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Acer Aspire S3 hands on

Acer's Aspire S3 is the first "Ultrabook" to hit Australia, despite there being very similar thin and light laptops before. We got our hands on the device to see what it's all about.

Craig Simms
Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.
Craig Simms
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1 of 7 Craig Simms/CBSi

Acer announced today its Aspire S3 Ultrabook, the first of its type to reach Australia.

The Ultrabook is a new thing for Acer, but looks rather similar to another product you may be familiar with. Well, maybe more than one. Still, this isn't a bad thing — for laptops, thin is cool, and the game is trying to jam in as many features as possible without losing performance.

Acer also has four different models, so we'll be fascinated where the Aspire S3 falls on both the battery and the performance scales, and exactly how snappy the solid-state drive (SSD) option is.

In the meantime, if thin is your thing, we've got photos of our brief hands on with Acer's latest, to whet your appetite until the full review.

Look familiar? Unlike the unibody aluminium MacBook Air, Acer's feels a little more plastic, and a bit cheaper thanks to its aluminium/magnesium alloy chassis. The price doesn't bear this out, though — expect to pay more than Apple's competitor. It remains to be seen if battery life and performance make it worth it.

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2 of 7 Craig Simms/CBSi

At its thinnest point, the 13.3-inch laptop is 13mm and 17mm at its thickest. Acer claims its "Instant On" tech will allow it to turn on from hibernate in 1.5 seconds. Not really instant, but decently fast.

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3 of 7 Craig Simms/CBSi

The SD card reader is the only thing that adorns the right-hand side. Those arrow keys will require some precision manoeuvring.

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4 of 7 Craig Simms/CBSi

Power, HDMI port and two USB 2.0 ports. We guess Acer either didn't have the room to put in a USB 3.0 chip or couldn't hit price point with the extra cost involved.

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5 of 7 Craig Simms/CBSi

It cuts a sharp profile, and is reasonably nice to hold. At just a shade under 1.35kg, it's quite light, too. It'll be available in Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 variants.

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6 of 7 Craig Simms/CBSi

Apparently, the shiny bit conceals the hard drive. We'll be doing our best to pry it off once a review unit comes in.

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7 of 7 Craig Simms/CBSi

The single-piece touch pad is multi-touch, with both buttons integrated into the pad itself. The island-style keyboard is sadly not backlit.

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