Ultrabook Comparison – Acer S3, Toshiba Z830 & Asus UX31

Ever since Intel announced the new slim form factor that would take Windows-based notebooks into a new era of portability, lightness and cutting edge design, we’ve been covering many aspects of the Ultrabook build-up.

Our first Ultrabook article ran back in the beginning of September, discussing the details of what made an Ultrabook, and how it might add to the customer experience and value proposition.

ACER S3 Toshiba 7830 and ASUS UX21 Ultrabooks

Which do you want this Christmas? The slick and affordable ACER S3, the business person's dream machine in the Toshiba Z830, or the eye-catching performance and show-stopping looks of the ASUS UX21?

We’ve then been lucky enough to have some hands-on time with a slew of different models, including the Acer S3, Asus UX31, Toshiba Z830 and the HP DM3 Folio .

The beauty of competition is that even though Intel stipulated some minimum criteria benchmarks to determine what makes an Ultrabook, each manufacturer has come up with their own unique features that help set them apart from the pack – whether it be bang for buck, business-friendly features, or eye-catching design.

While we have looked at each individual model and reflected on their attributes as single-standing Ultrabooks, we thought it would be fun to gather three of the units and have a look at them together, just to see what made each one tick, and to illustrate just how different each Ultrabook could be, even though the same Intel DNA is coursing through each of their slim bodies.

If you’ve read each of the previous Ultrabook articles, then you’d have a fair idea of what each one offers. So instead of another article, we thought we’d produce a short, snappy video in the same style that you’ve now seen from the Transformer Prime segments.

We chose one Ultrabook from each processor range: an i3 Acer, an i5 Toshiba and an i7 Asus. We’ve presented our thoughts on what each model might represent for different customers, and left it open for further discussion – each model could be successful in its own patch of the market if they attract the right profile of user.

Without further ado, please find below our Ultrabook comparison video:


Here’s where we would love to hear your thoughts on the Ultrabooks – which one would you choose, and why? Or if you’re not interested in making the investment, what’s holding you back? As always, we’ll join you for the discussion and provide further information if you need it.

Talk to you all soon!

Check out www.youtube.com/ritchiesroomtv for all our videos and subscribe if you want to keep up to date with our regular video releases!


  1. danileo says:

    I hope they’ll come soon with touchscreens on ultrabooks. Then we’ll have the perfect device.
    See more ultrabook comparisons

  2. Chris says:

    Just purchased the z830, very disappointed with the fan noise and kicking myself for not taking the advice of reviewers who all mention the problem. It is a wonderful ultrabook but the fan hum is a deal breaker, in idle I can hear it above ambient room noise which is unacceptable, if it were during load well that is ok but in idle, this is a serious design flaw.

  3. Andrew says:

    I have just bought the Acer S3 and have begun to discover the horrible reviews. The draw to this ultrabook for me was the large HDD. I wouldn’t mind paying an extra 2 or 3 hundred more for a Lenovo or Asus but the storage space is too small for me. What’s your take? Is the battery that bad? Is the keyboard a real pain to type on? Should I take it back?

  4. Wordlinks says:

    I am shopping for a light device such as the ultrabook. I want some gaming power (or stock trading power), so the i7 is my preference and of course I would not start out with less than 6GB memory. While Asus is a little cheaper, only the Toshiba calls to me. The ports are EXACTLY where I want them, out of the way on the back and not jabbing me left or right for Ethernet, power, video.

    • Ritchie says:

      This is very true, no less than 6 ports at the back makes for a very clean and organised desk when they are connected.

  5. NQ Tech says:

    Update on the Z830.

    Upgraded the memory to 6gb, not a simple job as you have to remove a number of screws then there is a hidden screw with a security torx head under a rubber foot in the middle of the unit. Upgraded the operating system to Ultimate and installed Windows XP mode which is very fast. I have an I7-920 with 12gb ram and the Z830 runs rings around it starting the XP mode. I develop Excel spreadsheets and need an older version of Excel to offer compatability and this gives me the perfect solution with XP mode running Office 2003 and Win 7 running Office 2010. It is a great little machine.

    • Ritchie says:

      Thanks for the update!
      Sounds like a beast of a machine now, and you’ll be able to take that machine with you to present your spreadsheets to clients – what a pitch that would be.

  6. Harold says:

    Hello Ritchie, i got the rip-of (cough, cough) 14 GB working now on my Asus UX-31. I installed Deamon Tools Lite which makes an virtual BD-romstation AVCHD (D:/) and makes an image of your film in a map called BDMV. In this map there is another map called PLAYLIST where your image is stored. Open Media Player Classic and load the image file from the PLAYLIST. Click OK and voila your rip-of is playing smoothly without any hickups and even with Dutch subtitles.

    I just wanted you and all other UX-31 users this to know. I am a simple user and it gave me a good feeling that I managed it getting it working so fine.

    • Ritchie says:

      Nice work, and it didn’t really sound like you’re a “simple” user, thanks for sharing your efforts to get HD video playback working!

  7. Harold says:

    Thanks Ritchie, sure the movie is my own (cough, cough). I will experiment a little bit with lower bit rates, and will let you know the outcome.

  8. Ritchie says:

    Harold, you early adopter you! Fantastic news, and great to hear it’s been working we ll for you.
    When you say a Blu Ray movie via VLC, I’m assuming a rip of a movie that you own (cough, cough) that’s been encoded to a certain bit rate? My experience with VLC has been it’s great on standard def material but does struggle with very high bit rate material. Not sure if there is a solution except to encode at a slightly lower bit rate, maybe closer to the native screen resolution – that should help the performance.

  9. Harold says:

    Just to let you know Ritchie that I bought this afternoon the UX-31, i5,
    128 GB SSD. What a fine little toy. I have no problems in spite of all the negative points regarding Bios, trackpad, wifi etc. others seems to have. Only problem is playing a Blue Ray movie with VLC player. Does not run smoothly. Any suggestions for solving this?? Thanks for the great video and your nice and quick answers.