The recently announced Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook is now available with a solid state drive (SSD) and energy-efficient second-generation Intel Core i7 processor power. This new breed of ultra-light-weight PCs are just half-an-inch thin and weigh about 3 pounds. New technology lets them power on instantly and connect to the Web in seconds. Available this week at several retailers including Amazon, NewEgg, TigerDirect and BestBuy.com, the Core i7 version of the Aspire S3 Ultrabook retails for $1299 (Core i5 versions begin at $899).
Until now, Windows fans have had precious few alternatives to the MacBook Air. Sure, there’s Samsung’s Series 9, but just like the original Air, it’s far from cheap. Since then, of course, Apple has cut the Air’s starting price to $999, while the Windows options — now marketed as Ultrabooks — are about to mushroom in number. And so far, they’re all starting in the (more reasonable) neighborhood of a thousand bucks, making these pinch-thin, long-lasting laptops accessible to the budget-conscious masses.
Acer’s Aspire S3 was the first to hit the market here in the States, and with an entry price of $899, it’s currently the least expensive. That it’s skinny (just 13mm thick, to be exact), should be a given, but it also claims to wake from sleep in two seconds flat and reconnect to known networks in two and a half. But, as the least pricey Ultrabook on the shelf, it also forgoes some specs you might have liked to see — namely, all-flash storage and USB 3.0. But does that matter much when you’re potentially saving hundreds of dollars? Let’s find out.