The 13.3in Acer Aspire S3-951-2364G34iss may be an entry-level Ultrabook, but for $807.30 it’s a great deal more affordable than any others. And it's not bad either, once you accept the quirks that help keep the price down.
The main one is that the 1.4kg Aspire S3 uses a mechanical 320GB hard disk drive instead of a solid state drive like most other Ultrabooks. SSDs are very expensive, so its choice of a slower mechanical drive is the main reason it's the most affordable Ultrabook. However, the Acer overcomes some of the drawbacks of the mechanical drive - i.e, slow application loading and resume from sleep - by using a 20GB solid state drive that caches the apps once loaded, enabling the laptop to wake up from sleep and get back to the apps as quickly as its full SSD-equipped cousins and deliver good performance once the apps are loaded. You'll only notice the slow 5400RPM mechanical drive when you're loading something like Photoshop for the first time. It can take forever. But once the program is cached, it will zip along.
The low-voltage 2nd Gen Intel Core i3 and 4GB of RAM are sufficient for most typical software. Also of note is that the Aspire S3 has a full-sized HDMI port along with two USB 2.0 ports, making it easy to connect external devices without having to use dongles.
If you want to experience what Ultrabook computing is like, this Acer S3 is a great way to start. It's the most affordable of the Ultrabooks, and quite frankly, apart from its mechanical drive and some initially slow app loading times, it performs as well as most other Ultrabooks with SSDs and similar processors.
The Aspire S3 has a low-voltage 2nd Gen Intel Core i3-2367M (1.4GHz), a decent low-end processor that can comfortably run productivity applications and also more intensive software, although it's not as good at multi-tasking as the more accomplished Core i5 and Core i7 processors.Graphics
It features an integrated graphics solution called Intel HD Graphics 3000. It’s on par with a low-end dedicated graphics card, and is sufficient for modern games at the lowest settings.RAM
4GB of RAM is enough to run several programs at once smoothly. It’s more than enough to ensure fluid overall system performance with Windows 7 Home Premium.Storage
A 320GB hard disk drive is on the small side, but it’ll still be enough to hold some media content along with important documents though. It also has a 20GB solid state drive used for caching, which allows it wake up quickly and also helps some programs respond more swiftly.Screen
It has a 13.3in (1,366 x 768 resolution) gloss screen. The viewing angles and colour vibrancy are about average.Portability
It’s got exceptional portability, because it weighs 1.4kg and is 17.5mm thick. It’s more than light enough to be taken anywhere without any problems whatsoever.See the Acer Aspire S3-951-2364G34iss in the Notebook Hunter database here.
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