Acer Aspire S5
Acer Aspire S5

Acer Inc has set the stage for Ultrabook wars by unveiling the world's thinnest Ultrabook to date at CES 2012. The S5 being the thinnest and the lightest Ultrabook till date, clashes head-on with the likes of the classic Macbook Air.

Though on most counts the two 13-inch notebooks resemble each other, they have their own distinct features. A detailed comparison of the two:

Design and Build Quality

Acer Aspire S5
The glossy black finish on the lid gives it a touch of elegance.

The ultra-sleek and lightweight design makes the S5 an ideal travel companion. Apart from impressive looks, the S5 sports a magnesium-alloy casing with a brushed metallic finish to give it a dash of elegance alongside sturdiness.

The glossy black finish on its back is what captures your attention and separates it from the Macbook Air.

13-inch Macbook Air
13-inch Macbook Air

The Macbook Air too displays a solid feel with a unibody aluminium casing and magnetic latch, while the rounded corners add a touch of grace.

Weight and Thickness

The ultra-slim S5 measures just 15mm at its thickest point and weighs a mere 1.35Kg. In comparison the 13.3-inch Macbook Air measures 17.27 mm at its thickest point but weighs nearly the same as the S5.


Macbook Air running Mac OS X Lion
Macbook Air running Mac OS X Lion

The 13-inch Air is incredibly snappy owing to its instant boot and flash memory features integrated into the design. Running on the famed Mac OS X Lion it has an edge over its rivals with superior boot times just shy of 17 seconds.

The Aspire S5 too boasts an instant resume feature that hardly takes 1.5 seconds to wake the computer back from sleep mode. Besides, the Acer Always Connect feature allows users to remotely manage data on their computers even during sleep or hibernation states.

Both the S5 and the Macbook Air ship with ultra-low voltage Intel Core i-series processors, alongside the most anticipated Thunderbolt interface that is rated to deliver data transfer rates up to 20Gbps.

The slight performance boost with the addition of Solid State Drives (SSD) should benefit both the Ultrabooks in their quest for supremacy over their rivals.


The other ports on the S5 include USB 3.0 and HDMI concealed by the MagicFlip I/O port panel just below the hinge. Quite strangely, the Macbook Air drops both the USB 3.0 and HDMI ports from its configuration. Instead, it adds a Display Port that supports HDMI output through a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter.

Battery Life

Acer claims that the S5 battery backup will last for several weeks on light use. There is as yet no clear indication of its actual battery life at peak loads as the product is due for release only between April and June.

On the contrary, the Macbook Air is expected to deliver a decent 6 hours of battery life under light to medium use (gaming excluded) with due credit to its 50-watt lithium-polymer battery.


For starters, the Macbook Air is staggeringly priced at $1,299 for its basic model, while the step-up configuration might cost more at $1,599.

The Acer Aspire S5 is expected to be reasonably priced in a bid to give its rivals a run for their money. Particularly, it will be interesting to see an all-out price war between Acer and Apple.

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