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?
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.
as of late,
Acer has been making an especially hard push for the corporate world
as it sees
its global market share shrink.
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.
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.
the company hopes that will change with the help of a lightweight notebook it
recently launched, the TravelMate Timeline 8481T.
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.
seems to fully understand the needs of the corporate world in the TravelMate
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.
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.
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.
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.