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Summary: Considering that Intel was pushing vendors to keep its Ultrabook prices below $1,000, charging $300 more than that doesn’t exactly jibe with the plan to undercut the MacBook Air pricing.
Acer was able to keep the price on its first Aspire S3 Ultrabook under $899 by using a hybrid hard drive setup instead of a purely solid-state-drive solution. But for its latest iteration, the company is beefing up the S3’s specs — and its price tag.
The Aspire S3-951-6432, now available at major retailers, will come with a 240GB SSD and no hard drive, along with a Core i7-2637 processor. As a result, Acer claims that the new laptop is slightly lighter and will eek out an extra hour of battery life over the S3-951-6646 (7 hours compared to 6 hours). Specs are otherwise the same (13.3-inch screen, 4GB of RAM, 0.51 inches at this thinnest point, roughly 3-pound weight), but the price is significantly higher — $1,299.99.
Considering that Intel was pushing vendors to keep its Ultrabook prices below $1,000, charging $300 more than that doesn’t exactly jibe with the plan to undercut the MacBook Air pricing. At the same time, you get better specs on the $1,300 S3 Ultrabook than the $1,300 Air configuration, which only comes with a Core-i5 CPU and a 128GB SSD drive. Will someone spending that much on a super-light laptop choose a better-equipped Windows model than a MacBook? Acer is sure hoping so.
Sean Portnoy is a freelance technology journalist.