The Aspire S7 was, for many of us, the best ultrabook of the Ivy Bridge CPU generation. No Windows laptop before it had ever been quite so thin, beautiful and robust, and while the S7 could clearly match aesthetics with Apple's MacBook Air, it also had a distinctive design of its own. Looking to build on that success, Acer today introduced an upgraded Aspire S7-392 ultrabook, powered by Intel's latest Haswell chips, as well as a new Aspire S3 line that compromises a bit on style to deliver more power.
Unfortunately, due to Acer's reluctance to discuss CPU specifics ahead of Intel's keynote tomorrow, the laptops we saw in person were not ones the company was willing to turn on. That leaves us unable to judge the awesomeness of the promised new 2560 x 1440 resolution, or, on a related note, the integrated graphics chip's ability to handle it. There's a new keyboard backlight we couldn't test as well, however the deeper new key travel is a neat addition. The one regrettable thing about the new design is that it looks more conventional, reminding you of Apple's MacBook Air or Asus' ZenBook. Without the rectangular profile of its predecessor, this Aspire S7 loses some of its personality and distinctiveness.
The Acer Aspire S3, meanwhile, might not be as exciting or attractive as the S7, but Acer has clearly done its best to bring some of the S7's style to a beefier, media-friendly machine. It shares a similar Gorilla Glass top lid — demoed in a standard white color as well as eye-grabbing red and an odd hue of yellow — and the body tapers off to try and hide its 0.7-inch girth. Acer's billing the S3 as a step down from the S7, and you do lose some niceties like the backlit keyboard, but you do gain a tangible power boost.
We're told it uses Nvidia’s GeForce GT 735M discrete GPU, and it's likely it will have a more capable Intel Haswell processor than the S7. There's also a 1TB hard drive configuration. For a 13.3-inch machine, the S3 certainly a bit heavy compared to other ultrabooks, but this may be a good option for those looking for a laptop of this size with some power. Acer hasn't been forthcoming with pricing or availably details for either model as yet.
Dante D'Orazio contributed to this report