forcing me to send it back to them again.

      I already had my laptop replaced once because of their abysmal warranty repair service. I emailed my state’s attorney general after noticing that I would need to send it in for repairs the third time, and asked if there were any laws about laptops needing more than two repairs in a row.

      Instead, they contacted Acer, and three weeks later, a very nervous L2 tech support called me asking if had any problems with my laptop.

      • Duct Tape Dude
      • 3 years ago

      I bought one of Acer’s flagship ultrabooks back in 2013. It was expensive and built like absolute crap. It was a beautiful piece of crap, mind you, but horrendous design choices and terrible build quality.

      • cjcerny
      • 3 years ago

      Build quality is pretty good. Bloatware quantity is really bad. Acer is probably the worst offender here. Plan on reloading the OS from scratch.

        • UberGerbil
        • 3 years ago

        Good to know. Thanks.

      • DPete27
      • 3 years ago

      My experiences in the recent past is that their build quality is good, but the screens are HORRIBLE. My last foray was a couple years ago though.

    • DPete27
    • 3 years ago

    $650? Not bad.

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