The Aspire S7 wasn't the only Haswell Core Ultrabook Acer unveiled at Computex, as the Acer Aspire S3 was also announced. At a glance its hard to discern much difference between the S7 and the S3, but the spec sheet reveals some significant differences.
Both look the same, with the glossy white lid and aluminum chassis, but the S3 substitutes plastic for Gorilla Glass 2, and has a black keys instead of grey (both light sensing). The S3 is also beefier, weighing 3.6 pounds to the S7's 2.8. But for that extra heft, the S3 sports optional NVIDIA GT735M graphics and an HDD up to 1TB. Like the S7, the S3 is also available with a 128GB or 256GB SSD. The S3 also has more RAM, up to 10GB, compared with 8GB on the S7. It runs Windows 8, of course.
In fact, the Acer rep NotebookReview spoke with at Computex claimed that the S3 is technically not an Ultrabook, and that its user serviceable. NBR doubts both those claims, especially considering Acer announced it as an Ultrabook in press materials.
Otherwise, the 13.3-inch S3 is very similar to the S7 NBR praised earlier in the week. It has the same 1080 x 1920 IPS display as the full-HD S7 (not the WQHD model destined for Europe), same display hinge for wobble-free touch navigation, and same two-fan exhaust system that kept the S7 cool after two straight days of running, dubbed TwinAir. In fact, the S3 felt even cooler after three days.
Another exclusive feature is Acer Fast Resume, that Acer claims will wake the S3 from sleep mode in just one second, and automatically boot up the display from a powered-down state when the lid is open. We were able to test the fast wake, which worked as advertised, but not the lid power feature as Acer intends to keep the demo units running right through Computex as an example of exhaust system's prowess.
Overall, the S3 is shaping up to be a quality machine, and a nice alternative for those that want a little more out of their notebooks. It has a great design, and some of the better S7 elements, but NBR will reserve judgment until when we get one in for review.
There is no word from Acer on a US ship date, other than a vague Q3 promise. US pricing details are also elusive, though some outlets are reporting a €999 price tag for Europe.
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