You can add Acer to the long list of PC makers that are putting their new Windows 8 ultrabooks up for pre-order. Windows 8 versions of the Acer Aspire S3 and S7 ultrabooks go on sale October 26th, but you can pre-order starting today, with prics starting at $700.
Acer Aspire S3
The Acer Aspire S3 was one of the first ultrabooks to hit the market, and also one of the cheapest. Now that Asus is giving the S3 a Windows 8 makeover, it’s still one of the cheapest ultrabooks around. Newegg is taking pre-orders for $699.99.
At that price you shouldn’t expect a bleeding edge system, because you won’t get one.
Instead you get a computer with an Intel Core i3-2377M Sandy Bridge processor, Intel HG 3000 graphics, 4GB of memory, a 500GB hard drive, and 20GB solid state cache disk.
The notebook measures 12.6″ x 8.5″ x 0.7″ and weighs 3 pounds.
Acer Aspire S7
Acer’s new Aspire 7 ultrabooks are designed for Windows 8 and include Intel Ivy Bridge processors, multitouch displays, and solid state disks for speedy performance.
Prices are expected to start at $1199 for a model with an 11.6 inch screen. But right now I can only find 13 inch models for sale.
Newegg is taking orders for an Aspire S7 with a Core i5 CPU and 13.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel display and 128GB SSD for $1400.
There’s also a model with a Core i7 CPU and 256GB SSD for $1650.
Both versions measure 12.7″ x 8.8″ x 0.47″ and weigh 2.9 pounds. They feature 4GB of RAM, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, 2 USB 3.0 ports, and HDMI output. In addition to the touchscreen display, they have touchpads with support for multitoch gestures.
Acer says the laptops should get up to 6 hours of battery life.
I was interested in the 11.6″ version. Too bad instead of fixing any issues from the first public prototypes, they made them worse. They don’t mention Thunderbolt anymore. The battery life claims are less than half now. There’s mention of some external battery but it’s probably like any other external battery for notebooks. They kept the mini-ports.
I guess it’s going to be a while before I get an ultrabook. The sacrifices to make things uselessly thin are just too much.
It’s unfortunate that there isn’t much progress in the 11.6″ ultrabook category. I’m sure people looking at this category are looking for portability (small in all dimensions and not just thinness) and long battery life. Acer made some impressive claims at first with the S7 (9 hour battery life without an external battery and Thunderbolt) but they just couldn’t deliver.
Anyone know of any non-ultrabook 11.6″ notebooks with Core i ULVs? Something that doesn’t sacrifice battery life, number of ports and full-sized ports/slots. Also with upgradeable or at least 8 GB of soldered RAM (VMs and code compiling can use a lot).
Your best bet on notebooks for road warriors are the ThinkPad X200 series and the 12.5″ and lower HP EliteBooks. For justifiably more money there’s the Toughbook SX.
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