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.

Gallery | 19 Photos

Acer Aspire S3 and S7 hands-on

Gallery | 5 Photos

Acer Aspire S7-392

Gallery | 8 Photos

Acer Aspire S3-392

Zach Honig contributed to this report.

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Acer Enhances its Flagship Ultrabook™, the Aspire S7
Featuring improved battery life, 2nd generation Acer TwinAir cooling, and WQHD display technology for exceptional entertainment and productivity

TAIPEI, TAIWAN (June 3, 2013) Acer presents the next-generation 13.3-inch Aspire S7Ultrabook™ at Computex Taipei. In addition to retaining the celebrated characteristics of the previous model, the new S7 Ultrabook has improved battery life for all-day computing, a refined electroluminescent (EL) backlit keyboard for more natural typing, and 2nd generation Acer TwinAir cooling with less fan noise. In addition, it is equipped with wireless display (WiDi) technology for big-screen entertainment and productivity.

"We designed the S7 to be the best touch Ultrabook® in the world, bar none," said Jim Wong, Acer Corporate President. "We listened carefully to users to find substantial ways to make it even better." The re-engineered S7 delivers improved battery life of up to 7 hours, a 33% increase from its predecessor. Its new light-sensing EL backlit keyboard is also refined, with a deeper keystroke for more natural and comfortable typing. Plus, thanks to 2nd generation Acer TwinAir cooling technology, the noise at maximum load is more than 20% lower than the previous S7, keeping the system quiet and cool.

Acer's new S7 supports Intel® WiDi technology, which allows users to extend their laptop screen to a TV or big screen without a cable. With this feature, S7 users can stream video on their living room screen and open a new window on their computer and to work, bringing a new dimension to multitasking.

The Aspire S7-392 features Acer's first 10-point touch WQHD display will also be available on the S7, with IPS technology squeezing a very impressive 2,560x1,440 resolution into a 13.3-inch screen. In addition, IPS technology shows consistent and accurate colors at viewing angles up to 170 degrees. Taking advantage of the touch benefits offered by Windows 8, the touch-enabled screen on the S7 can be opened a full 180°, and the image orientation reversed with a simple hotkey combination for easy touch-and-show sharing.

This new S7 packs powerful technologies, including dual-array microphones and Acer's proprietary PurifiedVoice technology, which enhances speech performance and reduces noise for voice recognition and VOIP applications, making voice communication crystal clear. Moreover, it is powered by a 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor and a RAID 0 solid state drive for fast wakeup and read/write times, as well as quietness.

The S7 Ultrabook remains impressively slim and light, measuring only 12.9 mm thin and weighing 1.3 kg. It is constructed from premium materials and features a dual-torque, T-shape hinge frame design to ensure wobble-free touch use. Its Gorilla® Glass 2 surface is smooth to the touch, beautiful and thin, yet strong, scratch resistant, and easy to clean. The new S7 features a unibody design made from a single block of aluminum using a process that saves energy and material; the result is an ultra-thin chassis that is super tough and roadworthy.

The Aspire S7-392will start shipping in July starting at €1,450. For details about availability, product specifications and prices in specific markets, please contact your nearest Acer office or retailer, or visit www.acer.com.

Acer Launches the Aspire S3 Ultrabook™ In the New S Series Family Style
The beautiful, powerful Aspire S3 integrates Acer design and innovations derived from the flagship Aspire S7

TAIPEI, TAIWAN (June 3, 2013) - Acer today announced the launch of the new 13.3" Aspire S3 Ultrabook™ at Computex Taipei. The S3 has inherited some of the industry-leading design and innovations of the Aspire S7, making it an impressively stylish and productive PC.
As on the celebrated Aspire S7, the S3's patented dual-torque hinge design allows users to easily open the lid up to 180° for sharing content, while keeping the display wobble-free for an outstanding touch experience.

With Acer TwinAir cooling technology, the S3 is always cool to the touch without sacrificing performance. The light-sensing keyboard auto adjusts its brightness to ambient light for better visual comfort in dim settings. In addition, evoking the family design and visual purity of the S7's gorilla glass cover, the new S3 cover is made from aluminum and sprayed Sparkling White with a mirror-polish finish; the operation area is made from anodized aluminum throughout. Just 17.8 mm thin and weighing only 1.67 kg, this Ultrabook™ is slim and easy to carry anywhere.

The S3 combines gorgeous design with impressive power. It is equipped with the latest Intel® Core™ processors, which offer up to 15% better performance and up to 2x faster 3D graphics processing speed, with lower power consumption. With option of the new NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 735M graphics, users can play videos/movies, edit photos and play games faster than ever before.

The S3 has intuitive features that make it a joy to use. Acer Fast Resume enables the Aspire S3 to resume from Sleep mode in just 1 second, giving it tablet-like responsiveness and waking up 3x faster than a standard Ultrabook™. And users no longer need to press the power button as the system will automatically boot up when the display is opened - even if the computer has been shut down.

When it comes to entertainment, the Acer S3's 1080p Full HD display renders movies, photos and games with exquisite clarity. The display with IPS technology ensures vivid and accurate color reproduction, with a 170° wide viewing angle that keeps images bright and clear, even when seen from the side. Users can also wirelessly share their favorite digital content on a big screen with better visuals and sound quality via WiDi technology. Plus, with unique Acer Purified.Voice technology, communicating with friends and family sounds crystal clear.

Acer's S3 is available with a 7.2 mm 1 TB hard disk for storage, with the capacity to keep up to 250,000 MP3 songs or 150 FHD videos, and 290,000 8 MP photos - plenty of room for essential entertainment on the go.

The new Aspire S3 will start shipping in July with a starting price of €999.