Acer's Travelmate Timeline 8000 series targets the business sector, and provides all day usability in a very compact shell. At 13.3 inches, the TravelMate 8371 is the smallest in the series.

The laptop boasts a phenomenal battery life and we managed to squeeze 561 minutes out of the battery under fairly intensive use. This enhances portability and means you can forget the charger when away from the office.

Acer has achieved this by employing low-voltage components and by implementing the Acer PowerSmart key, which helps you tailor the machine's power and performance to your needs. Also, the power adapter, which features an adaptive charging mode, automatically stops using power once the battery is full.

The widescreen LED screen is also very resource light and the 1366 x 768-pixel resolution is detailed enough for viewing word documents and spreadsheets. It isn't the brightest panel, but as there's no shiny Super-TFT screen coating causing distracting reflections this isn't an issue.

Cool running

The matt-black plastic used is smart and, at only 32mm thick, it's a very slim laptop. The chassis also includes Intel's Laminar Wall Jet technology, which keeps the TravelMate 8371 cool, regardless of how long you use it for.

Various hotkeys are imbedded in the chassis, including the PowerSmart key mentioned above, an Acer Backup key that lets you copy your hard drive to a location of your choice, and a button that enables and disables the integrated Wi-Fi.

The keyboard provides a fluid and comfortable action. However, the keys aren't tapered, which makes it easy to hit the wrong letter when typing at speed.

The touchpad is multi-gesture capable, so you can use finger gestures to scroll down a page or rotate photos, for example. There's also a fingerprint scanner, which adds to the laptop's security capabilities.

The 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor may be low voltage, but it provides good performance, and we were able to multitask various office applications with ease. An integrated Intel GPU means there's no chance of any gaming or resource-intensive movie editing, however.

The 320GB hard drive provides ample space for all your work, but there is no optical drive, so you'll need an external drive to watch films or install software.

Connectivity is good, with 802.11n Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet included. A VGA-out lets you connect an external monitor and three USB ports let you add peripherals.

We like the Acer TravelMate 8371 TimeLine a lot. It's a great business tool with a fantastic battery life that will keep you productive for hours on end.

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