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Ultrabooks are something of a new breed, with Apple’s MacBook Air their forefather. While we have had netbooks for a few years now, they’ve historically been underpowered, cheap and not always cheerful machines that were only there to fill a purpose until the tablets came along.

Intel’s latest push for super-small, super-light notebooks comes in the form of the Ultrabooks which are sure to be out in force during this year’s CES, and one such device was revealed earlier today by Acer and it goes by the moniker of the Aspire S5.

Acer_aspires5

At first blush, the Aspire S5 looks more than a little like a MacBook Air, and there’s a good reason for that. Pretty much all Ultrabooks look very similar to the Air, if only because that ‘thicker at one edge, thinner at the other’ approach is universally agreed to be the best way to make a thin notebook. Remember folks, great artists steal, apparently.

The similarities with the MacBook Air are not just skin deep, either. The Aspire S5 is one of a rare breed of devices to sport a new Thunderbolt port and not also pack an Apple logo. In fact, it’s the first.

What that means is this little machine can be hooked up to all sorts of accessories, or at least that will be the case when the accessory makers decide to actually bring some to market. Right now, you’re really only looking at picking up Apple’s Thunderbolt monitor, or an expensive external hard disk. Not exactly an embarrassment of riches, is it?

When it comes to specifications, you’re looking at a 13-inch screen with a resolution of 1366×768 and a device that weighs less than 3 pounds. Thickness-wise, at its thickest point the Aspire S5 comes in at just 15mm, which is thin, obviously.

Internally, there is an Intel Core CPU and an SSD for storage.

A handful of ports, including USB, HDMI and that Thunderbolt port are all hidden beneath a motorized flap, which to us just sounds like something else to go wrong, but we’re obviously lacking in imagination here.

This is just the first in what is sure to be a long line of Ultrabook announcements over the next few days, so if you’re looking to pick up a small, light notebook that is not an Apple MacBook Air, then you’ll be wanting to keep an eye on proceedings at CES this week.

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