Acer, the world's third-largest PC brand by shipments, has been busy at the IFA 2012 trade event in Berlin. While it kept pace with competitors such as Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Dell, introducing a tablet and a tablet hybrid, it also showed off two new versions of that old classic, the laptop.
Running Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system-which will officially arrive Oct. 26-these laptops are the new normal, pairing large, sunken chiclet-style keyboards with numeric keypads with the instant-on characteristics of a smartphone and the touch-screen capabilities of a tablet.
The Acer M3 measures 0.9 inches thin, weighs five pounds and features a frameless, 15.6-inch display inside a dark aluminum chassis. It runs a choice of third-generation Intel Core processors and-a first for any Acer Ultrabook-an Nvidia GeForce GT640M GPU that can face graphics-intense games and streaming video.
Acer's Green Instant-On technology means the M3 can be woken from sleep mode in 1.5 seconds and attached to a favorite WiFi connection in 2.5 seconds-four times quicker than usual, says Acer.
The company also showed off the Aspire V5 Series, explaining in an Aug. 31 statement that all V5 Series notebooks are "30 percent slimmer than the same class in two-spindle design with DVD and ergonomic thermal so they're extremely easy to handle on the go."
A 14-inch model is 0.8 inches thin and weighs 4.6 pounds, while a 15.6-inch model is 0.9 inches and 5.3 pounds. Both include optical drives and USB 3.0 ports.
They also run Intel Core processors and Nvidia GeForce GT Series graphics, and have such efficient power-management capabilities that they can comfortably be used on a lap, according to Acer.
If it's more of a head-turner that you're after, there's also the Aspire S7 laptop, which features an 11-inch display with a 1920 by 1080 high-definition resolution. The Verge got hold of this super-thin, super-silver and lovely laptop-closed, it almost looks as though it could be a standard tablet-at IFA. And though Vlad Savov calls it the prettiest laptop he's seen "since first laying eyes on Apple's 2010 MacBook Air redesign," it does seem to have a balance issue.
Apple has made a big deal of the ability for users to open its laptops with one hand, and judging from the video, this is an area where Acer still has work to do. The S7 is so thin and so light, its two sides seem to not want to part.
A tablet not sounding so bad after all? Acer also unveiled the W5, the above-mentioned laptop-tablet hybrid, and a straight-up Iconia W7 tablet.
The W5 features a 10.1-inch touch-screen, is 3G-capable and includes microHDMI and microSD ports. Memory is said to be 18 hours, according to reports. Gauging by the few images circulating, the keyboard that the tablet-display clicks into seems thinner than, if not as thin as, the display itself.
The W7 tablet features an 11.6-inch display with a resolution of 1920 by 1080 and 10-point touch capabilities. There's a 5-megapixel camera on board, and the tablet is said to get eight hours of battery life.
Finally, rounding out its offerings, Acer also showed off the Aspire U, a 27-inch all-in-one desktop that runs a third-generation Intel processor. It can tilt from 30 to 80 degrees and has a Webcam, a Blu-ray drive, a multi-in-one reader, a TV tuner and a High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) in and out port.
The IFA show will run through Sept. 5.