Intel’s new laptop specifications are embodied in the Ultrabooks. They were all the buzz at the IFA 2011 tech show and Acer is jumping on the bandwagon with the new Acer Aspire S3. Other manufacturers have their own take on it, but at Acer it’s full steam ahead.
While the Aspire is not the thinnest Ultrabook, you could say it is an anorexic one, looking too thin and complaining how thick it is. Is 17mm thin enough? That is its thickest spot. How about 13mm? That should get you excited. Then add on top of that the 1.3Kg weight and the aluminum-magnesium chassis and you are whistling a happy tune. Slide that baby into a tote bag and the bag feels the same with or without it.
The screen is embedded within the chassis, which allows it to be as thin as 13.3 inches. The resolution was merely standard at 1,366×768 and the brightness wasn’t anything to write home about. However, when it comes to screen tilt, the S3 is a worthy contender for those seeking a laptop to work in cramped spaces. It does come with an HD webcam.
While the Acer S3 follows Intel’s recommended design, it will bring a choice of either SSD or traditional disk storage to the table. The SSD option introduces faster read/write speeds and improved battery life, by an extra hour.
Acer has its Instant On, resuming Windows from sleep mode within 2 seconds and connecting to the Net in 2 more. This is a 300% increase over the average laptop. Acer even swears the S3 can be on standby for a maximum of 50 days before the battery drains.
An edge the Acer S3 has over other laptops is the Dolby Home Theater certified speakers that come with it. Since they face downward, their best performance will be had on a hard surface, rather than the cushy lap.
One place they’ve dropped the ball is where the keyboard is not backlit. The touchpad was huge and lacked any button. Tapping the pad was the only way. While it functions sufficiently well, it does not come even close to the MacBook Air, which is the market competition for the Acer S3.
The S3 is no different than all the other Ultrabooks to date on connectivity. There just isn’t enough there to speak of. There are at least 2 USB ports, an HDMI, a multi-card reader, and an audio combi-jack. Bluetooth 4.0, Wireless N, and Clear-Fi DLNA (a proprietary format) are supported. Do not expect any kind of optical drive, because it is physical impossible for this thin laptop to have one. Pick up an external one if it is necessary.
Acer will be the first one onto the market with its Aspire S3 Ultrabook, at the end of September. As Christmas approaches it may be harder to set itself apart from the gazillion other Ultrabooks that will have flooded the market. Just the SSD option alone may not be enough. Still, the fact that it will be first may allow it to get that edge necessary to hold its own.