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Acer Aspire S7

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What's Hot: Elegant design, supremely thin and light. Excellent full HD touch screen.

What's Not: Short battery life.


Reviewed April 23, 2013 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

Make no mistake; the Acer Aspire S7 has nothing in common with the netbooks of yesteryear that brought Acer temporary fame and fortune. The S7 is a member of their high line of Ultrabooks and it looks and feels every bit the part. The S7 is available in 11.6" and 13.3" models, and the 11.6" has a solid aluminum alloy lid while the 13" model has a white glass lid. We take a look at the Acer Aspire S7-191, the 11.6" model here. Both models have a 1920 x 1080 capacitive touchscreen with 178 degree viewing angles. The S7-191 11.6" model is priced at $1,199 and it comes with a clip-on secondary 3 cell battery, case, VGA adapter, USB to Ethernet adapter and a Bluetooth mouse.

Acer Aspire S7

The Ultrabook has two USB 3.0 ports (one charging), micro HDMI, 3.5mm audio and a microSD card slot. VGA and Ethernet are provided via the included dongle adapters. It has dual band Atheros WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, a 1.3MP webcam and Intel HD 4000 graphics. Since it doesn't use Intel WiFi there's no WiDi wireless display. The Aspire S7 ships with Windows 8 64 bit Home Premium.

Design and Ergonomics

This is a lovely looking machine with metal on all top surfaces and an EL backlit keyboard that works well. It's insanely compact (not much bigger than an iPad or Android 10" tablet) and it's less than a half inch thick. At 2.3 pounds, it's almost as light as some Windows 8 Core i5 tablets on the market, and you'll hardly notice it in your bag. It feels and looks like a high quality product with no flex and it's put together perfectly. We did however note that the side edges where the top metal keyboard deck meets the curvy undersides feels a bit abrupt. Acer says the entire body is made of metal, but that curvy bottom panel feels and looks like plastic, though it gets cold to the touch like metal. Unlike the 13.3" Aspire S7, the display doesn't open completely flat to 180 degrees, but honestly I've never found a reason to use a laptop in that position. The display tilts back far enough for normal use.

Acer Aspire S7

The island style keyboard has little travel since the machine is so exquisitely thin, but the layout and size are good. We quickly adjusted to the low travel and were typing at our normal rates, though it continued to feel a bit jarring to the fingers. The EL backlighting glows white with a faint blue tint, and it offers surprisingly decent contrast against the silver keys. The Elan trackpad's multi-touch gestures were hit and miss, but we weren't bothered hugely since we prefer using the touchscreen for side-swipe gestures and zooming. But for those that frequently rely on the trackpad and particularly multi-touch gestures, the S7 isn't the best we've experienced on a Windows 8 machines.

Acer Aspire S7

Full HD Display

When you cram 1920 x 1080 into an 11.6" panel, things get mighty tiny on the Windows desktop side, and surprisingly our machine shipped without the usual DPI scaling to 125 or 150% that makes text and icons larger and easier to see. You can of course set scaling to suit your visual acuity, and to Acer's credit, the glossy IPS panel is bright and extremely sharp, making even small text unexpectedly legible. Viewing angles are wide, colors are vibrant and contrast is excellent: this is a very good display. Touch is responsive, in fact a bit more so compared to some of the slightly numb touch screens we've used on other Windows 8 touch screen laptops--Acer did a great job here.

Acer Aspire S7


Deals and Shopping:


Acer Aspire S7 Video Review

Horsepower and Performance

The S7 runs on an Intel Core i5 ULV CPU. When it first came out it had the usual 1.7GHz i5-3317U, and Acer has just incremented that to the 1.8GHz Core i5-3337U for a very modest speed bump. There is no i7 option. It has 4 gigs of dual channel DDR3 RAM soldered to the motherboard and a 128 gig fast SSD drive in a RAID 0 configuration. It's as quick as any Intel Core Ultrabook on the market, even though it's significantly smaller and lighter.

As with other Ultrabooks, it's more than capable of handling daily productivity, email and social networking plus photo editing and casual video editing. Since it has Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics, it's not meant to be a gaming machine, though casual games run fine and some current 3D games that have Intel integrated graphics optimizations play decently at lower resolutions and quality settings. If you do play 3D games, you'll hear the fan, which can get surprisingly loud for a little laptop. In less stressful productivity use and for streaming video playback, the fan cycles on and off and is audible though it never roars. Acer's Ultrabook cooling designs are supposed to be engineered for low noise, but in general we find them very effective at cooling but not nearly whisper quiet. Despite the metal casing, the Acer S7 gets warm but not burning hot.


PCMark 7 (1.7GHz Intel Core i5): 4728

Windows Experience Index:
Processor: 6.9
RAM: 5.9
Graphics (desktop): 5.4
Gaming Graphics: 6.3
HDD: 8.3

PCMark 7 Benchmark Comparison Table

Acer Aspire S7, 11.6" 4728
Acer Iconia W700 11.6" Tablet 4357
Samsung Series 7 Ultra 4690
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A Touch (Core i5) 4670
Dell XPS 13 (FHD, 1.7GHz Core i5) 4517
Dell XPS 12 (Core i5) 4678
Samsung Series 9 4448
Sony Vaio Duo 11 (Core i5) 4772
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 (Core i5) 4427
Asus Taichi 21 (Core i7, 11.6") 4952
Microsoft Surface Pro 4657


Battery Life

The internal 3990 mAh battery only lasted us 3.5 hours on a charge, but with the 6.6 ounce external battery clipped on, the Ultrabook ran for 5 hours unplugged in a mix of productivity and light multimedia tasks. Those are short runtimes for an Ultrabook with a power-frugal ULV (ultra low voltage) CPU and integrated graphics. We blame the extremely small and slim design and light weight: these qualities simply don't allow for beefy internal batteries.

Rather than registering the included clip on battery as a dual battery setup, the Acer uses the secondary battery as a supplementary (or charging) battery for the primary battery. The laptop comes with a small, white charger that's fortunately easy enough to carry (you'll need it!). It's the same charger included with the Acer Iconia W700 Windows 8 tablet.


The Acer Aspire S7 11.6" is easy on the eyes both in terms of visual appeal and the sharp IPS full HD display. It looks and feels like a luxury notebook, with a hint of James Bond since it's so small and sleek. We love the EL backlighting on the keyboard, though we never quite adjusted to the jarring feel of the keys' short travel. That didn't stop us from typing quickly and accurately, and the trackpad is passable. Performance is very good and can match other larger Intel Core i5 ULV Ultrabooks on the market, and the machine didn't suffer from thermal throttling when taxed a bit. If serious portability combined with very good processing power are what you need, it's hard to beat the Acer Aspire S7-191, just don't leave the charger at home.

List Price: $1,199



Acer Aspire S7


Acer Aspire S7


Acer Aspire S7


Acer Aspire S7


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Display: 11.6", 1920 x 1080 IPS touch screen. Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics. Micro HDMI port and VGA port via included adapter.

Battery: 3990 mAh Lithium Ion rechargeable (sealed inside). Secondary clip-on 2500 mAh battery included.

Performance: 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-3317U or 1.8GHz Core i5-3337U. 4 gigs RAM and 128 gig SSD in RAID 0 configuration.

Size: 4.47 x 2.78 x .48 inches. Weight: 2.29 pounds (2.69 lbs. with secondary battery).

Camera: 1.3MP webcam with mic.

Audio: Built-in stereo speakers, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack.

Networking: Integrated dual band WiFi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0. 10/100 Ethernet via included USB adapater.

Software: Windows 8.

Expansion and Ports: Two USB 3.0 ports (one charging), micro HDMI, VGA via included dongle adapter, Ethernet (via included USB Ethernet adapter), 3.5mm combo audio jack, 1 microSD card slot.

In the Box: Clip-on secondary 3 cell battery, case, VGA adapter, USB to Ethernet adapter and a Bluetooth mouse.



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