Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Acer launches Ultrabook, a Macbook Air competitor at almost half the price!

Acer India has announced the launch of the Aspire S3 Ultrabook, that they claim is the “world’s thinnest Ultrabook”. The Ultrabook S3 will essentially be the Windows stable’s response to the extremely sleek Apple MacBook Air.

To enable instant connectivity, Acer have introduced two types of sleep mode with this machine- Sleep that will resume Windows in 2 seconds and Deep Sleep that will restore your last Windows session in 6 seconds. This laptop comes with Lithium Polymer batteries, and not the usual Lithium-Ion batteries that we were seeing with most devices over the last few years. Acer claims that the battery offers 7 hours of usage time and a standby time of 50 days.

Mr. W S Mukund, Managing Director, Acer India said, “In line with our corporate mission we have time and again designed devices to break barriers between people and technology. We have redefined our position in the marketplace by making India’s first Ultrabook commercially available at a mainstream price. We will continue to focus on our strengths to bring in innovative technologies that would enable consumers to experience technology and derive multiple benefits.”

The S3 comes with a 13.3-inch HD LED display, a choice of Intel Core i3 and Core i5 processors, 240GB SSD or the 320GB/500GB HDD, Intel HD graphics, HDMI out and weights about 1.4kg. The magnesium aluminum chassis and the fingerprint free metal finish offer a classy look.

The prices of the Aspire S3 Ultrabook start at Rs 49,999/-, and Croma have announced they will be selling it at all their outlets in 13 cities.

Our initial impressions about the product

The S3 does look pretty classy, and feels well built as well. Putting a MacBook Air right next to it put the critical point – the slimness, to test. Both laptops are similarly thick towards the rear, but as you come towards the front, the Air gets slimmer more than the S3. While the Air offers all the ports on the sides, the S3 offers a majority of them on the back. Quite profound are the cooling vents, since this is the thickest part of the machine. Contrast this to the MacBook Air, which hides away the vents under the display hinge.

The Chiclet keypad was quite comfortable to use. The unit on display came preloaded with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, 320GB hard drive and Intel HD 3000 graphics. Even though it is a 64-bit OS, only 3.85GB of the total 4GB RAM was available for the system. The rest has been reserved to enable the new Sleep modes. The Windows Experience Index of 4.5 does indicate a stable performance.

We believe that at a starting price of Rs 49,999 with a second gen Intel Core i3 processor and a 320GB hard drive, the S3 does seem like a good deal. What you will get is a very sleek and solidly build notebook, something that is very light to carry around and has the Windows familiarity about it. We will give you our detailed verdict when we get the laptop for a detailed review. Do stay tuned for that.


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