Feeds

Hands on with Acer's Aspire S3 Ultrabook

Coming in the Air tonight

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

IFA 2011 It's almost impossible to view Acer's Aspire S3 - the company's first laptop built to Intel's Ultrabook spec - and not think of the MacBook Air.

Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook

Acer's S3: shades of the MacBook Air?

There's the metallic look, the sunken keyboard, the sparse port array, the - a first time for a Windows machine? - large touchpad placed centrally in the wrist rest area, not aligned to the positioning of the spacebar. There's the dark, plastic hinge cover that provides a window for the machine's Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios.

Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook

SD card slot on the right side

Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook

Just a 3.5mm audio out port on the left

The 13.3in machine has an SD slot and an earphone jack on the sides. Unlike the Air, its major ports - two USBs, HDMI - are on the back.

Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook
Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook

The S3's internals don't seem any more accessible than the Air's

Lifting it, the S3 is certainly light and eminently portable. It weighs, says Acer, just under 1.4kg and it's 13.1mm thick. It has a full-size keyboard. So from the perspective of a buyer after the acme of laptop portability - as opposed to netbook portability - the S3 ticks all the boxes.

Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook

Only tests will show to what extent portability compromises - limits would be a better word; there's not really much compromise here - peformance. But with 4GB of DDR 3 and a 1.7GHz Intel Core i7-2637M processor, it shouldn't be a slouch.

Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook

A very thin lid

All things considered then, yes, the S3 is an Air clone, but that's no bad thing for all those folk who want the Apple product but don't like the Mac OS, the company, the Mac's pricing - or all three.

Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook

So in what way is this laptop 'professionally tuned', Acer?

Of course, that may well mean Apple's legal department takes a very close look at the S3. I am not a lawyer, and neither are most IFA attendees, but while I was on the Acer stand, the Air is the machine all vistors likened the S3 to.

Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook

Dolby sound tech included. And there's the power key and the mic

And Acer is pricing aggressively - from €799 (£699), it suggested this week - so the S3 looks set to undercut the Air significantly, though I'll bet you won't get a directly comparable spec, despite the discount.

Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook

Still, the S3 is going to make a very nice hackintosh. ®

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More from The Register

next story
Report: American tech firms charge Britons a thumping nationality tax
Without representation, too. Time for a Boston (Lincs) Macbook Party?
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple ran off to IBM
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Apple gets patent for WRIST-PUTER: iTime for a smartwatch
It does everything a smartwatch should do ... but Apple owns it
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad
Apple's fondleslab is the tablet dermatitis sufferers won't want to take
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.