The Bottom Line
Oct 30 2013 - Acer's updated S7 13-inch ultrabook offers some impressive improvements to an already good system that makes it a solid choice for those looking at a very thin ultrabook. There are some systems that are lighting or slightly thinner, but the design is much more solid and well executed from a company typically known for lower priced systems. The battery life is of particular note as it nearly doubled what the old version could achieve. There is still room for improvement though as newer systems have come out with higher resolution displays and even better storage performance.
- Greatly Improved Battery Life
- Excellent Design and Styling
- Storage Performance Not Much Better than Non-RAID Options
- Display Falls Short of Newer Higher Resolution Displays
- Intel Core i5-4200U Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 128GB Solid State Drive
- 13.3" WUXGA (1920x1080) Multitouch Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- Intel HD Graphics 4400 Integrated Graphics
- 802.11a/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Two USB 3.0, HDMI, Card Reader
- 12.7" x 8.8" x .51" @ 2.9 lbs.
- Windows 8
Review - Acer Aspire S7-392-6832
Oct 30 2013 - Acer's update Aspire S7 13-inch laptop keeps the elegant design from its introduction and instead relies more on internal changes than external ones. It is extremely thin at just .51-inches thick making it one of the thinnest on the market and the weight is down there at just 2.87 lbs. but it still can't top the featherweight Sony VAIO Pro 13. The chassis is produce of aluminum similar to what Apple introduced years ago but sports a white color that really helps it stand apart.
Powering the latest revision of the Aspire S7 is the new 4th generation Intel processors. For this specific model, it is the Core i5-4200U dual core processor that is turning up in many ultrabooks. In terms of performance, it isn't that much different from the 3rd generation which means that it is good enough for most people but will lag behind in more demanding tasks like desktop video. The new processors benefits are much more for power savings. Rather than your typical 4GB found in many ultrabooks, Acer does include 8GB which provides a smooth overall experience in Windows regardless of what you will likely use it for.
Storage for the Acer S7-392 is based around a pair of solid state drives combined into a RAID 0 array for extra performance. It offers a typical 128GB storage capacity which is typical of an entry level ultrabook. It may not be a huge amount of space especially for those that want to carry around a lot of high definition video files but it can get people moving along quite well. The speed of the storage is actually a bit disappointing as it doesn't really perform any better than the single 128GB drives found in other ultrabooks. Boot times are still quick at just under ten seconds but file writes seem to be a bit off. If you need additional storage space, the system does have two USB 3.0 ports (one on either side) ports for use with high speed external hard drives.
The 13.3-inch display on the system may not have the super high resolution of some of the competitors but the 1920x1080 resolution provides a good level of detail without any complications with some of the Windows menus and icons. The IPS display panel provides some excellent colors, brightness levels and wide viewing angles. It is a multitouch compatible display which is useful with the Windows 8 interfaces. The graphics for the system have been improved slightly with the new Intel Core i5 processor but it still isn't really a big 3D performance option and is not really suitable for PC gaming unless at very low details and resolutions in mostly older games. It does provide a slight improvement to the already excellent media acceleration with Intel Quick Sync compatible applications.
Acer continues to use its isolated keyboard layout for the Aspire S7 but they have made a few changes. Most notably is the travel has improved to provide a more comfortable and accurate experience. Of course the system does lack the function key row here so there are a lot more combo keys that need to be used for media and unction control keys. The backlighting for the keyboard will also adjust itself based upon the ambient light. The trackpad is a nice large size that offers a very accurate level of tracking including multitouch gestures.
The battery for the Acer Aspire S7 is an internal one with a capacity rating of 6280mAh. Acer estimates that the new Haswell process will allow it to run up to eight hours. In digital video playback testing, the system was able to run for eight and a quarter hours before going into standby mode. This is a huge improvement over their previous S7 laptops and should allow for all day computing. It still falls short of the over ten hours of running time that the Apple MacBook Air 13-inch provides but it has a lower resolution panel and no touchscreen.
With retail pricing of around $1400 for the Acer Aspire S7-392-6832 falls into the premium ultrabook category where there are some notable contenders. This includes the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus and Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 both of which are priced similar with similar specs but having super high resolution displays. The Sony VAIO Pro 13 is a bit more expensive and lighter as previously mentioned but also offers higher performance from a Core i7 processor with the downside of more noise from its cooling fans. Dell's XPS 12 could also be considered a competitor even though it is heavier but it is slightly more affordable and features a screen that can convert into a tablet.