Scientists have been debating the ethics of cloning for decades, but in the technology space, creating a copy of a popular product is almost par for the course. Acer’s Aspire S3 Ultrabook is living proof that taking design “inspiration” from Apple is a good thing.

Measuring in at 13mm thick and weighing a paltry 1.35kg, the S3 is one of the first Ultrabooks to hit the market – laptops running Intel’s low-powered version of the Sandy Bridge processor. With a 13.3-inch screen and metal finish, it’s kind of obvious that Acer’s first Ultrabook is a MacBook Air copy.

Fortunately, Acer has tried to add some of its own personality into the laptop by adding HDMI connectivity, and offering a choice between a 240GB SSD or a 320GB hard drive plus an SSD for smart startup. Acer has also put a lot of effort into improving startup times from sleep, an area Apple has long held dominance over its Microsoft counterpart.

With prices starting at $1,199, it’s not necessarily too much cheaper than Apple’s laptop, given the variety of configurations available, but it’s certainly not out of the realm of mortal man. And it’s also one of the first laptops in a new category, so it will be interesting to see whether Apple will continue to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to super-thin, lightweight notebooks.

Price: From $1,199
Web: Acer