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Acer’s Aspire S7 reviewed: a touch-enabled Ultrabook that checks a lot of boxes

By Leigh D. Stark | 2:54 pm 25/10/2012

The first Windows 8 machine off the rank, Acer’s Aspire S7 brings with it a clean sense of design and combines it with aluminium, Gorilla Glass, and a 13 inch Full HD touchscreen that’s sure to get your attention. It definitely has ours.

Features

With the design and build of the S7, Acer has moved on from the plastic chassis we saw in its S3, and most of its laptop range. Here, you’ll find an aluminum unibody casing, kept in silver inside but painted white on the bottom and top, and covered – at least when closed – with a piece of Corning’s scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass.

The use of strengthened glass continues at the screen, where Acer has covered the 13.3 inch widescreen 1080p (1920×1080) touchscreen with another piece of Gorilla Glass, protecting your delicious 178 degree high-grade In-Plane Switching (IPS) display from the dreaded fingernails of doom, though you may still have to wipe off your prints from time to time.

There’s an island-key keyboard inside, with backlighting provided in light blue, sitting above a widescreen trackpad that sits at 11.5cm wide, just slightly bigger than the spacebar, and providing more room that’s closer to the Full HD screen.

Under the hood, you’ll find a third-generation dual-core Intel Core i7 processor, paired with 4GB RAM and a 128GB solid state drive, though once Windows and Acer’s range of software has been installed, you’ll only find 70 to 80GB left for you to use.

WiFi is, of course, a standard with any notebook, and Acer has a dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n chipset here, with the antenna located at the top of the screen, designed to improve wireless performance. Bluetooth 4.0 is also offered, and you’ll find a 720p (1280×720) webcam at the top of the screen.

You can’t expect many ports on a thin machine, and there are just enough on the Aspire S7, with two USB 3.0 ports and an SDXC slot on the right, with the left side of the machine offering a 3.5mm headset jack, microHDMI out, and two power ports, one of which is for the regular power brick and the other for a second external battery, we’re told.

The power button is also along the right side.

Performance

Acer’s first touch-enabled Ultrabook, the Aspire S7 brings with it a hope that maybe Acer will get it right, nailing the formula out of the gate and coming up with a perfect place to springboard from for future releases.

Open the box and you’ll see that this is a computer Acer has thought long and hard about, making it more than just your typical brown or beige computer box, with a hint of that magical quality Apple brings to its own manufacturing process.

Inside the cardboard of the Aspire S7 package, everything is divided into little boxes, all of which can be pulled out with little tufts of fabric, and the entire thing feels like a giant advent calendar with little bits and bobs for your computer, such as the manual, power pack, video and Ethernet cable, and even a carrying case to keep the screen all nice and clean.

Get the computer out and you see the quality continues, with a lovely white finish that’s all shiny thanks to the piece of scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass sitting on the very top of the machine. Open it up and the clean aesthetics continue, with a lovely aluminium look and feel around the plastic keys and wide trackpad mouse, with white underside.

The 13.3 inch screen on offer shows a Full HD 1920×1080 image, and is easily one of the best laptop screens we’ve come across on an Ultrabook, not only showing more resolution, but offering more angles. Almost an echo from the quality that you get on an Apple iPad, Acer is using an In-Plane Switching (IPS) display here, showing near perfect viewing angles from all sides.

Images are, of course, better looked at dead on, but the screen looks gorgeous from all sides, which is a fair bit better than what we saw on the Aspire S3.

Acer has married that with a ten-point touch digitizer, offering up a machine that really aims to impress. Swipes from all sides as well as pinch to pull zooms all show off the speed and quality of the touchscreen, and with the touch friendliness of Windows 8, it makes the Aspire S7 shine.

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Price (RRP)

$1999

Pros & Cons

Product Pros

Aluminium chassis is solid and comfy on the palms; Beautiful IPS touchscreen; Despite being shallow, the keyboard is comfortable to use; Speedy and responsive;

Product Cons

No obvious Caps Lock indicator; Cover glass gets grubby quickly; Backlighting isn't very bright; While the touchscreen gestures are excellent, the trackpad ones are not; Battery life could be better;

Ratings

Overall

Features

Value for money

Performance

Design

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