On the heels of IHS's doom-and-gloom report on the ultrabook market, Acer has unveiled a new series of ultrabooks geared toward Windows 8. These systems feature 1080p IPS touch screens, ultra-thin profiles, and unfortunately, rather formidable price tags: $1,199 for the 11.6" Aspire S7 and a whopping $1,399 for the 13.3" model.
These are obviously premium machines, though. Acer touts their aluminum unibody designs and "razor thin" profiles, which are as thin as 0.47 inches, "depending on the model." Both the 11.6" and 13.3" Aspire S7 variants feature 1080p IPS panels (much like Asus' Zenbook Prime), and those displays are clad in Gorilla Glass to ward off scratches. The announcement says something about a "unique dual torque hinge design," too, which prevents the display from moving when you're using the touch screen. Not that the display can't move if you want it to—the 13.3" Aspire S7 can purportedly tilt its screen back "a full 180 degrees" in order to lie flat on a table or desk.
Crammed under their (backlit) keyboards, Acer's Aspire S7 ultrabooks pack the latest Ivy Bridge processors: Intel's Core i5-3317UB and Core i7-3517U. They include solid-state storage, of course, and Acer apparently lets you configure dual SSDs in a RAID-0 configuration for maximum performance. And there are two lithium-polymer batteries. One of them offers six hours of run time, and the other, which Acer says is optional, can boost those run times by another six hours or so.
The Aspire S7 series will be available in conjunction with Windows 8 on October 26. According to Acer, you'll be able to find them at "leading retailers across North America."
Given Windows 8's image scaling hurdles with the 13.3" Zenbook Prime, I'm not all that hyped up about the 13.3" Aspire S7. Since it has the same resolution and screen size, users will probably be stuck between the same unpleasant scaling extremes in Metro. Perhaps the 11.6" offering will offer a better compromise, though.
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