updated 09:30 am EDT, Mon October 10, 2011
Acer Aspire S3 ultrabook reaches US
Acer claimed the distinction of being the first to ship to the US outside of Apple in Intel's new ultrabook category by proving launch details for the Aspire S3. The very thin 13-inch notebook will try to undercut Apple on price by carrying an $899 price tag when it ships to the US and Canada this week. The base trim gives it a low-power Core i5 along with 4GB of RAM and a rare mix of both a 20GB SSD for speed and a 320GB rotating drive for space.
Potentially cheaper systems with Core i3s, as well as faster Core i7 models, will also be coming, Acer said.
The design is consciously intended to replicate the appeal of the MacBook Air and has a similar aluminum, three-pound chassis. Acer promises a fast 2.5-second wake from sleep time and a long 50 days of standby. Its design makes some sacrifices to get to the lower price, including a lower 1366x768 screen resolution and a shorter six-hour battery life.
A launch for the Aspire S3 follows just a day before the ASUS UX launch and is potentially the real gauge of whether or not the ultrabook category can survive outside of Apple. The two Taiwan-area PC builders have reportedly planned small shipment numbers both to test the waters and as a suspicion that Apple may have cornered the audience.
Apple's base system costs more and has a smaller 11-inch screen, but it also uses only solid-state storage and is much lighter at 2.3 pounds. The 13-inch model is more expensive but uses a bigger 128GB flash drive.