Acer Aspire S5 Ultrabook First Look


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Acer are developing a reputation for delivering the goods when it comes to being first, or close to first to market in new categories. After being the first with an Android tablet last year, and the first with an Ultrabook later in 2011, you can’t fault the Taiwanese computer company for giving new products a go. Now in June 2012, Acer are about to release the successor to the S3 Ultrabook, called the Acer Aspire S5.

 

The Acer Asipre S5 is noteworthy for a few reasons. Firstly, it features Intel’s latest 3rd-Generation Core Processor, which we’ll be sure to benchmark. The one we had our hands on had the latest dual core i7 chip, which while not quad core as its larger siblings in standard notebooks are, is the best processor seen in an Ultrabook so far.

Secondly, the USB ports have been upgraded to USB 3. We always saw the absence of USB 3 as a bit of a disappointment on the original version, but that has been rectified on the Acer Aspire S5 now. And there’s two of them to boot.

Thirdly, the Thunderbolt port is an important inclusion for high speed transfers, and one connection that is extremely rare in retail notebooks up to this point. While many Macs have has the luxury of Thunderbolt for a while, Windows machines have yet to catch up to this connection standard, and once again Acer have come to the fore to offer this port on the Acer Aspire S5. For retailers that don’t yet sell Thunderbolt accessories, the introduction of Thunderbolt may pave the way for a great range offering by Thunderbolt-compatible vendors.

Fourthly, Acer have tried something not yet seen in any other Ultrabook, and certainly not in other notebooks generally – a retractable dock that hides the main connections when not in use. This has the added benefit of slimming down the Acer Aspire S5 to a respectable 15mm when the dock is hidden, making it one of the slimmest Ultrabooks around.

Acer Aspire S5 Ultrabook

The Acer Aspire S5 Ultrabook features 3rd Gen Intel Core Processors, Thunderbolt, USB 3 and a retractable dock. I Looked for a kitchen sink but alas, couldn't find one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dock contains the HDMI, USB3 and Thunderbolt ports. When there is a port being used, the retractable function is disabled, saving your cables (and the Ultrabook) from any damage.

The Acer Aspire S5 is a great statement about taking the original idea of the Ultrabook and tweaking it with some innovative features such as the Thunderbolt port and the retractable dock. With the announcement of the touch enabled S7 Ultrabook at Computex, it’s clear Acer have no intention of letting creativity and innovation slip by the wayside in what is a very competitive PC market.

Ultrabooks: Thin Is In

You may not know it yet, but notebooks will be going through a revolution in the next 12 months. A new class of mobile PC will emerge: thin, light, style-focused and high-performing.

A women measuring her waistline

We've been concerned about our waistline for years and now it seems we also want thinner notebooks.

Fuelled by advancements and competitive innovation from both AMD and Intel, notebooks have ramped up in performance and specifications, but with the exception of a few, haven’t really shed their traditional notebook dimensions or basic characteristics such as boot up time and battery life. At the same time, tablets have become a mainstream product that can replace a notebook for some tasks.

The Ultrabook range, coined by Intel, addresses some of these issues affecting the notebook market. Although netbooks were the more mobile and lighter version of its notebook sibling, they are limited to a smaller screen and fitted to more basic PC tasks. Ultrabooks are designed to deliver the full PC experience, with the core propositions of “thin” and “light” manifesting themselves in stylish, eye-catching designs.

Ultrabooks will be the portable PC you want to use, and be seen using. The casual look-at-me email or Facebook check at a café will never have been more popular once these machines start making their way into the market.

There’s no doubt that notebooks are the best value they’ve ever been, and from a “bang for buck” perspective there’s never been a better time to upgrade if you feel the need to. But with longer battery times, an “always on” state similar to tablets, and a burning desire to reveal your sleek Ultrabook at every opportunity, you may find the attraction too hard to resist.

Intel are predicting that Ultrabooks will make up 40% of the consumer notebook market by the end of next year, with each successive Intel chip development driving even greater performance. The first range, due out in October, will make use of a low-voltage variant of the Sandy Bridge processor.

Acer will be the first PC manufacturer to reveal their Ultrabook lineup in Australia later this week, and we’ll be there to take a close look at their offering.

The revolution starts now.