Acer set aside a solid chunk of time at their Computex 2013 press conference to detail the updates to their Aspire S ultrabook series. The second generation Aspire S3 and S7 both build on their predecessors, with the lower-cost S3 in particular receiving a substantial upgrade.
The second generation Aspire S7 will feature 4th generation Intel core processors – the oft-talked about Haswell chips that will be officially unveiled tomorrow. A 4th generation i5 or i7 will be backed by Intel’s integrated graphics, which reportedly are no joke with the Haswell chipset. Maybe not high-end gaming quality, but it should do for the average user.
There will also be lots more options for the new S7, the most significant of which is probably the display – a WQHD 2,560 x 1,440 display is available, in addition to the older FHD 1920 x 1080 display found on the first generation S7. You can get either 4 GB or 8 GB of RAM, and a 128 GB or 256 GB RAID 0 SSD. There is one less option available, though – the S7 will now only be available as a 13” notebook. The 11” S7 is no more.
Corning Gorilla Glass is still on the lid, and the frame is still aluminum. Like the old S7, the hinge is reinforced, and folds back 180 degrees. The keys on the (backlit) keyboard are a little deeper, and the battery has been increased by 33 percent, with Acer estimating battery life at around seven hours. The S7 is very light and thin – 1.3 kg and 12.9 mm thick. Outside, there are, two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI out, and a card reader.
The Aspire S3 isn’t the flagship model, but it’s pretty respectable in its own right – in fact, some people might even find the cheaper model more attractive. The S3 has been totally redesigned to look a lot like the S7, and that includes the aluminum frame, although you won’t find Gorilla Glass on the lid like with the S7. The only steps down are in display quality and weight and thickness. The 13” S3 tops out at a FHD 1920 x 1080 display (hardly shabby), with a cheaper 1366 x 768 option available. It’s 1.65 kg and 17.8 mm thick – heavier and thicker, but it’s not going to break your back. Outside, there are three USB ports (two USB 3.0), HDMI out, and a card reader. 4th generation Intel core processors 13 through i7 will also be there for you to pick from.
The good news is that those who aren’t fans of Intel’s integrated graphics won’t have to see it in the S3. Instead, the S3 will come with an NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M 1 GB DDR3 RAM graphics processor, backed by up to 10 GB of RAM. If you like more storage and don’t care much about having an SSD, you can get up to a 1 TB HDD in the S3, but 128 GB and 256 GB SSDs are also available. Acer Fast Response promises wake-up times of one second. Battery life will be about six and a half hours, and the same dual-torque 180 degree hinge of the S7 is now in the S3. The Aspire S3 series will be more colorful, too – a yellow and red version were on display after Acer’s press conference, and it’s been suggested that more colors will be available at launch.
Acer expects the second generation Aspire S7 and S3 to be available during early Q3. An Acer representative said that the new S7’s price will be comparable to the price of the current S7, so maybe around $1,500. The new S3 will likely be more expensive than the current S3, with some reports suggesting a price of around $1,100 or $1,200.
UPDATE: Thunderbolt ports are now gone on the Aspire S line. No more Thunderbolt.