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.