Acer adds new, touch-enabled ultrabooks for Win8


— 9:49 AM on October 11, 2012

A couple of days ago, we learned about Acer's Windows 8-toting Iconia W510 tablet. Now, the PC maker has unveiled a pair of ultrabooks primed for Microsoft's new operating system—and one of them has a touch screen. Ooh!

Okay, so the Aspire M5-481PT might not be as slim ans sexy as, say, that Yoga tablet we wrote about yesterday. Its touch screen measures 14 inches diagonally, and the system weighs in at a rather hefty 4.6 lbs. Still, Acer has housed the M5-481PT in a silver-colored aluminum alloy chassis, which gives it a somewhat distinguished air:

The other ultrabook Acer is introducing today, the magnesium-clad M5-581T, is even larger and heavier. It has a 15.6" screen (sans touch capabilities) and weighs "about 5 pounds." At least it costs a little less: $699.99, down from $799.99 for the M5-481PT.

Size differences aside, the two systems apparently have similar guts. Acer talks of Ivy Bridge processors, 20GB solid-state drives backed by 500GB of mechanical storage, USB 3.0 connectivity, Dolby Home Theater v4-certified speakers, backlit keyboards, and eight-hour batteries. Speaking of which, the Aspire M5 series purportedly has more durable batteries than usual. Their PowerSmart battery packs can withstand "up to three times" more cycles before needing to be replaced, Acer claims.

Now, these look like fine systems, but I'm still a little surprised that fairly hefty 14" and 15" machines qualify as ultrabooks. I thought the whole point was to ape Apple's MacBook Air lineup, which maxes out at 13" and just under three pounds. Acer says the M5 series will be available exclusively at Best Buy in the U.S., though, so perhaps it's meant to cater to shoppers who prize large, colorful displays more than portability.

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