Monday, 3 December 2012

Acer Aspire S7

Acer have been pretty active lately with the release of Windows 8 and the niche Ultrabook market. The S7 looks to stand out from the crowd with a slick design and luxury features that make it a head turner.
  • Processor: Intel® Core™ i7-3517U 1.9GHz Processor (4M Cache, up to 3.00 GHz)
  • Memory: 4GB DDR3-1333 Memory (1 x 4GB)
  • Storage: 128GB SSD
  • Optical Drive: No
  • Wireless LAN: 3rd WiFi 2x2 AGN+
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.0
  • Camera: HD
  • Battery: 4-cell (up to 6 hours)
  • Card Reader: 2-in-1
  • Operating System: Windows 8
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000 (UMA)
  • Display: 13.3" HD + Touch
  • Weight (KG): 1.3
  • Dimension (W x D x H): 323.3 x 223.5 x 11.9

Packs quite the punch ey? Well it should because at $1900 you’re going to be expecting some serious grunt from this machine. It does however feature a few extra specials like a cleaning cloth for the display and a matching wireless mouse (with batteries!). The packaging itself is also quite elegant with crafted individual boxes slipping into their own aligned spaces with bits of material to pull each one up. Premium product packaging for a premium product makes sense doesn’t it?
Let’s start but looking at the design. Its high glossy white, it’s thin and expectantly lightweight. Opening the lid truly reveals the exquisiteness of the slick design. Simplicity is key here and Acer has pulled it off very well. There’s very little marketing stuff going on around the keyboard with an Intel Core i7 sticker, the model of the laptop, Dolby theatre text and unnecessarily 
‘Professionally Tuned’ on the right hand side. Seriously Acer, get rid of it and the Dolby text (the Dolby text is also plastered next to the speakers on the BOTTOM of the unit). Not many people care about things like that. Many people are well aware of the quality of audio they are to expect coming out of a 13” Ultrabook. Annoyingly Acer has once again opted to put the Power button on the side of the unit which adds this tiny extrusion to what is otherwise a slick looking machine.
The rest of the unit is just as slick and continues the simple design throughout the unit. The display is probably one of the biggest selling points on this unit.

 Featuring a 13.3” Full HD Touch Display. There is a downside however. With a 13.3” display, the Full-HD resolution can make things appear pretty small on the screen which can cause a few annoying issues for people who have not so good eyes and people who have a chunky pointy finger (it is a touch screen after all). The quality and performance of the screen however is pretty much the best I have seen on a laptop. The colour saturation, black reproduction and overall contrast of the display make your high definition photos and videos just stand out that ever so better. It truly is a magnificent display.

The performance of the laptop is equally impressive. With a 128GB SSD which actually appears to be 2x 64GB’s in some sort of RAID setup (I’m assuming either RAID1 or a proprietary RAID-like setup similar to MSI). It does however seem to have worked. With SSD benchmarks providing average score of 350MB/s and 740MB/s Write and Read respectively. Those read speeds are absolutely astonishing and is one of the most important part of an SSD, not the Write speeds. Booting up the unit from a cold start comes in around 5-7 seconds which is a definite eye turner for all those mobile workers.

Unlike other Acer Ultrabooks I’ve tested this unit did not seem to have any issue with playing back Full-HD MKV content. A few others caused lag and stuttering throughout the vide whereas the S7 powered through with no issues and managed to do an entire 90 minute feature film on battery with plenty of time remaining. In fact the S7 managed to give me 4hrs of battery life including the 90 minutes of watching a movie full screen and about another 90 minutes watching YouTube videos and other Flash related content (Flash media is generally CPU intensive and great on draining batteries).

Gaming is a miss with this laptop and so it should be as it isn’t designed to be used as a mobile gamer. This laptop is a high performance machine for people who need the power on the move.

Its thin, its lightweight and features a full HD display ideal for professionals on the go. If you need a superfast laptop with good internals this could be for you. With a relatively hefty price tag, it is aimed at the higher end users.