www.batteryfast.co.uk-Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook VS. Apple MacBook Air, Ultra-thin Laptop Review


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Acer is picking a fight with Apple’s with its own take on the MacBook.

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www.batteryfast.co.uk-Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook VS. Apple MacBook Air, Ultra-thin Laptop Review

  1. 1. October 11, 2011 batteryfast.co.uk Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook VS. Apple MacBook Air, Ultra-thin Laptop Review Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook VS. Apple MacBook This notebook is so slim it’s barely there. Air, Ultra-thin Laptop Review Thickness | Officially, the Aspire S3 is claimed to Acer is picking a fight with Apple’s with its own take be 13mm thick. Put next to a MacBook Air that’s 17 on the MacBook. mm thick at its thickest point, it was obvious that the Air is still thinner. Mac ate nothing but Subway for six months and came away two millimetres thinner… It turns out the Aspire S3 is actually 17mm at its Acer’s just-unveiled Aspire S3 is remarkably similar thickest point, not taking into account the rubber to the Air, even with the distinctive sculpted key- stoppers on the bottom, which add a couple more board indentation in the top case. millimetres. But as Acer Australia’s Nigel Gore told APC, when Putting aside a few thousandths of a metre between you make everything in a notebook smaller and friends, it is an impressive form factor, and a sur- smaller, the designs are inevitably going to bear prisingly clean design for a PC notebook. some similarity. (Then he gave a long-winded jus- tification about how it’s hard to tell the difference Das blinkenlights have been whittled down to a mere between various models of car, but we’ll spare you two tiny pin-prick LEDs beneath the screen — one that one.) to indicate the notebook is on, and another to indi- cate low battery. (That’s still two too many in our APC had hands-on time with this gorgeous piece opinion, but hey, two are better than seven… we’re of engineering yesterday at the Australian launch looking at you, Toshiba Portege Z830.) event, and of course we smuggled in a MacBook Air to put next to it to compare. See Also:joliprint So, how do they stack up against each other? How it looks Printed with http://www.batteryfast.co.uk/battery-technology/acer-aspire-s3-ultrabook-vs-apple-macbook-air-ultra-thin-laptop-review/ Page 1
  2. 2. October 11, 2011 batteryfast.co.uk Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook VS. Apple MacBook Air, Ultra-thin Laptop Review Weight | The S3 tips the scale at “less than 1.35kg”. face of the hard drive poking out. It turns out that Presumably, the weight varies a bit depending on to shave millimetres off the notebook, Acer decided whether you go for a hard drive or an SSD model. to cut a hole in the bottom case and allow the hard drive to sit flush with the bottom of the case. That’s competitive with the 13 MacBook Air, which weighs 1.3kg. Of course, the 11 MacBook Air is lighter The exposed hard drive on the bottom of the case. at 1.08kg, but as the Aspire S3 is only coming in 13 Does that sit well with you? models, it’s not really a valid comparison. Those quibbles aside, it’s a nice looking notebook, Aesthetics | … are in the eye of the beholder, of taking obvious design-cues from the MacBook Air. course, but there are some visual features worth The casing is rigid, and looks pretty durable. pointing out. The specs The S3s casing is made of magnesium-aluminium alloy and finished with a lightly brushed texture. Standby and Battery Life | Acer Aspire S3-951 The MacBook Air is finished in a smooth, matte Ultrabook: Another viewPart of Intel’s hopes for aluminium. Ultrabooks is they would offer instant-on functio- nality similar to the MacBook Air. Acer says the We didn’t see any of those godawful affixed-with- S3-951 can resume from sleep in about 2 seconds superglue Microsoft and Intel stickers on the S3, and 6 seconds from what the company calls “deep but since we were looking at pre-production en- sleep mode,” which is probably just a fancy term gineering samples, it may be that they just hadn’t for hibernate. Apple does not provide benchmarks been stuck on yet. for its so-called “instant-on” technology. Each device maker is also claiming substantial stand- by time and battery life for their ultrathin laptops. Acer says the Aspire can last for up to 6 hours of regular use, and Apple says the Air will last for up to 7 hours when doing wireless Web browsing. Acer is also claiming an astounding 50 days of standby time, which is 20 days more than the Apple’s 30-day claim for the Air. But it’s important to remember that manufacturer claims often differ from third-party battery life tests. So it’s best not to count on Acer’s claims until the S3 has been thoroughly tested. Storage | The new S3 has a solid state drive just as Intel hoped manufacturers would use for newjoliprint Ultrabooks. Unfortunately, the SSD is just there to Clean and unsullied by supplier logos house Windows 7. For storing all your files, Acer turned to a 320GB hard drive. The MacBook Air, The bottom of the notebook, while cleaner than most meanwhile, sports 128GB SSD. Solid state drives Printed with PC notebooks, has one very strange aspect: the bare are often admired for their ability to significantly http://www.batteryfast.co.uk/battery-technology/acer-aspire-s3-ultrabook-vs-apple-macbook-air-ultra-thin-laptop-review/ Page 2
  3. 3. October 11, 2011 batteryfast.co.uk Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook VS. Apple MacBook Air, Ultra-thin Laptop Review increase a computer’s performance speed compared On the flipside, if you think you have something in to a device with a traditional spinning drive. your teeth, you can use it as a mirror… The powerplant | There are four variants of the MacBook Air also has an edge in resolution — 1440 S3. The $1,199 model packs a 1.3GHz Intel Core i3, x 900 pixels, compared to the S3s more industry- the $1,399 and $1,699 models runs on a 1.6GHz Intel standard 1377 x 768 pixels. Core i5 (the price difference being the 320GB hard drive vs a 240GB SSD), and the top-shelf $2,099 model However, the screen quality in the S3 is better than packs a 1.7GHz Core i7. average, with good brightness and viewing angles. Given it’s competing around the same price-points This compares reasonably well against the MacBook as the MacBook Air with its outstanding display, it Air — the $1,449 and $1,799 13 models both run on would have to be. a 1.7GHz Core i5. Apple provides an upgrade to a 1.8GHz Core i7 for $100 on the top model, though, Software | The Aspire S3 comes with Windows 7, which means you can get a MacBook Air with Core while the MacBook Air comes with OS X 10.7 “Lion”. i7 and 256GB SSD for $1,899 — $200 less than the Which OS is better is really a matter of taste. But lesser-specced Aspire S3. it’s definitely worth noting that the Mac comes with Apple’s really excellent iLife pack — iPhoto, iMovie All models of the Aspire S3 have 4GB RAM. and Garageband; three apps that are not only of saleable quality, but actually better than many of One notable difference is that Apple includes a lot the commercial competitors. more memory with the Intel HD Graphics 3000. The Aspire S3s only come with 128MB, while Apple pro- Keyboard | The keyboard on the Aspire S3 is a vides 384MB. For GPU-accelerated apps and games, chiclet-style keyboard, similar to what’s on the this could make a substantial difference to perfor- MacBook Air. But it lacks Apple’s superb fibre-optic mance. backlighting; in fact, it lacks backlighting at all. We also noticed the keys have a fraction less travel than The display | The screen on the S3 is noticeably Apple’s keyboards, but this is probably something thicker than the ultra-slim panel on the MacBook that could be easily adjusted to. Air. And, as you can see in this picture, the anti- reflective properties of the MacBook Air’s display The chiclet keyboard bears more than a passing are vastly superior. resemblance to Apple’s. Verdict The Aspire S3 is the closest thing we’ve seen to a Windows-centric MacBook Air yet. While Samsung’s super-slim Notebook Series 9 might have beaten itjoliprint to the punch in terms of dimensions, its pricing is way above where the MacBook Air is. Printed with http://www.batteryfast.co.uk/battery-technology/acer-aspire-s3-ultrabook-vs-apple-macbook-air-ultra-thin-laptop-review/ Page 3
  4. 4. October 11, 2011 batteryfast.co.uk Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook VS. Apple MacBook Air, Ultra-thin Laptop Review The fact that the Aspire S3 is a 13 notebook available for less than the MacBook Air at some specification levels is very impressive. It’s still not quite a match for the MacBook Air on some performance points, and the discipline in the case design isn’t as tight as Apple’s, but it’s a great leap forward for the Windows notebook space. The Aspire S3 will be on sale in Australia in next month CloudTag: Acer Aspire S3 , Ultrabook , Apple Mac- Book Air , Ultra-thin Laptop , Acer as07b41 Battery , Apple battery replacement , Acer batbl50l6 battery , Acer batbl50l6 battery Did you enjoy this post? Why not leave a com- ment below and continue the conversation, or subscribe to my feed and get articles like this de- livered automatically to your feed reader.joliprint Printed with http://www.batteryfast.co.uk/battery-technology/acer-aspire-s3-ultrabook-vs-apple-macbook-air-ultra-thin-laptop-review/ Page 4