Acer's latest ultrabooks sport touch screens, Windows 8By Rick Burgess
Acer continues to fortify its upcoming Windows 8 line up. The company's latest additions are the M5-481PT and M5-581T: touch screen-enabled, Ivy Bridge-toting "ultrabooks" equipped with 14-inch and 15.6-inch displays, respectively. Both models will feature reasonable prices tags of $699 and $799 -- the largest one being the most expensive, of course.
Did you notice "ultrabooks" was in quotes? Acer claims their new offerings are "robust yet thin and light"; however, it's safe to say they are just robust. Acer's 14-inch model weighs in at a relatively shoulder-fatiguing 4.6 pounds while the 15.6-incher is actually expected to tip the scale at "about 5 pounds". Although Intel's ultrabook guidelines don't explicitly set a weight limit (they should, by the way), that's a full pound heavier than most ultrabooks out there on the market today. These numbers put Acer's latest laptops squarely into the upper tier of pre-diabetic ultrabooks.
Insert joke about irresistible compulsions to consume mass quantities of dense yellow sponge cake injected with generous globs of marshmallow cream here.
Although the models are hefty, they are packing Intel Core i5 CPUs and a storage configuration which pairs a 20GB SSD and a 500GB mechanical drive. Some nice-to-see features include back-lit keyboards, a "sleek metal chassis", an optical drive, 2 x USB 3.0 ports and a projected 8 hour battery life.
Acer also purports their PowerSmart battery technology increases battery lifespans up to 3 times (80 percent life after 1000 cycles versus 300) -- a claim we'll have to see to believe.
The M5 additions will supplement Acer's other yet to be released Windows 8 offerings, such as the Iconia W700 tablet and the Aspire S7 Ultrabook series. Both lineups were actually announced earlier this month. The Aspire S7 will arrive in 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch configurations and weigh a mere 2.29 and 2.86 pounds, respectively. However, although the S7s may be half the weight of Acer's M5 offerings, they're also twice the price -- the ultrabooks are expected to run $1200 for the 11.6-inch model and $1400 for the 13.3-incher.
Both the M5-481PT and M5-581T will be exclusively sold at Best Buy.