Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - REVIEWS -

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.


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