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Ultrabooks are new ultra-thin, lightweight notebooks based on Intel specifications that combine performance and battery life with affordable pricing. The simplest way to think of them is as Windows versions of Apple' MacBook Air. The first ultrabook we've seen, Acer's Aspire S3 certainly looks the part and you'll likely see a few more this year before the floodgates really open in 2012.

Two key features of ultrabooks are an instant-on function and long battery life. In the case of the Aspire S3, both of these are tied up in Intel's new Rapid Start Technology (RST). Part of that tech includes a timed sleep mode - after a certain period in regular sleep mode (configurable as either 2 or 8 hours), it drops into a zero-power form of hibernation. We tested this by charging the S3 to 100% and leaving it in sleep mode for 16 hours.

On return, the battery had only dropped to 95%, while waking the S3 back up took around 10 to 15 seconds. RST appears to work by dumping the current memory contents onto a small 20GB solid-state drive (SSD) as it moves into zero- power mode. This drive doesn't appear in Windows Explorer and looks to be designed exclusively for RST use. For general storage, there's a 320GB Hitachi HTS543232 SATA hard drive.

The Aspire S3 also features Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) alongside 4GB of DDR3-1333 memory. You only get Intel HD integrated graphics and there's no optical drive. Application performance is roughly equivalent to a budget 2.1GHz Core i3-2310M notebook, with our UserBench Encode HD media- encoding benchmark reaching just under 49. On our tough UserBench Battery test, the S3 lasted 3 hours 29 minutes, a decent result given its overall CPU speed and size. However, like the MacBook Air, the battery is not removable. The S3's chassis is an aluminium base surrounding a 13.3in widescreen 1,366 x 768-pixel LCD panel. The S3 is still thicker than the Air, but more curved at the edges, so there's less room for peripheral ports. In fact, you only get a headphone socket on one side and SDHC card reader on the other. On the back, you'll find two USB 2.0 ports and a full-sized HDMI output. Weight comes in at 1.36kg.

One Response so far.

  1. Nice post....

    The craze of Ultrabook that has swept
    around the PC market .......
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