Acer America today announced the Oct. 26th availability of the new Acer Aspire S7 Touch Ultrabook Series in North America. Previewed in Europe and Asia, the S7 is already one of the more hotly anticipated touch-enabled Windows 8 Ultrabooks to debut this holiday season. Acer claims these Ultrabooks are "as thin as a tablet" with clean, futuristic designs. We say the use of straight lines, glossy white glass, glowing lights and anodized aluminum certainly give these Ultrabooks a unique look.
All models in the S7 Series feature a unibody design made from a single block of aluminum (not unlike an Apple MacBook Air), so their chassis are thin yet still tough for use on the road. All models in the S7 Series feature full high definition IPS 10-point displays with 1920 x 1080 resolution. Those IPS display panels deliver wide viewing angles for consistent and accurate color even when you're viewing the screen from an extreme angle of 178 degrees.
Of course, one of main design elements that set these S7 Ultrabooks apart from competitors is the white design. The full high-definition screen on the 13.3-inch S7-391 is surrounded by a glossy white Gorilla Glass 2 cover that is smooth to the touch while still offering a strong, scratch-resistant surface that's easy to clean. Acer also included a layer of cushion material between the aluminum frame and the Gorilla Glass, so if the S7 is dropped, the impact will mainly be absorbed by the cushion layer and not the glass. This greatly reduces chance of significant damage.
The smaller and lighter S7-191 model includes an 11.6-inch high definition touchscreen, and features an all-aluminum unibody and aluminum cover with a cross direction brushed finish. The result is a surface texture resembling fabric. It looks nice and adds to its durability while also repelling finger prints and smudges.
Windows 8 Is All About Touch
The S7 Series takes full advantage of the touch benefits associated with Windows 8. The touchscreen on the S7-391 models can be laid back flat 180 degrees, and the image orientation reversed for sharing content and collaborating with others.
Acer developed a special dual torque hinge on the lid, which was necessary to provide enough resistance for touch control. Using techniques from the automotive industry allowed Acer to directly attach the hinge structure to the forged display frame, so the display frame is actually part of the hinge. It also affixes both the display panel and glass as well. This is what enables the display to stay upright and stable even when touched.
Power and Portability
Despite its thin design, the Aspire S7 includes a 3rd Generation Intel Core i5-3317UB or i7-3517U processor and solid state drives in a RAID 0 configuration for extremely fast read/write times. An embedded Li-Polymer battery provides up to 6 hours of battery life, and an optional second battery doubles computing time up to 12 hours.
In addition, the S7 ships with a micro HDMI to VGA cable for use with projectors for presentations, a USB to RJ45 port for connecting to a wired network and a carrying case.
Unique Thermal Design and a Unique Keyboard
To keep these thin S7 Ultrabooks running cool, Acer a new dual-fan thermal solution called "TwinAir" cooling. This cooling system should extend battery life and keep the Ultrabook cool and comfortable to use on your lap. Two small high-speed (10,000 rpm) fans are used; one to pull in cool air, while another pushes out hot air.
Acer incorporated an electroluminescent (El) backlit keyboard which automatically turns on and off and adjusts its brightness level based on the ambient light. Acer claims this light sensing backlit keyboard is the thinnest backlit solution currently available, and is optimized for visual comfort and easy visibility in dim environments. The electroluminescent lighting offers a gentler and more comfortable light than LED backlit keyboards.
A Car Alarm For Your Laptop?
All models in the Aspire S7 Series also include "Acer Theft Shield," a free software based solution. When enabled, the Ultrabook recognizes the distance from a designated Wi-Fi signal source, and if the system moves beyond 10 feet of the signal, a loud siren will sound from the Ultrabook's speakers. This should make it easier to prevent "grab and go" thefts while you're using the Ultrabook at a local coffee shop ... and since the battery is integrated into the chassis a thief cannot simply remove the battery to stop the alarm. Of course, the way that some Wi-Fi routers work, we suspect there's a possibility the alarm will go off even if your laptop hasn't moved. Acer assures us that users will find it easy to disable the alarm, but we're eager to test this feature for ourselves.
Pricing and Availability
The Aspire S7 Series starts at $1,199 for the 11.6-inch model and $1,399 for the 13.3-inch model. The Aspire S7 series will be available for purchase on October 26 at leading retailers across North America.
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