Acer often takes the affordable road with their notebooks and Ultrabooks. The Aspire V3 was a tad budget among first gen Ultrabooks with more liberal use of plastics and a spinning hard drive rather than the then ubiquitous SSD drive. The Acer Aspire S5 changes all that. This is a premium Ultrabook; and Ultrabooks already tend to be premium relative to mainstream laptops. The 13.3" third generation Intel machine is dressed in a gunmetal black casing that looks and feels premium. And it's one of the first Windows laptops to have a Thunderbolt port. And yes, it works just fine with our Apple 27" Thunderbolt display.
This is one of the thinnest Ultrabooks on the market: it tapers from 0.44 to 0.59 inches and it weighs just 2.65 pounds. That's almost as light as the most underweight Ultrabook on the market, the Toshiba Portege Z835/Z935. But unlike the Portege, the Acer has no flex and feels seriously solid.
What else makes this a premium machine? Ultrabooks generally start at $999 for a Core i5 and 128 gig SSD. The Core i7 plus 256 gig SSD drive generally costs $1,300 to $1,500 for most brands. The Aspire S5 is available only with the high end 1.9GHz Intel Core i7 ULV, 4 gigs of DDR3 RAM and a fast 256 gig SSD. It's not cheap at $1,399. The machine benchmarks very well and it's at the top of our PCMark Vantage collection for Ultrabooks with a 13,190 score.
Other features include a glossy 13.3", 1366 x 768 display of average quality, an HD webcam, comfy but not backlit keyboard, and Acer's MagicFlip, a motorized rear port door that drops down and rises up at the touch of a button. Gimmick? Yes. Kinda cool unless it breaks? Yes.
Here's our Acer Aspire S5 video review. Our full written review will follow.