After a lukewarm reception with its first-gen ultrabook, Acer is ready for a second round. The new Aspire S5 is being touted as the thinnest ultrabook currently available, measuring just 15mm at its thickest point. It will be interesting to see if that new benchmark holds on by the time CES is over this week, but in the meantime Acer is happy to show the S5's thin frame composed of a magnesium-aluminum alloy cover and palmrest with brushed metallic accents.
The S5 is a 13.3-inch laptop weighing in at about 3 pounds, powered by a yet-to-be-announced Intel Core processor (we suspect Ivy Bridge), it will come stock with a SSD drive, Dolby audio, and Acer's Instant On for fast boot and back from sleep times of 1.5 seconds. Acer has further refined the ultrabook by concealing much of its connectivity ports behind a push-panel below the hinge, where you will find a 20 Gbps Thunderbolt port, HDMI and USB 3.0 ports.
Acer's previous S3 ultrabook was a relatively good value, but it was criticized for being too plasticky and for not running long enough on battery. Acer seems to be specifically addressing those shortcomings and more with the S5. The ultrabook is not expected to ship until Q2 however.
Also new is Acer's Timeline Ultra which is an evolution of their previous Timeline models, or if you want, a 14 and 15-inch alternative to the sea of ultrabooks that usually come in the 13.x" form factor. The Timeline Ultra is 20mm thick, offers 8 hours of battery life, uses today's Core i processors, SSD or HDD option, HDMI out, USB 3.0, and surprisingly a slim optical drive unit. The Timeline Ultra laptops are expected to ship this quarter.
Acer is also talking about their "Always Connect" technology, present in both the Timeline Ultra and the S5 ultrabook, letting users access files and media from smartphones or tablets, even while the computer is on sleep mode.
The Acer Aspire S3 is 0.51 inches thin and weighs only 2.98 pounds. Its chassis is made from magnesium alloy and under the hood it packs an Intel Core i5 processor, a 20GB solid-state drive operating system and the machine’s current state, as well as a 320GB hard drive for storage. The S3's LED-backlit display offers a 1,366 by 768-pixel resolution and is driven by the CPU's integrated Intel HD graphics 3000 graphics processor.
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