Some say it can breath underwater and that it built the pyramids in just one day, all we know, it’s called the Aspire S3. Love at first sight is the words that came to mind, but like all love it had to leave at some point. The Acer Aspire S3 is the ultrabook of your childhood dreams and after a month with it, I almost refused to return it to Acer.

Introduction

Imagine something sleek, fast, stylish and compact with a battery that will probably outlive you. Well, now you have a name to add to that, it’s the Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook and it is perfect in almost every way. My four weeks with it was a time I shall never forget and if I didn’t plan on buying a tablet as my next portable device, it would have been on the top of my list.

Design

The Aspire S3 was designed by some pretty great minds from the looks of it. The body is sleek and thin, but it’s very strong. It’s made out of brushed metal, but that doesn’t seem to add a lot of weight to the game. The screen is covered in gloss, not my favourite choice, but it seems to be a standard nowadays. I may be criticised for saying this, but the Aspire S3, to me, looks much better than Apple’s Macbooks including the Airs. My only concern regarding design was the fact that the USB ports were too close together, when my modem was plugged in, the other port was slightly blocked.

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Software

On the software side there really isn’t something special to mention. The Aspire S3 runs on Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit and has a bunch of the usual Acer software packages installed, nothing worth mentioning though. As with almost all other notebooks, a basic trial version of Microsoft Office 2010 is installed. On the software side as a whole you are once again free to install whatever you want to add.

Hardware

The specific model I had was equipped pretty decently. As mentioned above my only concern was that the USB ports, of which there are only two, were spaced too close together, making my USB modem block other devices when plugged into either ports. The Aspire S3 was also equipped with a HDMI out port, a SD card reader and a 2-in-1 audio port. The keyboard was pretty good, but it took some time to get used to the trackpad, as it was very sensitive.

The ultrabook is equipped with the usual WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity options although a 3G/4G modem being built in would have been a pleasant addition. Inside there was a second generation Core i5 processor turbo boosted to 2.3GHz per core. It had Intel HD3000 graphics which weren’t as bad as they used to be, it ended up performing unusually well with Photoshop and the occasional hardware intensive tasks that were thrown at it. The 4GB DDR3 was a welcomed addition as well and ensured that the Aspire S3 remained snappy all the time.

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The display, a 13.3-inch LED display with a 1366×768 resolution performed well too. It was quite a bit bigger than one would expect and the picture was crisp and clear, although a higher res screen would have been lauded as well. Sadly the 320GB harddrive was a bit of a letdown. Although it isn’t exactly small, it’s just too basic, 500GB would be preferred as a minimum requirement by this time, it is 2012 after all. There are 256GB SSD options, which, considering the performance increase, wouldn’t be criticised as much as the 320GB HDD.

The 3-cell battery with a 3,260mAh capacity was quite the performer giving 6 hours of watching videos and movies. Browsing and listening music were a bit more power intensive, but it performed reasonably decent non-the-less. The Aspire S3 was surprisingly thin, leaving more than enough space to be compromised in favour of a bigger battery and a extra USB port, maybe even an embedded 3G modem. Just saying.

Conclusion

The Aspire S3 is a snappy little bugger with a battery that lasts and more than enough features to comfort anyone. I couldn’t get enough of it, but it still was no tablet and the upcoming Windows-based tablets will kick ultrabooks’s behinds. It is ultra portable, very lightweight, tough and longlasting, but everything is set to change the game by the end of 2012, so save those hard earned pennies and wait for something else. If you can’t wait however, you definitely won’t go wrong with buying an Aspire S3.