Are you looking for an extremely affordable, 15.6-inch laptop which carries the Ultrabook name (thus being thin, light and amply powered)? Well UK retailer Comet currently have the ACER M3-581T 15.6″ Ultrabook on sale for just £499.99 online, which is an incredibly good price for an Ultrabook which usually retails for +£100 more at retail stores.
There is no catch to this price, and Comet are not asking for you to claim cash back or trade in anything of yours which is old. Quite simply, you will get a decent Ultrabook for under £5o0, providing you act fairly briskly because I have no idea when this Ultrabook will become unavailable.
ACER M3-581T 15.6″ Ultrabook
Key features: Decent build quality, optical drive, thin and light for a 15.6-incher.
The Acer TimelineUltra M3-581T is the lowest specification baby of Acer’s TimelineUltra line. With an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 320GB hard drive, it is not the most powerful machine on the market today nor is it the best looking either. What’s more the full name for this machine is the Acer Aspire Timeline U M3 Ultra 581T-32364G34Mnkk, which is one heck of a mouthful for even the most seasoned vocalist.
What this laptop does have going for it however is its price and robust build quality. This machine is made from polycarbonate and is relatively slim and light, although not as much so as an Asus Zenbook, the Ultrabook to which all others are seemingly compared. It is light though; weighing in at just over 2kg, this laptop is significantly lighter than the vast majority of other 15.6-inchers on the market, and what’s more it is fairly thin too measuring in at 21mm deep. The lid of the machine is brushed aluminium, which provides a welcome cool feel to the laptop upon being picked up.This is a welcome addition to a budget machine.
Connectivity wise you will find a memory card slot, optical drive, twin USB 2.0 ports, a single USB 3.0, full-size HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet and headphone/microphone jack on the ACER M3-581T, which is pretty decent for a machine at this price point.
The keyboard on the ACER M3-581T is good too. It isn’t backlit unfortunately, however it does provide a nice typing experience with thanks to the depth of the chassis. Typing on the machine is an easy enough task, with the keyboard offering up good travel and plenty of feedback for all of those fast typists out there.
Any nails in the coffin?
At £499.99 online, a Core i3 processor alongside 4GB of RAM and a 320GB HDD is pretty much to be expected, so we have no gripes surrounding the basic specification this machine ships with.
Where this machine does fall short though is in its display. At 15.6-inches you will have plenty of space to get tasks done on Windows 7 or Windows 8, however it isn’t the greatest I have ever seen; with a 1,366 x 768 resolution, images are not exactly pin sharp and sat alongside any machine with a 1600 x 900 display, it more than looks inferior. Likewise viewing angles are not particularly strong either, and tilting the screen too far back or forward results in it being washed out.
Look straight on at the display however and you’ll be greeted with vibrant colours and what’s more it offers adequate media usage, with good brightness.
The speakers on the machine are, as usual, not anywhere near as good as a dedicated speaker. They provide adequate volume and decent clarity much like a pair of mid-range tweeters do, however they aren’t as good as the Lenovo Carbon X1′s nor many you’ll find on a more upmarket machine.
For a full review of this laptop, hit up Expert Reviews, where this machine scored 8/10.