Acer Aspire S7 Ultrabook refreshed with a WQHD screen, S3 gets a total makeover (hands-on)

Acer Aspire S7 Ultrabook refreshed with a WQHD screen, S3 gets a total makeover (hands-on)

It was a year ago at Computex that Acer unveiled the Aspire S7, a skinny sliver of a thing that turned out to be one of our favorite Ultrabooks of 2012. Now, 12 months later, the company is unveiling... the Aspire S7. A much-improved S7, to be precise. Going into the second half of the year, there's only to be a 13-inch version (the 11-incher's been discontinued), and it has much the same industrial design, with a lightweight chassis and Gorilla Glass lid. The difference is that it will now be offered with a 2,560 x 1,440 screen, which will be standard in certain regions, like Europe. (Elsewhere, a 1080p IPS panel will continue to be the base option.) As you'd expect, Acer's upgraded the S7 to Haswell CPUs (Core i3, i5 and i7), but it also squeezed in a bigger battery -- 47Wh, up from 35Wh. Between that bigger cell and new chipset, Acer is rating the battery life at seven hours, which, if true, would correct one of the OG model's biggest shortcomings. Rounding out the list, Acer moved the mics to the front, and also updated the cooling system with the promise of less fan noise.

Meanwhile, Acer thoroughly revamped the mid-range S3 Ultrabook so that it looks more like the S7. The main differences are that this has no Gorilla Glass on the lid, and the entire machine is noticeably heavier (1.67kg vs. 1.3). Part of the reason for that chunkier shape is that it will be offered with beefier components, including optional NVIDIA GT735M graphics and a 1TB hard drive (you can also get it with an SSD). Additionally, the S3 steps up to Haswell CPUs, along with a 1080p IPS touchscreen -- the same kind that the S7 had when it first launched. Design-wise, as we said, it looks like the S7, particularly with the lid shut, and it's now made from one piece of aluminum, instead of several. The keyboard looks different from the S7's, though, and is also a bit clackier, for whatever reason. In Europe, at least, the Aspire S7-392 will start at €1,450, and the S3-392 will go from €999. Both will arrive in July. No word yet on US pricing. For a closer look, check out our hands-on photos and video, both embedded after the break.

Update: US pricing for the S7 will start at $1,400 and go up to $1,700, depending on the configuration.

Filed under: Laptops, Acer

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