The Good The Acer Aspire S5 is an incredibly thin and light ultrabook that hides its ports, including Thunderbolt, behind a clever motorized door.
The Bad That port door, named the MagicFlip, is a potential problem if it ever breaks down. The keyboard isn't backlit, and battery life could be better.
The Bottom Line Even thinner and lighter than a 13-inch MacBook Air, the Acer Aspire S5 is a great example of an ambitious ultrabook, held back by a few flaws and its high price.
It was, that we first saw the $1,399 13-inch Acer Aspire S5 ultrabook. Of course, if you remember the S5 from CES, you'll recall its most unique feature -- a tiny motorized door at the back of the bottom panel that opens at the touch of a button, revealing a ports-and-connections block, including HDMI and Thunderbolt (making this one of only a handful of Thunderbolt laptops). Acer calls this the MagicFlip I/O Port.
It's certainly clever, and it earns points for originality and engineering. But call me crazy, I'd prefer to have my USB ports sitting right on the side of the laptop, easy to access without having to push a button and wait.
Another potential issue is that the MagicFlip is just one more mechanical part to potentially break down (but note that it has worked perfectly fine in the CNET Labs for several days and dozens of activations). If, for whatever reason, it gets stuck or stops working, you're sitting on a laptop with very limited connectivity. Especially in a thin, light ultrabook, having fewer moving parts is better -- hence the move to SSD storage over spinning-platter hard drives.
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