With a bladelike body, bright screen and a Core i7 processor, the Aspire S3 has almost everything you'd want in an Ultrabook. But its big selling point is its price. On the face of it, you get pretty much what you get with the Sony, plus just over a thousand pounds. For the Ultrabook to become the computer of the next decade, there will need to be more laptops like this.
That doesn’t quite tell the whole story, though, because the S3 isn't without drawbacks. Its body is plasticky, and while it may not look cheap, neither does it have the super-sleek design kudos of the Zenbook or Air. Similarly, the screen is decent enough but lacks the pixel density and exceptional colour performance of its peers.
Compared to almost any other Windows notebook, the S3 would be an out and out winner. But the standard of competition for Ultrabooks is outrageously high already, and things are only going to get better. However, Acer may have one more card to play: right now, the extra £90 for an equivalent Zenbook is well worth paying, but the S3 has fallen in price by £100 in less than two months since launch. If it continues to drop like that it will become a far more convincing proposition.