Lenovo Airs First Ultrabook W/ Dedicated GPU, Acer Clones MacBook Air
September 4, 2011 3:00 PM
Hey... this looks kind of familiar (Acer clones the MacBook Air).
(Source: Pocket Lint/Popular Mechanics)
Lenovo has the right idea, picking a dedicated mobile GPU. Unfortunately its pick is about the weakest dedicated GPU you can find, offering minimal gains over Intel's HD 3000.
(Source: Lenovo via Hot Hardware)
Acer hopes to use ultraportable to recover from netbook slump
Faced with an evaporating netbook market, Acer Inc. (
to fourth place in global, fifth place in U.S. sales. In full scale panic mode, the company has vowed to
transform itself to be more like Apple, Inc.
I. Acer Clones the MacBook Air -- Will it "Just Work"?
A critical first step in that transformation was
[press release] on Friday at Germany's
technology show in Berlin. Acer pulled the wraps off its first "ultrabook", a slick ultra-portable mid-size laptop with decent power.
Dubbed the Acer Aspire S3, the ultrabook clearly targets Apple's
popular MacBook Air
, following it closely in looks. It features a slender thin hybrid plastic-metal design, which pairs an outer light metal lid with a plastic body. The lid is 17 mm tall at its thickest point (identical to the MacBook Air) and tapers to 13 mm.
The S3 can be found in a 13.3-inch and 11.6-inch design. They pack a 1376x768 pixel display. The 13.3-inch model weighs "less than 1.4 kg (3 lbs.)", which, according to
, is 1.35 kg (2.976 lb), to be precise. That places it roughly in line with the 2.96 lb. 13.3-inch MacBook Air.
The trackpad could also be mistaken for the MacBook Air's, almost -- it features the same multi-touch capable flat glass design which disguises clickable buttons in the bottom half of the depressed rectangle.
The peripheral ports are almost identical to the MacBook Air's with a 3.5 mm headphone jack, SD card slot, and twin USB 2.0 ports. It trades Apple's proprietary ThunderBolt connector for a more widely used full-sized HDMI port. There's 1.3 MP camera and microphone for Skype chats, just like the Air. And likewise Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity is also supported.
The laptop features a 20 GB SSD, which holds the
Windows installation and media you want to play at faster speeds. The Acer Green Instant On features leverages this to promise 2.5 second boot times from sleep and 6 second boots from deep sleep. The battery promises 7 hours of life (identical) to the MacBook Air.
So what's different between the S3 and the MacBook Air? Well, as we mentioned the case implementation is a bit divergent. And the price is significantly lower -- 799 € (appr. $1,150 USD) for a model equipped with a
1.7 GHz ultra-low voltage (ULV) second-generation Core i5 CPU
from Intel Corp. (
) and 4 GB of RAM.
A comparable MacBook Air is $150 more, at $1,300. However, the Acer comes with a slower 320 GB traditional HDD in its stock configuration, where the Apple comes with a 128 GB SSD. Given the internal small-size SSD for the OS, about the affects of this swap should be limited to slower times for some application launches, large file saves, or large copies -- OS launch time will be spared.
The price on the fully loaded model is moderately attractive given the larger amount of RAM. With a 240 GB SSD, 1.7 GHz ULV Core i7 CPU, and 8 GB of DDR3 RAM, you will have to spend 1199 € ($1,720 USD) -- versus $1700 USD for a comparable MacBook Air with a 256 GB SSD, but only 4 GB RAM.
Like Apple, the biggest disappointment in this portable is the lack of dedicated graphics, which will make GPU-accelerated applications like Photoshop, web browsers, and video games slower.
Acer must beware, its competitors -- Toshiba Corp. (
) and ASUSTEK Computer Inc. (
) both plan to launch
at under $1,000 USD.
Also given Apple's
propensity for suing competitors
, it would be unsurprising to see Acer smacked with a lawsuit, given its remarkable similarity to Apple's MacBook Air. Of course we've already stated that we feel
such claims are legally baseless
-- but Apple does have the tendency to make them.
II. Lenovo U300 Packs Graphics Punch
Lenovo Group, Ltd. (
) -- the fastest growing brand internationally -- pulled the wraps off an ultrabook of its own --
the slick U300
Retailing at $1,200 USD in its base configuration, the device is moderately pricey like its Acer and Apple competitors. The design is lightweight and thin, but looks less MacBook Air clone-like than the Acer S3, as it features a shorter taper at the edges.
Overall the specs are similar to the competitors' designs, with one fairly significant difference. The Lenovo U300 packs a Radeon 5470M (1 GB memory) dedicated graphics chip courtesy of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (
The bad news here is that the Radeon 5470M isn't really that much more powerful than the stock Intel HD 3000 (found in the Core series chips), barely edging it in some benchmarks. Still, the idea of including a dedicated GPU is a worthy one, so Lenovo's design is important from the standpoint of supporting dedicated mobile GPUs, even if it picks the wrong chip for the job.
Hopefully similar designs will come along soon with beefier chips (e.g. NVIDIA Corp.'s (
) GeForce 540M GT chip).
The Toshiba, Lenovo, Acer, and ASUSTEK products will all ship sometime this fall.
“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith
Toshiba Looks to Deliver Knock-out Blow to MacBook Air with the Portege Z830
September 1, 2011, 11:01 AM
Apple Cries About Samsung and Motorola's Patent "Monopoly"
August 31, 2011, 9:27 AM
Apple Gets Sued For Booting Its Operating System Too Quickly
August 8, 2011, 2:31 PM
Apple Unleashes Lion, Revamped MacBook Airs; Plastic MacBook Gets the Axe
July 20, 2011, 8:45 AM
Analysts: Apple Now Has More Than 10 Percent of the U.S. PC Market
July 14, 2011, 1:52 PM
Are You in the Market for Earphones?
March 24, 2017, 7:35 AM
Samsung Galaxy S8, Rumored Launch Date!
March 18, 2017, 6:45 AM
How about Leica Cameras
March 13, 2017, 6:30 AM
Nokia has ditched this camera technology in its new smartphones
March 7, 2017, 8:45 AM
A Baseball Cap With Camera
March 3, 2017, 7:00 AM
Nokia 3310 with longer battery life
February 28, 2017, 7:05 AM
Most Popular Articles
Apple iPad – New Faster Processor and More Fun
March 22, 2017, 7:25 AM
OnePlus 3T – 5.5” Optic AMOLED and Dash Charging Technology
March 23, 2017, 8:45 AM
Comparison – Samsung Galaxy TabPro S Vs Microsoft Surface Pro 4
March 21, 2017, 7:40 AM
Huawei P8 Lite 2017 – Android 7 Nougat Smartphone with Octa-Core Processor
March 8, 2017, 7:03 AM
Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming G1 – Intel Thunderbolt 3 Certified Motherboard
March 9, 2017, 6:25 AM
Latest Blog Posts
More Apps From Google
Mar 28, 2017, 7:15 AM
Are you thinking of performance and speed? Intel claims:
Mar 25, 2017, 7:45 AM
Apple buys an automation app called Workflow. The deal was completed today and brings the app along with its developers.
Mar 23, 2017, 7:35 AM
Apple Announces new color for iPhones and iPads
Mar 22, 2017, 7:45 AM
Instagram: You Can Now Save Live Videos For Later
Mar 21, 2017, 7:49 AM
Samsung Galaxy S8 to Get New Color Scheme
Mar 20, 2017, 7:45 AM
What else to worry about?
Mar 17, 2017, 6:45 AM
Icon of the Day: Intel/ NVIDIA or Mobileye
Mar 16, 2017, 6:15 AM
JUST IN - Twitter Hijacked : High-Profile Account Accesses
Mar 15, 2017, 7:07 AM
Mar 14, 2017, 7:30 AM
News and Tips
Mar 13, 2017, 6:30 AM
iPhone 8 – May Not Get Curved Screen
Mar 11, 2017, 8:00 AM
California paves way to self-driving car tests without humans
Mar 11, 2017, 7:18 AM
Smart Machines V hackers
Mar 10, 2017, 7:00 AM
Uber Can Resume Autonomous Car Testing in California
Mar 9, 2017, 6:50 AM
Mar 8, 2017, 7:09 AM
Mar 7, 2017, 8:45 AM
World news 3-6
Mar 6, 2017, 5:40 AM
Mar 4, 2017, 7:40 AM
Mixed News of the Day
Mar 4, 2017, 6:32 AM
Jaguar Land Rover invests in ride-sharing
Mar 3, 2017, 7:00 AM
Mixed News of The World:
Mar 2, 2017, 7:02 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2017 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information