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Acer Aspire S7 review

Acer's luxurious laptop is an ultraportable star

Our Verdict

The Acer Aspire S7 impresses with a hyper-HD touchscreen and numerous other improvements, making a serious contender for your laptop bag.

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1920 x 1080
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Stunning build quality
  • Super sharp screen
  • Quite quiet and cool

Against

  • No 802.11ac WiFi
  • OK battery life
  • Touchpad isn't centered
Scores in depth
Acer Aspire S7 review
Acer Aspire S7 review
Acer Aspire S7 review
Acer Aspire S7 review
Acer Aspire S7 review

Update: We've refreshed our take on the Acer Aspire S7 with a video review. See that electroluminescent keyboard backlighting in action below!

The Aspire S7 didn't need much of an upgrade. Acer came close to a Windows 8 dream machine last year, with design both gorgeous and slim. Now the attractive S7 has been given this season's most fashionable upgrade, a 2560 x 1440 IPS touchscreen.

While the merits of such a sharp screen are suspect - and more readily visible if you're keeping up with the optometrist - it's definite future-proofing, and good defense against pixel envy from the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display.

Acer isn't just bumping up specs, it's working on the overall Aspire experience. Just 0.3mm of extra keyboard travel of overall last year's model may not sound like much, but let me assure you that means an excellent typing experience.

Look out, Apple: For typing and easy transportation, the Acer Aspire S7 is getting dangerously close to your 13-inch MacBook Air. And it's even punchier than what's on offer from the Dell XPS 13. Now, if only it could squeeze as much battery life out of its Haswell processor, and I wouldn't mind if it centered up that touchpad, either.

Design

The changes to the Aspire S7 are hardly skin deep, and for good reason. It had a gorgeous design to begin with, and Acer has stuck with it. This is the same aluminum frame wrapping a pearly white plastic and Gorilla Glass encasement. There's the same aluminum keyboard deck with silver plastic keys, and the laptop's underside is coated in soft touch plastic, just like it was last year.

Subtle adjustments have been made, like the larger power button near the hinge. It's more prominently placed near the power port – rather than next to the audio jack on the side of last year's S7 – making it much easier to find. The S7 still maintains a clean, MacBook-like look, with a lot of space between the function keys and hinges.

Before we start getting into internals, I should mention that Acer has revisited its cooling solution for the Aspire S7. It's kept the dual fans just above the keyboard, but reduced the amount of fan blades and is now running them at 10,000 rpm. Fan noise was a common complaint with last year's model, that it sounded like a jumbo jet when streaming Netflix or a little Photoshop.

These fans suck less power, and while you may not see it on your electric bill, they do make for an incredibly cool and quiet computing experience, which is rare get from an Ultrabook.

Acer Aspire S7 review

Welcome to Tweak Town

The overarching theme with the new Aspire S7 is tweaks, changes that don't mess with what has already earned Acer acclaim from critics. Moving power buttons, adjusting fan speeds and increasing key travel aren't back of the box, bullet point-type changes, but together, they make a for an improved computing experience.

There wasn't much more that Acer needed to do to keep pace with the competition (or even earn our "Recommended" Award). But the vendor managed to make an already-premium system look and feel even more so than before. Just as importantly, Acer didn't cut anything critics loved last time, either.

You've gotta love the sci-fi electroluminescent backlighting on the Aspire keyboard. Not only does it set the S7 aesthetic apart, it's easier on the eyes in low light than many Windows 8.1 notebook keyboards.

Acer Aspire S7 review
It lights up like something out of Star Trek

The edge-to-edge glass screen – which can bend back 180 degrees and lay flat – on the Aspire S7 is also a fantastic touch. This makes gestures feel seamless as you draw your index finger in from the right edge of the panel to summon the Charms menu.

Of course, there's plenty more that Acer tweaked, like introducing the Aspire S7 to Intel's latest mobile chips, the fourth generation Core i series. But how does it stack up to some of the existing holders of Haswell?

Tech Specs

Product TypeUltrabook
Green CompliantYes
TouchscreenYes
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD 4000
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Finger Print ReaderNo
Solid State Drive Capacity128 GB
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyAspire S7-391
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Keyboard BacklightYes
ThunderboltYes
Processor Modeli5-3317U
Operating SystemWindows 8
Brand NameAcer
Processor Speed1.70 GHz
Processor TypeCore i5
Screen Size33.8 cm (13.3")
Number of Cells4-cell
Screen Resolution1920 x 1080
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)1.30 kg
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityHSF, ENERGY STAR
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelHM77 Express
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyComfyView
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0 + HS
Total Number of USB Ports2
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Height11.9 mm
Width323.3 mm
Depth223.5 mm
Screen ModeFull HD
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesS7-391
ManufacturerAcer, Inc
Product ModelS7-391-53314G12aws
Product NameAspire S7-391-53314G12aws Ultrabook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineAspire
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberNX.M3EEK.002
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.acer.co.uk
Marketing Information

Acer's Aspire Series offers a diverse range of notebooks with the performance, graphics and communication tools to maximize your digital entertainment, complete your daily tasks, and keep you in touch with friends and family, whether you're at home or on the go.

Powerful PC performance

With the abundance of graphics-intensive multimedia and sharing applications available these days, smooth multitasking is more vital than ever before. So Aspire Series notebooks pack today's best processors and memory options so your system always runs efficiently. This series also provides ample storage for all the multimedia files you may wish to keep.

Maximum Memory4 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Polymer (Li-Polymer)
Package Contents
  • Aspire S7-391-53314G12aws Ultrabook
  • Lithium Polymer Battery
  • AC Adapter
Limited Warranty1 Year