I’m sitting on my couch blogging from a brand spanking new Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook, a new line of lightweight PC laptops inspired by Intel. I’m really stoked to have my hands on one of these to check out their design, as well as their power. Since I don’t travel very often (except the short walk between my office and the couch) I previously convinced myself that a slim, lightweight laptop wasn’t as important to me as having storage and power. However, based on my experience with this tiny piece of equipment on my lap, I think I can have my cake and eat it too.
I’m not a tech person, blogger, or a reviewer, but I do spend at least eight hours a day in front of a computer answering emails, downloading files, writing blog posts, resizing photos, tweeting and Facebooking (yes, those are legit parts of my job) and doing other online odds and ends. Having just purchased a powerful, yet bulky and heavy laptop, I decided to put the Ultrabook to the test to see if I could do my job just as easily using the Acer. But enough about me, let’s talk about how cool this computer is.
First, from a design perspective, the Ultrabook is quite a sleek-looking deal. It weighs less than three pounds and is super-thin at 13mm. It’s got that cool, tapered profile, too. Mine is a special edition and has a few neato features like the stylish etching on top and a special “I” key (I assume it’s for Intel), but the ones going to market will probably be more plain (perfect for customizing!).
In sum: it’s pretty, it’s light, it’s thin. I could carry this thing in my purse and not even notice. It’s actually kind of disconcerting at first – it’s so lightweight that it almost feels fake – like those hollow plastic electronics used in furniture store displays.
In the back, it’s about as big as three average modern magazines – two Atomic Ranches and a Dwell. In the front, it’s about two Atomic Ranches. I think my new measurement standard for everything will involve Atomic Ranch.
I like the little feet it has to keep it from sliding around on a desk or table. They don’t interfere with it when it’s on my lap. Speaking of my lap, it’s not on fire yet. Usually my thighs are burning by now.
Another thing I just love about it is the built-in SD card reader. I’m constantly taking photos and having the built-in reader makes it easy for me to quickly access my photos without needing a cable or SD card reader. Very blogger-friendly.
I downloaded a trial of Photoshop CS5 to use while I work, which is the same software I use on my everyday computer. I use it primarily to resize photos for blog posts. Most days, I have to resize photos that are over 5000 pixels wide and over 10MB, but not just one… 15 or so at a time. Resizing them one at a time would be ridiculous, so I open them all at once. To do this, I need a really powerful computer that can handle opening gigantic files like these (quickly, and while I have six or seven other windows/programs open at once). The Acer didn’t seem too bogged down, even after I opened Firefox and Tweetdeck. And although I haven’t loaded my ginormous music and photo collection onto it, I know that it could probably handle it, along with Adobe Creative Suite and the rest of the programs I use on a daily basis. So, PC-loving designers, this is one you should put on the short list.
One of the things I’d like to see in the next generation of these laptops is a more powerful trackpad and a backlit keyboard.
It’s clear that Ultrabooks and MacBook Airs are the way laptops are headed, so it seems that finally we won’t need to sacrifice storage, power and speed for ease and portability.
Full disclosure: I received an Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook courtesy of Intel to review. All opinions are my own.