Hands on with Acer’s insanely thin Aspire S5

Acer’s new ultrabook is out now, check out our full review of the Acer Aspire S5.

It’s blacked out, chopped, and pops up and down with the flick of a switch. No, it’s not a lowrider, it’s Acer’s Aspire S5.

That’s about where the analogy ends, since Acer’s second Ultrabook oozes understated class and modern style, while your standard SoCal lowrider is more a study in excess and retro charm. Fortunately, we think they can share the same sense of cool.

At only 15mm thin, the S5 is the thinnest Ultrabook we’ve seen at the show, bested only by Samsung’s 14.9mm Series 9 (which technically isn’t an Ultrabook, narrowly giving Acer the honors). Apple’s MacBook Air, by comparison, measures 17mm thick at its deepest part, giving the S5 an edge if you’re willing to factor out Apple’s famous tapered design.

Hammering a notebook down so thin creates some challenges with ports, which Acer resolved with one of the strangest features we’ve ever seen on a notebook: a “MagicFlip” rear hatch that pops open with the press of a switch and the whirring of a motor. The entire notebook lifts a few millimeters as it happens, giving the lowrider effect we alluded to. The ports inside include one HDMI, two USB 3.0, and a Thunderbolt port. If you’re a bit skeptical of typing on a notebook supported only by a rear pedestal that sounded like a car sunroof when it opened, we were too, but Acer claims the mechanism is rated for 50 pounds of force. Just hope the motor never goes out or you’ll never use a thumb drive again.

Unlike the silver S3, Acer will only offer the S5 in an inky anodized black, which we definitely prefer. Although black has a nice habit of picking up stray fingerprints, the prototype we handled did a pretty good job keeping them at bay.

Like the S3, the S5 uses a 13.3-inch display that looked pretty solid on first appearances. The keyboard sits within an ever so slightly dished-out section, with thin island-style keys. It also gets the typical supersized Ultrabook clickable trackpad, in a smooth matte black.

As the thinnest in its species, you won’t be able to equip the S5 with some of the frills we’ve seen in porkier versions, like non-SSD hard drives, discrete graphics, or optical drives, but for the target audience, we doubt that will be an issue. The Aspire S5 will start shipping in the second quarter of 2012 with a price to be announced, and we’ll be sure to get one in for a full evaluation.

Product Review

The Digital Storm Aventum X is an unstoppable gaming PC. Trust us, we tried

Packed with dual-Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti graphics card and a 9th-generation Intel Core i9 processor, the Aventum X is an infinitely upgradeable gaming PC that’s capable of far more performance than you’ll ever need.
Product Review

Controversy has dogged the MacBook Pro lately. Is it still a good purchase?

The MacBook Pro is a controversial laptop these days -- and that's unfortunate. Due to some divisive changes Apple made to the functionality of the MacBook Pro, fans are more split. Does the 8th-gen refresh change that?

The best iPhone 6 cases for style and protection

No one likes a bruised Apple. Scratches, scuffs, and cracks on a new iPhone 6 are enough to ruin anyone’s day. Check out the best iPhone 6 cases and get some protection on that shiny new smartphone.

From Chromebooks to MacBooks, here are the best laptop deals for January 2019

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work or you're just doing some post-holiday shopping, we've got you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.
Product Review

Origin's Chronos PC is no looker, but it plays games with eye-popping detail

The Chronos is Origin’s smallest PC, but while it occupies less space than most A/V receivers, it delivers the power of a much larger desktop. Its dull exterior design does the system a disservice. Once you turn it on, you won’t be…

How good are you at spotting phishing scams? Take this quiz to find out

Are you able to discern between a legitimate email and one that's a scam designed to phish for your personal information? Google created an online quiz with tips to help you better understand phishing so you don't become a victim.

Can't stand keyboard gaming on PC? Here's how to use a PS3 controller instead

Properly connecting a PlayStation 3 Controller to a PC is no easy task, especially when you opt for third-party peripherals. Thankfully, our guide will help you through the process.

Zipping files on a Chromebook? Follow these four easy steps

Chromebooks support file compression, though they work a little differently than on Windows or Mac. Here's the step-by-step process to zipping files on a Chromebook, and then unzipping them again for extraction.

Yes, you can use Android apps on your Chromebook. Here's how

You can now get Android apps on your Chromebook! Google has enabled the Google Play Store app support on its Chrome OS and Chromebook hardware, so to get you started, here's our guide on how to get Android apps on a Chromebook.

Patent application reveals what’s to come after AMD’s Graphics Core Next

A published patent application from AMD has revealed a new type of graphics processor core which could make a big difference to the capabilities of its GPUs if it finds its way into them in the future.

Microsoft targets Chrome OS with $189 Windows 10 laptops for education

Microsoft announced seven new low-cost Windows 10 laptops, all priced under $300 to take on Chromebooks and iPads in the education market, along with a new Microsoft Allora stylus for students using the Surface Go tablet.

Lenovo patent hints at a future tablet with a folding screen

Folding devices are a new trend, and according to a recent patent, Lenovo is considering a foldable 2-in-1 with a hinge mechanism that would allow consumers to bend back the screen on the device. 

Wifi Porter is a high-tech block of wood that lets you share your broadband

Tired of manually connecting your guests to your home Wi-Fi network? The latest invention from the folks at Ten One Design, the WifiPorter, allow individuals to connect to your Wi-Fi with the tap of their phone, or by scanning an available…