Ultrabook sales have disappointed thanks in part to high prices, but that doesn't appear to have deterred Acer from rolling out some new models that cost far more than the $699 target price Intel has set for mainstream success. Of course, those well-heeled buyers looking for a new laptop will get a beautifully designed model in the Aspire S7 Touch Ultrabook.
Acer has formally announced the new notebook series in anticipation of the Windows 8 launch on October 26, when the Aspire S7 will also be available. To make use of the touch features that the new OS possesses, the S7-391 series can tilt 180 degrees so the screen can lay flat on a table for tablet-like touch input. The company claims that it borrowed a technique from auto manufacturing to create the lid's dual-torque hinge.
The S7 has the design flourishes you would expect from pricier Ultrabooks, including a unibody design, made either from aluminum or, in the case of the 13.3-inch S7-391, white Gorilla Glass (see photo above). Certain models measure just 0.47 inches at their thinnest point and tip the scales at 2.29 pounds.
They also come with the latest Intel Ivy Bridge processors, ranging from the Core i5-3317U for the S7-191-6640 to the Core i7-3517U for the S7-391-9886. No matter whether you choose a 11.6-inch or 13.3-inch model, you get a 1,920x1,080 full HD screen with LED backlighting. The S7-191-6640 and S7-391-6810 come with 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD drive, while the S7-391-9886 includes the same amount of RAM but bumps the SSD up to 256GB. Acer claims up to 12 hours of battery life for the S7 with an optional second battery, owing in part to its patent-pending TwinAir cooling that lets the Ultrabook run cooler and more efficiently.
Like other Ultrabooks that are designed to outdo the MacBook Air in their panache, the S7 is priced well above $1,000, with a starting price of $1,199. That won't help drive down the average price on Ultrabooks, but you probably won't care if you really, really want that Gorilla Glass white model.