LAS VEGAS — Acer’s taking another crack at the emerging Ultrabook market taking the wraps off the 13-inch Aspire S5, a 2.9 pound notebook that’s only .59 inches thick. To maintain its thin profile and provide much-needed connectivity options at the same time, the Acer S3 has a “MagicFlip” I/O panel that flips out from behind the hinge to reveal HDMI, USB 3.0, and Thundebolt ports.
While Acer’s first Ultrabook, the Aspire S3, was a critical flop because of its short battery life and weak performance, the company promises superior performance and functionality with the S5. Using a technology the company calls Acer Green Instant On, the Aspire S5 is designed to wake from sleep in just 1.5 seconds. Acer Always Connect technology keeps the Wi-Fi slightly powered even when the system is asleep so the notebook can show social media updates immediately upon waking and users wake the S5 from another device such as a smartphone.
Acer did not release many specific details about the S5’s internal components. In a press release, the company said only that the notebook will be powered by an Intel Processor and use a full-fledged SSD for storage. Depending on the notebook’s ship time, it is quite possible that Acer would use Intel’s upcoming Ivy Bridge platform, which is due sometime this spring. The 13.3-inch screen is a rather pedestrian 1366 x 768 resolution.
Acer also touts the S5’s “long” battery life and shock resistace. However, the company did not make any direct claims about how long the notebook would last or what kind of shock it can absorb.
We had a brief opportunity to handle the Acer S5 at Acer’s press event and came away impressed with the MagicFlip’s mechanism. When we pressed a button on the upper right corner of the keyboard, the I/O panel slowly flipped out, making a subtle whirring noise that made us think it may be motorized. We didn’t get to type on the keyboard, but were disappointed to learn that it is not backlit.
The Acer S5 is due to ship in May. Pricing has not been announced.