Acer Aspire S3 MS2346

Measuring just 1.3cm thick and weighing 1.4kg, the S3 is a svelte offering. Apple's 13.3-inch MacBook Air in comparison measures 1.7cm thick and weighs 1.35kg

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Acer Aspire S3 MS2346 With slim lines and adequate brawn, could this be the real rival to the Macbook Air?
By  Jason Saundalkar Published  November 18, 2011

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Key Specs

Audio: Y
Card reader: Y
Display adapter: Intel HD graphics
Display screen: 13.3-inch
Internal storage: 20GB SSD, 240GB hard drive

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Acer's Aspire S3 MS2346 is the first ultrabook we've encountered and with a price tag of US $1,008, it is one of the least expensive ultrabooks on the market today.

The S3 is part of an all new series of notebooks for Acer and with regards to the Middle East region, the company claims that it is the first to hit the market with this new category of products.

Intel unveiled this new notebook category earlier in the year at Computex, Taipei. The sample on test here is an early engineering model but we're told this sample is comprised of the same hardware that will make it into retail units.

Aesthetically speaking the Aspire S3 is a sharp looking machine with a predominately gray exterior. There's a slight hint of black near the hinges for the LCD screen, which provides a nice contrast. The exterior boasts a slight rough texture and we're pleased to report that the surface does not pickup smudges or fingerprints at all.

Measuring just 1.3cm thick and weighing 1.4kg, the S3 is a svelte offering. Apple's 13.3-inch MacBook Air in comparison measures 1.7cm thick and weighs 1.35kg. Despite the fact that the S3 is slightly slimmer in terms of thickness, the Air's stylish and contoured design makes it seem like a slimmer proposition to the naked eye.

Acer claims this ultrabook offers up to seven hours of battery life but unfortunately, being a preproduction model, we were unable to run our Imtec battery benchmark to confirm the numbers for ourselves. The Aspire S3 crashed constantly every time we configured the benchmark test to run through a full cycle.

Unfortunately, we had the same problems when it was time to test the machine's application and gaming performance. Every time we fired up PCMark Vantage or one of our gaming tests, the machine would simply crash back to the desktop within a matter of minutes. The only figures we were able to retrieve were the boot and shutdown times at 36 seconds and six seconds respectively. These are both very swift times. Acer claims the machine can resume from sleep (not deep sleep) in 1.5 seconds and in testing we found the machine needed only two seconds. While this is 0.5 seconds off Acer's claim, it's far from a slow time.

Since the machine sports a 1.7GHz dual-core Sandy Bridge processor and 4GB of DDR3 memory, performance should be competitive with Apple's MacBook Air, as well as with other portable and ultra-portable machines on the market today. Due to its integrated graphics subsystem however, this machine will not be able to run even older DirectX 9 gaming titles. Since ultrabooks were never meant to be gaming machines however, this isn't too much of a concern.

For: Sleek design, great looks and finish, bright LCD screen, quick boot and shutdown times, fast resume performance.
Against: No USB3.0 ports.
Verdict: While overall performance is a question mark, Acer’s Aspire S3 is a solid alternative to the MacBook Air in terms of portability.

2628 days ago
User rating: 3 stars

Pros: Chepish omared to others

Cons: Doesn't apper to have bluetooth although the sticker on the box claims to have. Battery doesn't last as long as claimed

At the price its at it an OK deal although speca are somewhat vague. Mine came with a 500G drive and I've no idea if it also has a 20G SSD inside...the shop I bought it from said yes but I'm pretty convinced its a no as for the bluetooth I'm more and more convinced it doesn't have one althought the spec on the box claims it comes with bluetooth 4.0 (maybe its a virtual bt??). Battery which is supposed to last 6 hours barely makes it through 3.5 hours that is unless you just leave it on and don't do anything with it. Using ubuntu its even worse at just under 2 hours. All that saidits an ok buy at the price.

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