Asus, Acer Ship New Ultrabooks

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The Ultrabook laptop market is starting to get crowded as Acer and Asus each rolled out entries into this nascent category last week.

With the theme of beauty and functionality, Asus has started shipping its first Ultrabook concept laptop, the Zenbook.

Asus chairman Johnny Shih unveiled the 11.6-inch UX21and 13.3-inch UX31 at an event held here on Oct. 11. Both models hit retail worldwide on Oct. 12 with respective starting prices of $999 and $1,349.

Acer’s Aspire S3-951 has a 13.3-inch and carries an $899 suggested retail.

The Ultrabook laptops are developed from an Intel concept introduced earlier this year to create laptops that deliver the same performance as a high-end machine, but in an extremely portable and energy-efficient platform. Ultrabooks are also expected to incorporate many tablet PC features, such as instant-on and extreme mobility.

The Asus and Acer models follow this recipe.

The Asus UX21 thickness ranges from 3mm in the front to 9mm in the rear, with the unit weighing 2.4 pounds, while the UX31 is slightly thicker on the hinge area and weighs 2.8 pounds.

The Aspire S3 is about 13mm thick in the front broadening to 17mm at the hinge, and it weighs 2.98 pounds.

Shih emphasized the units’ two-second resume from sleep mode speed, and said the devices will automatically backup the user’s data to the solid-state drive when the battery life reaches the 5 percent level.

Acer said the S3 has a similar response time.

The base version of each Asus model features an Intel dual Core i5, 4GB of 1333MHz DDR3 memory, a 128GB solid-state drive, a single USB 3.0 port and 2.0 ports, along with MicroHDMI and MiniVGA slots. Included in the price are a USB Ethernet connector and a protective carrying sleeve.

The step-up version of the UX 21E-DH71 features an Intel Core i7 2677M processor, which boosts the price to $1,199.

Asus is offering three models in the UX31 camp. The entry-level UX31E-DH52 and step-up UX31- DH53 run the Core i5-2557M processor, with the latter version adding a 256GB solid-state drive. Respective pricing is $1,099 and $1,349.

The flagship UX31E-DH72 is powered by an Intel Core i7-2677M processor and has a $1,449 suggested retail.

The UX21 models have an estimated battery life of five hours, with the UX31 rated at seven hours. All models are equipped with the Bang & Olufsen ICEpower sound technology.

The S3 uses an Intel Core i5 processor with Intel HD graphics 3000 chipset, a 320GB hard drive paired with a 20GB solid-state drive to help improve the boot time. There is 4GB of memory, Bluetooth, a webcam and an two-in-one card reader.


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