Acer’s Aspire S3 Ultrabook: Super Slim, Core i7

Over in Germany, the IFA tech fair saw a bunch of new gear — particularly tablets — from Samsung, Sony and Lenovo. The latter claimed the thinnest tablet crown, and now at 1.3cm, Acer’s new Aspire S3 is the thinnest 13.3-inch laptop yet: slimmer than the MacBook Air, Sony Vaio Z and rival ultrabooks like the Lenovo U300s or Toshiba Portege z830.

(Yep, the 13.4-inch Dell Adamo XPS was just 9.99mm).

You may recognise the Aspire S3’s metallic finish and chiclet keyboard from leaked pics where it was dubbed the Aspire 3951. Those following along closely will also remember that we’ll see S3 officially unveiled in Australia later this week. We won’t know local pricing until then, but Acer’s global press release (below) puts the cost between €799 and €1199 (about $1075 to $1600).

The Aspire S3 weighs just 1.4kg (on par with the MacBook Air), while its LED screen has a native resolution of 1366 x 768 (the Air does 1440 x 900).

Elsewhere, the Acer has pretty great specs: Core i3/i5/i7 Sandy Bridge processor options, and the choice of either a 240GB solid state hard disk or 320/500GB hard disk coupled with a SSD built into the motherboard for fast boot up. This configuration won’t let you store files on the hard disk, but Acer says the S3 can wake from sleep mode in as little as 1.5 seconds (up to 6 seconds if the machine is in deep sleep).

Battery life is key to the concept of ultrabooks, and Acer claims the Aspire S3 not only provides up to 7 hours of normal use, but up to 50 hours via Acer Green Instant On. I’m presuming this must mean sleep-state availability, and even if that’s the case, that’s longer than smartphones. Crazy. [Acer Australia]

More: We’ve heard that for its part, Asus may now be planning five to seven ultrabooks, including the UX31 (pics!).

Here's a hands-on video of the Aspire S3, courtesy of NetbookNews:

Acer Debuts First Ultrabook: Aspire S3 Acer announces its first Ultrabook at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin. The Acer Aspire S3 integrates the best features of notebook and mobile devices, offering users powerful performance for digital creation, in addition to ultra-fast responsiveness and interaction for content consumption, enhancing the freedom and overall computing experiences of users on the go.

Innovative Acer Green Instant On technology provides instant-resume functionality and ensures battery longevity, while Acer Instant Connect delivers faster Internet access. The Aspire S3 is encased in a thin, light metal design that's sturdy and aerodynamic. It will be available in select regions from September.

Campbell Kan, president of Personal Computer Global Operations, Acer Inc., said, "The Aspire S3 is truly designed to meet notebook users' needs, combining essential features of the smartphone and tablet PC, such as fast startup and Internet connectivity, with long battery life. Matched with its slim form, the Aspire S3 will provide a fresh experience and set a major milestone in the history of Acer's notebook development."

Ultra-long unplugged freedom via instant on and connect Modern notebook users want to maximize their time and effort wherever they go. The Aspire S3 helps them make the most of their time via two new innovations: Acer Green Instant On, which delivers ultra-fast responsiveness, energy efficiency and enhanced power management; and Acer Instant Connect, which provides access to the Internet in just 2.5 seconds1,2 - four times faster than conventional connections - so users can go faster for better productivity and infotainment enjoyment. There's no compromise.

Acer Green Instant On provides two sleep modes from which the Aspire S3 responds with surprising speed: From Sleep the Aspire S3 will resume in a mere 1.5 seconds,2 and from Deep Sleep it resumes in 6 seconds.2 With these energy-conscious innovations, the Aspire S3's battery life lasts up to 50 days3,4 - even longer than regular mobile phone batteries!

Ultra-slim in an aerodynamic metal design For easy-to-carry convenience, the Aspire S3 measures 1.3 cm thin and weighs less than 1.4 kg (3 lbs.).5 It's also equipped with a full-size Acer FineTip chiclet keyboard, designed for comfortable use and maximum productivity. All-day usability is assured by a super-lightweight, high-density battery that delivers up to 7 hours6 of juice. The aerodynamic design of the Aspire S3 features a strong and lightweight aluminum/magnesium alloy chassis, and a lid with a fingerprint-free metal finish that feels as smooth as silk.

The 13.3" ultra-thin HD LED display adopts an open cell design to conserve materials by using the lid and bezel to form an aluminum frame for the screen. This creates a super-slim yet protective profile and reduces the energy required during manufacture as compared to conventional panel designs.

Innovative airflow design enhances comfort The Aspire S3 features a vent-free bottom so the notebook rests comfortably on the user's lap. Warm components are smartly placed away from the palmrest and touchpad area, so users won't feel any heat discomfort. Further innovation is offered via a new airflow design that dissipates warm air from the rear of the notebook, preventing air from blowing towards the user's hands. Finally, the fan motor is optimized to enhance efficiency and lower power consumption to help increase system battery life.

Uncompromising performance for content creation and enjoyment The Aspire S3 features the latest 2nd generation Intel® Core™ i3/i5/i7 processors for full computing and digital creation capability, and a choice of 240 GB SSD or 320/500 GB HDD with embedded SSD7 for ultra-fast access and ample media and data storage. Packing professionally-tuned Dolby® Home Theater® v4, the Aspire S3 delivers vibrant, cinema-style surround sound and enhanced dialogue quality for optimum listening experiences. Standard HDMI® output is also included for connecting the Aspire S3 to popular HD peripheral devices for high-def digital/video playback and extension. Furthermore, users can quickly and easily share data or download photos from their digital cameras using the 2-in-1 card reader that supports SD™ Cards and MultiMediaCard™.

On-the-go users can keep in touch with friends and colleagues with high-clarity video conferences thanks to the integrated Acer Crystal Eye 1.3 megapixel camera and microphone — with superior Wi-Fi® connections guaranteed by Acer InviLink™ Nplify™ 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ technology.8 Wireless convenience is enhanced by the addition of latest-generation Bluetooth® 4.0+HSR technology with lower power consumption. "We are very happy to see the formal launch of the Acer Aspire S3, Acer's first Ultrabook, and to be one of the leading time-to-market partners to place an Ultrabook in the market. The features of the Aspire S3, powered by 2nd generation Intel® Core™ processors — including instant on, instant connect, long battery life, and its elegant slim and light design — will satisfy many users' desire for a free and easy life on the go," said Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager of the Intel PC Client Group.

"As the only Ultrabook with an HDD option, the Aspire S3 offers the computing power and storage needs of a notebook, along with the mobile communication advantages of the smartphone and tablet PC," added Kan. "It's a major breakthrough in notebook design and will surely fortify our notebook competitiveness in the ICT market."

Priced between €799 and €1199, the Aspire S3 will start to roll out in select regions in September and ramp-up in October, and is expected to become Acer's star product during the fourth quarter. For product price, specifications and availability in each country, please contact Acer's local operations.

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