Acer's first "ultrabook" is finally hitting the market this week with a price below the magic $1,000 mark and a surprisingly good feature set. The 13.3-inch 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 system'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. It ships with a standard 4GB of RAM and offers connectivity options like USB and HDMI ports, a memory card reader, a headphone port, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0+ HSR.
In terms of battery performance, Acer is claiming 6 hours of continuous use and a whopping 50 days of standby power. The company has implemented a Green Instant On feature that can wake up the system from Sleep mode in just 2 seconds, or if the laptop goes into Deep Sleep mode (after 8 hours of nonuse) it can wake in 6 seconds. They also did away with the bottom vents and tweaked the machine to dissipate heat more efficiently.
The Aspire SE-951 will go on sale this week at U.S. and Canadian retailers for a suggested price of $900. Acer expects to roll out other Ultrabook models with Core i3 and Core i7 processor options as well as larger SSDs, but there's no date or pricing details yet. By comparison, Apple's 13-inch MacBook Air starts at $1,299 and comes with a 1.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB flash storage.