Following yesterday's announcement of the Lenovo U300s ultrabook, Acer and Toshiba have thrown their hats into the ring: Acer with its Aspire S3, and Toshiba with its Portege Z830.

Let's start with the similarities: Both feature a 13.3" screen with a 1366x768 resolution, Sandy Bridge ULV processors, DDR3 memory, an HDMI port, an SD card reader, wi-fi, a webcam, and bluetooth. Both also feature SSDs of varying capacities, though the Aspire S3 will offer a higher-capacity but slower mechanical HDD option (sources indicate that HDD models will feature an embedded SSD to retain the fast boot times required by Intel's Ultrabook spec, but specifics are hard to come by). Both will also launch later this year: Toshiba is commiting to November, while Acer declined to be more specific.


And the differences: the Toshiba model also features built-in Ethernet, a VGA port, a backlit keyboard, and a third USB port, while the Acer model is slightly thinner at 0.51 inches but heavier at about 3 pounds (the Toshiba is 0.63 inches high and weighs about 2.5 pounds, though it should be noted that the weight of each model may vary based on component selection). The Toshiba will also be cheaper, starting at around $1,000 (compared to the Acer's $1,179).

Looking at these early Ultrabooks, it's becoming clear that these laptops, like netbooks before them, are going to have to fight to differentiate themselves. In these particular models, this is mostly being done with ports: the Acer is the only one to lack a wired Ethernet port, while the Toshiba is the only to offer a VGA out and a third USB port.

This sort of heavy competition can be good, to a point, but I'm hoping we don't see the same thing we already see in the netbook and low-end laptop market: dozens of unexciting computers that are, for most intents and purposes, indistinguishable from one another.

Source: BusinessWire, PCMag


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  • lukarak - Saturday, September 3, 2011 - link

    I don't know how you can place HDMI over DP? Running large displays, plus, DP transforms into anything, thus saving space, while HDMI has to have a VGA separately, one of the most bulky connectors. Also, i just found another picture of this one from the bottom side. Sorry, but cooling from the underside is just unacceptable on such a small form factor that's going to be running on soft surfaces alot.

    And if you want to run your vastly superior OS, you can do it on both, can't mention that as a pro for the toshiba :D
  • inighthawki - Saturday, September 3, 2011 - link

    "And if you want to run your vastly superior OS, you can do it on both, can't mention that as a pro for the toshiba :D "

    Sure you can, because it's another $150 to run it on the Mac.
  • lukarak - Saturday, September 3, 2011 - link

    Yes, but then it's not the ability. Both are able to do it.
  • KPOM - Saturday, September 3, 2011 - link

    Legally, the Toshiba isn't able to run OS X, and Toshiba doesn't provide OS X drivers for its hardware. Legally, a Mac can run Windows, and Apple provides Windows drivers for their Macs.
  • melgross - Sunday, September 4, 2011 - link

    No, it's not more. PC companies are trying to get Intel to sell them processors at half price for their Ultrabooks, $100 just given to them, and help with design, because they can't compete on price with Apple.
  • Exodite - Saturday, September 3, 2011 - link

    Because HDMI has widespread native adoption while mini-DP is all but useless?

    That'd be my guess anyway.
  • lukarak - Saturday, September 3, 2011 - link

    Why would it be useless? It can transform into anything you might need, including both HDMI and VGA. There are very many laptops that have poor HDMI implementation, so you can't get 25x16 screens running from them (i belive it was introduced in 1.3)
  • Exodite - Sunday, September 4, 2011 - link

    Because it has no native use and adapters defeat the purpose of having an ultraportable to begin with.
  • lukarak - Sunday, September 4, 2011 - link

    Almost every new decent monitor has a display port. It has nothing to do with apple.

    Also, look at KPOM's post below.
  • damianrobertjones - Sunday, September 4, 2011 - link

    ON every single machine we have in work and every laptop that I've had to fix over the years... none of them have DP.

    If the mac vanished tomorrow DP would vanish as well.

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