Acer announces $899 Aspire S3 ultrabook

Well, I guess it’s official: Acer’s first ultrabook is going to sell for $899. Acer announced the system’s North American debut earlier this morning, saying you’ll be able to snag it this week from "leading retailers" in the U.S. and Canada.

Acer’s Aspire S3-951 Ultrabook has a 13.3", 1366×768 display, a Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 20GB integrated solid-state drive, a 320GB mechanical hard drive, and a six-hour battery. Acer boasts the system can wake from sleep in just two seconds—likely thanks to the SSD, which is "integrated with the mainboard" and "stores the operating system and maintains the current PC’s state as it was when left unattended."

Being an ultrabook, the S3 is rather thin and light, too. Acer says its magnesium-aluminum alloy chassis measures just 0.51" at its thinnest point and 0.68" at its thickest. The whole system tips the scales at only 2.98 lbs, so it should be about as heavy as most netbooks (albeit a little larger, since that 13.3" display does take up some space).

That all sounds like a pretty good deal for $899—and yes, both the aforementioned price and the specs specifically apply to the S3-951 model, so this isn’t a case of a manufacturer touting one configuration and quoting the price for another. All of a sudden, that $999, 11.6" MacBook Air is starting to look a lot less appealing…

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    I look forward to the day when thin and light notebooks are the rule, not the exception, similar to how today’s stylish (relatively speaking) models have replaced the thicker, squarish models that were prevalent in the 90’s.

    • Hattig
    • 8 years ago

    Ugh, 1366×768. 1440×810 (or 1440×900) would be better. 1600×900 even more so.

    • Duck
    • 8 years ago

    This reeks of mediocrity.

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      Why? Because it doesn’t have a picture of a fruit on it?

        • Duck
        • 8 years ago

        The specs, the design. Bland, conservative, no innovation, uninteresting. Only equal to the sum of it’s parts at best. Another “me too” product, soon to be lost in a sea of competing “me too” products.

    • marvelous
    • 8 years ago

    That does look sleek.

    Techreport sure loves ultra notebooks don’t you Scott?

    • henfactor
    • 8 years ago

    Anyone else find the Acer name etched on magnesium look… Out of place? I’m so used to it being behind greasy finger prints on glossy plastic bodies…

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 8 years ago

    For the dingdongs:

    Z68 motherboard = automated hybrid storage

    20GB SSD = what Intel said to use with it

    Now, unless you know better than Intel, I think I’d stop complaining about something that will drive SSD adoption and lower prices.

      • drfish
      • 8 years ago

      Do. Not. Want.

      A mechanical HD in an ultrabook? No thanks.

        • willyolio
        • 8 years ago

        you know, it’s the SSD that’s integrated into the motherboard, not the mechanical HD.

        • Peldor
        • 8 years ago

        Acer will also offer a 240GB SSD option. Don’t know what that upgrade will run you though.

          • nico1982
          • 8 years ago

          Keep in mind retail european prices do include taxes
          [url<]http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.hwupgrade.it%2Fnews%2Fportatili%2Fultrabook-acer-aspire-s3-in-italia-a-partire-da-799euro_38867.html[/url<]

      • A_Pickle
      • 8 years ago

      That sounds pretty good, but…

      …I know what kind of graphics performance I want, and I know that Intel isn’t the place to look.

    • apertur3
    • 8 years ago

    only 20GB? I don’t understand. my %WINDIR% alone is 26.7 GiB. Are they using some sort of fancy symlink scheme to move inconsequential stuff to the 320GB drive? This configuration seems like it’d be a huge headache to maintain. Now, a 64 or 80 GiB drive, I could do. 20GB? Forget it. I’ll wait until the next round. I’ve been wanting a dual storage configuration like this in a laptop for a long time – but this one isn’t enough. I also understand that they integrate the NAND to the motherboard to save on costs – but at least make it some sort of eject-able card that you can replace when it gets worn down. Even though write cycle worries on SSD’s are seemingly overblown, it’d be nice to be able to swap your primary drive out when it gets worn down or you simply want a capacity upgrade.

      • rado992
      • 8 years ago

      Z68’s SSD caching? Does Intel Smart Response Technology ring any bells? 🙂 With only 20GB of flash I’m 99% sure they’ll just use it for SRT and make it invisible to the user. Imagine the possible headaches if one’s C: drive was only 20 gigs and with Windows 7 on it…

        • 5150
        • 8 years ago

        If they’re implementing SRT then I take back what I said. Bravo Acer.

    • 5150
    • 8 years ago

    …20GB integrated solid-state drive…which is “integrated with the mainboard”.

    This is going to cause all kinds of headaches. Too small, drive is going to get full, any kind of garbage collection is going to be impossible.

      • drfish
      • 8 years ago

      Eww… I’d rather have 40GB built in and no mechanical drive at all… Obviously a 1.8″ or smaller removable SSD would be better yet…

      • willmore
      • 8 years ago

      Maybe they’re just using it as a cache for the HD using Intels new tech?

    • Voldenuit
    • 8 years ago

    Too bad intel didn’t specify a requirement that ultrabook makers have to use a keyboard that doesn’t suck. Acer’s flat-topped glossy keycaps are one of the worst in the industry – they’re wobbly, slippery and have no feedback. Will that change with the S3? I’m not holding my breath.

      • 5150
      • 8 years ago

      Or a screen that doesn’t suck, which this most certainly will.

      • ludi
      • 8 years ago

      Standard Acer. The overall package is appealing and the price is competitive, but there are a couple inevitable quality tradeoffs, and I’m guessing the post-retail service and support is still pretty thin.

    • demani
    • 8 years ago

    Well, that 11″ MBA is also smaller and lighter. Compare this to the 13″ MBA and the differences are principally storage space, screen resolution and battery life. And there its all about the tradeoffs- the TB port lets you connect to a number of other devices.

    I am interested in this though, just wish the screen were a higher resolution-when trying to make things cheaper they always skimp on the screen… Will look forward to a review about the screen, keyboard, and trackpad quality, as well as the overall sturdiness of the chassis.

    • Squeazle
    • 8 years ago

    Looks sexy. I hope the higher end versions also feature higher end screens though.

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