A BIGGER HEART
When we tested the Acer Aspire S3 in January it used to run a 2nd generation Intel iCore processor. Six months on, the device has been upgraded to a 3rd generation Intel Ivy Bridge chip.
The S3 is still the slim device it used to be. In fact, it is still among the thinnest Ultrabooks and looks a lot like the MacBook Air, and we mean that in a positive sense. There are no major changes in the design, though we noticed that the arrow keys on the keyboard are really small for any one with regular-sized fingers. Some corners have had to be cut to maintain this size, and the keyboard is definitely one of them. The device we got had a 450GB HDD, but did not seem a gram heavier than the earlier S3 which has SSD.
But then it is the 3rd generation 1.7Ghz i53317U processor that is new here. Intel claims one of the real strengths of the new processor is its video encoding capabilities. We decided to put this to test. We converted a 1080p .mov file weighing 22 MB into .avi format. On a Pentium dual-core CPU it took 12 seconds to do the job. On the S3, this took all of four seconds—three times faster.
Acer has also worked on the anti-theft features of the 3rd gen chip to create its own Theft Sheild, which lets users lock their device in case it gets stolen. Power on took 32 seconds, while from sleep the Ultrabook woke in just 2 seconds, thanks to the additional SSD storage. But, no surprises here.
After having seen the first wave of Ultrabooks, we could not help notice that the S3 has a 1366x768 screen which is a bit of let down. The sound, however, seems to have gone up a notch with the new processor. Again, one of the best things about the Acer Ultrabook is the price. It is still the most affordable Ultrabook at 51,499.