New Acer ultrabook touted as ”world’s thinnest”

As the Consumer Electronics Show looms, Acer has unveiled a new entrant to the nascent ultrabook category. Say hello to the Aspire S5, a 13" machine Acer claims to be the "world’s thinnest ultrabook." See for yourself:

The Aspire S5 measures only 0.59" at its thickest point. That’s pretty thin. From what I’ve gathered, Intel’s ultrabook spec allows for a maximum thickness of 0.8". Asus’ sleek and slim Zenbook UX31 measures 0.11" at the front and 0.71" at the back, and the 13" MacBook Air is a slightly skinnier 0.11-0.68". Acer’s new baby doesn’t have a razor-thin, tapered front edge like its rivals, but it is indeed thinner at its thickest point. That ought to count for something, at least.

I’d love to tell you more about the Aspire S5, but Acer is being surprisingly coy. The press release says the system weighs about three pounds and "features an Intel® Core™ processor, SSD storage . . ., professionally-tuned Dolby® Home Theater® v4, long battery life via the PowerSmart battery pack (with a 3X longer life cycle than traditional batteries), and . . . a chiclet keyboard." Save, perhaps, for the Dolby certifications, those specs could just as well describe any other ultrabook on the market today.

Acer does, however, say when the Aspire S5 is going to ship: the second quarter of this year. Based on that schedule, I’d venture a guess that this ultrabook will pack one of Intel’s 22-nm Ivy Bridge processors. Perhaps that’s why it’s so thin… and why Acer is keeping so quiet right now..

Comments closed
    • Vivaldi
    • 8 years ago

    It had better not be 1366×768, although for the right price, I may be willing to compromise.

    • TaBoVilla
    • 8 years ago

    but will it fit inside a paper envelope? so my friends can hi-5 and worship me

      • MadManOriginal
      • 8 years ago

      Anything can fit in an envelope, you just need an envelope of the correct size.

    • End User
    • 8 years ago

    It looks great and it has a Thunderbolt port. Very nice.

    • AlvinTheNerd
    • 8 years ago

    Battery tech translation from marketing speak to engineering speak.

    LiCoO2, the standard chemistry in larger laptops, isn’t used because it can’t be made flat cheaply. For a long time the only option for laptops this thin was various types of Lithium polymer batteries which are very light but, for their physical size, don’t carry much charge. The Mac Air uses lithium polymer batteries.

    My guess is a different chemistry, LiFePO4, which has has recently come down in price and can be flattened cheaply, is being used here. LiFePO4 has more energy per cubic mm but less energy per gram than Lithium polymer. However, it has the very nice advantage of being able to charge about 2000 times before dying.

    Acer is leveraging the size benefits of LiFeP04 in their laptops and advertising the capacity benefits after 1000 charges, where LiFePO4 is the strongest and Lithium polymer the weakest. But the battery will weigh more and still won’t have the capacity of LiCoO2 found in a laptop that are a quarter inch thicker.

      • Chrispy_
      • 8 years ago

      I don’t have a problem with slightly heavier batteries if I get longer runtimes, and more recharges.

      Laptop weight is a little like cycle weight: You can shave weight off the bike all you want, but at the end of the day, losing 1lb from the frame and forks makes no real difference when the weight of you and the bike combined is still on the wrong side of 200lbs

    • indeego
    • 8 years ago

    Man whatever money you save on these things you probably want to invest in damage insurance+extra warranty coverage.

    And why focus on the “certified” sound? I’d rather they cut speakers altogether, there’s no chance I’d use this without headphones or external audio anyway.

      • EV42TMAN
      • 8 years ago

      “damage insurance or extra warranty coverage” people actually buy those?

        • indeego
        • 8 years ago

        On highly mobile devices yeah. At 10%-15% of the cost of the device, seems worth it for many devices. People drop/break them all the time.

      • ludi
      • 8 years ago

      I’ll settle for the mono onboard speaker so you’re not totally up a creek if you just need to hear something and headphones aren’t immediately available. The voicemail messages that my job’s IP phone system automatically forwards to email, for example.

      But yeah, having the full Dolby certified setup in something like this is kind of pointless. Especially if Dolby is ready to certify something that fits into 0.59 inch of depth, in which case the certification itself is pointless.

    • Chrispy_
    • 8 years ago

    OH MAN, I’M SOLD!!!!!11

    I was waiting for an 0.59″ notebook. Those 0.68″ models were FAR TOO BULKY.

    Thank you Acer for resolving this crisis.

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      The problem with the 0.68″ models is that you have to pay extra to get Windows on them. This Acer one comes with Windows.

        • axeman
        • 8 years ago

        You’re right, I find Windows worthless as well.

          • albundy
          • 8 years ago

          i guess non-directx gaming can be fun too…with a full lobotomy! why, even anyone in a vegetative state can still play them!

            • Corrado
            • 8 years ago

            You’re talking about gaming on an Ultrabook? Really?

        • mikehodges2
        • 8 years ago

        Have to?? Ha, please.

          • mikehodges2
          • 8 years ago

          Just to clear this up, I wasn’t talking about piracy!
          I meant OS X is a very capable once you learn how to use it, and for a laptop with a 13″ screen, I think it’s much better than windows – all of the multi touch gestures that allow fast window switching, and particularly being able to switch between multi desktops with a swipe of 4 fingers. It’s a very good setup when you’ve got a lot of browsers/office stuff on the go all at once…

          It was more of a “Don’t be a r-tard, windows isn’t all that” post 🙂

    • zdw
    • 8 years ago

    I wonder what the key feel is like on that.

    On some very inexpensive and lightweight keyboards, I’ve felt like the entire thing lifts when I’m not pressing buttons.

    Devices you interact with need a good level of heft to them or they just don’t feel right.

      • moog
      • 8 years ago

      It could be worse, it could feel like a touch device.

    • ShadowTiger
    • 8 years ago

    I know that the marketing people are convinced that having a competitive advantage like “the world’s thinnest laptop” will increase sales. Is there any hard evidence that they make more money on these frivolous pursuits vesus giving customers better value.

      • dpaus
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]Is there any hard evidence that they make more money on these frivolous pursuits vesus giving customers better value?[/quote<] You can start by comparing the profit margins at Ferrari vs Fiat, Saks vs. Walmart, Jean Paul Gaultier vs. Proctor & Gamble, etc.

        • Anarchist
        • 8 years ago

        or perhaps you can compare total revenue and total free cash flow to see who is actually doing better. Pandering to top 0.001% might do for ferrari and pandering to top 0.1% might do for saks but providing value for the bottom 90% will likely result in healthier business.

          • dpaus
          • 8 years ago

          We totally agree, although I would add that not all businesses use financial measures to determine if they’re ‘doing well’ But that aside, Acer is obviously a company that has done quite well for itself in the ‘value’ segment, and so presumably knows what to do – and not do – in that area. Interestingly, there are very, very few companies that can simultaneously ‘do well’ in both the ‘value’ and the ‘premium’ market segments, so it’ll be interesting to see how Acer does with this effort.

          • sschaem
          • 8 years ago

          “Considering two consecutive quarters of net losses in Q2+Q3 2011 and realized to many products which Acer sells 101 individual notebook, netbook and chromebook SKUs in the United States only, Acer will cut product lines by two thirds begins in 2012”

          Making cheap stuff for the 99% is not working out so well for Acer….

          Want to look at Apple PC division to know if Apple made money in Q2 and Q3 2011?

            • ludi
            • 8 years ago

            Think about that quote you just provided — that’s a classic case of poor inventory/SKU management, and for products like laptops, it costs a lot of money to maintain that many discrete products. Especially when any five or ten of them probably do nearly the same thing at similar pricepoints, and thus could have captured the same number of customers with less overhead cost.

            Can’t say that proves anything about Acer’s ability to make money on its product-positioning strategy if they were actually executing that strategy correctly, instead of spamming the market to see what sticks.

      • Klanky
      • 8 years ago

      Apple?

        • willyolio
        • 8 years ago

        yeah. i remember one generation of ipods where they made it 0.01″ thinner. yes, one one-hundredth of an inch thinner. and the press went wild. or maybe it was just the fanboys.

          • nico1982
          • 8 years ago

          Actually, Apple – and its cultists, see other replies to the news 😛 – don’t consider thinness as an indefeasible feature since they lost the primacy everywhere: laptops, phones and tablets. It will be be a top priority again if and when they’ll get back ahead of the competition 😉

          Sent from my iMac 😛

      • LaChupacabra
      • 8 years ago

      Think of it like nVidia’s graphics card business. The bulk of their revenue comes from cards sold to consumers for playing videogames, but the bulk of their profit comes from their quadro and tesla lines. Acer isn’t going to leave the high volume PC business, but if they can cater to that .01% of the world population you are talking about an absolute massive amount of profit.

    • Duck
    • 8 years ago

    And yet it probably has a mushy keyboard. They just don’t get it do they?

    • dpaus
    • 8 years ago

    Does this sleeve make me look fat?

    • Anarchist
    • 8 years ago

    just what we need … an anorexic computer …

      • dpaus
      • 8 years ago

      So it will swallow a healthy amount of data, but then goes away and purges?

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        You need to get your eating disorders straight.

          • dpaus
          • 8 years ago

          Not familiar with anorexia nervosa? Or have some new research you can pass on to my step-daughter’s doctor?

          Actually, and to our great relief, she’s mostly over it, and back to a healthy weight again, so hopefully she won’t be seeing that doctor again.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 8 years ago

            Traditional use of the term bulimia is the eat/purge, where as traditionally anorexia is just not eating. If there’s some weird outlier with your kid (which, by the way, would be terrifying in and of itself, I’m sure), that doesn’t mean the term anorexia changes for everyone else.

            edit: and Wikipedia doesn’t say anything about purging, only a refusal to eat. Not that it’s infallible, just that you’re using a term in a way that most people are unfamiliar. [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anorexia_nervosa[/url<]

            • dpaus
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]Wikipedia doesn't say anything about purging, only a refusal to eat[/quote<] With respect, my friend, please read point #10 of the link you provided: [quote<]purging: uses laxatives, diet pills, ipecac syrup, or water pills; may engage in self-induced vomiting; may run to the bathroom after eating in order to vomit and quickly get rid of the calories[19][20] (see also bulimia nervosa)[/quote<] Like many conditions, there are the 'mainstream' versions that become stereotyped and then the 100s of variations. As indicated in the link, bulimia [nervosa] is a subset of anorexia [nervosa]. Fortunately, her case was not severe, and she has moved beyond it, to the point that even she now makes light of it. But she knew (and still knows) other girls who have not escaped it, and for whom it is not funny at all.

            • Chrispy_
            • 8 years ago

            /Yawn.

            I though this was a tech comments board, not a medical pissing-contest over the inaccuracies of Wikipedia.

            • ludi
            • 8 years ago

            The word itself parses to (a-), a negating prefix, (-orex-), desire or appetite, and (-ia), a condition. Literally, “a condition of no appetite.” Similarly, bulimia is (bou-), an intenstive prefix, (-lim-), hunger, and (-ia), a condition. So, “a condition of excessive appetite.”

            So you can hardly fault people for sticking with the traditional definitions they learned in high school. As Chrispy_ says, this ain’t no WebMD.

          • NeelyCam
          • 8 years ago

          But dpaus is funny.

            • dpaus
            • 8 years ago

            First thing on a Monday morning, funny is not always amusing 🙂

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