Laptop Review: Acer Aspire S5

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When Intel launched the Ultrabook concept, these devices were envisioned to be much lighter, slimmer, and faster than a conventional laptop, yet not sacrificing on the ergonomics and comfort. In practice, very few Ultrabooks we have reviewed can be termed as a complete embodiment of that philosophy. However, that was until we got our hands on the Acer Aspire S5. This 13.3-incher is the thinnest Ultrabook around at a maximum thickness of just 11 mm. In fact, it is even thinner and lighter than a MacBook Air ( Apple MacBook Air 11.6 inch Translucent Keyboard Protector Skin Cover US Layout   ) . Powered by an Intel Core i7 CPU and a 256 GB SSD should speed up things. Let's find out if it really does.


Review: Acer Aspire S5


Build And Features

The laptop has a dark grey graphite-like appearance with fine smooth brushed finish all over. In fact, the casing is made of aluminium and magnesium alloy. The lid of the laptop is slightly larger than the Acer Keyboard  rest , making it very easy to open it up. The screen opens around 120 degrees, which is an adequate angle to use. The hinge and the overall construction feels sturdy. Weighing just 1.2 kg and with a maximum thickness of just 11 mm, this is highly portable.


The 13.3" screen has pixel dimensions of 1366x768, thus allowing it to natively display 720p content. This part of the laptop is really razor thin and really sets the laptop apart from others. The screen does not feature touch input, so you will not be able to take advantage of the touch UI of Windows 8 if you choose to upgrade to that OS at a later stage. A HD webcam is present at the centre to facilitate video chat.


Review: Acer Aspire S5


The keyboard is of island type and the keys are well-spaced out. It is not backlit like the Asus X Series X61SL Keyboard  , so you cannot use it in the dark. The touchpad is large enough for comfortable usage and is placed dead centre under the spacebar. This arrangement can cause false inputs from the right hand to register on the touchpad while typing. A button to open the MagicFlip is also present here.


Review: Acer Aspire S5

Because it is so thin, there aren't any visible ports on any side. However, the ports are there hidden at the rear and are exposed via a motor-driven mechanism that pushes down the panel of ports (which in turn, pushes up the laptop). Here, you can see two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, and a Thunderbolt port. There is also an exhaust vent to throw out the hot air generated inside. The panel is intelligent enough to sense any plug that is inserted in one of the ports and then it doesn't close even if forced. An SD card slot, headphone/microphone combo port, in-built microphone, and power button are present on the sides.


Review: Acer Aspire S5


Speakers on the underside on the left and right. It is mentioned that the speakers are Dolby Home Theatre certified and professionally tuned. Marketing jazz apart, they do sound really good. The S5 is powered by an Intel Core i7-3517U dual-core CPU with HyperThreading, running at 1.9 GHz and supporting Turbo frequency of up to 3 GHz for performance boost. It comes with 4 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD. Graphics are handled by on-board Intel HD Graphics 4000. The device comes with Windows 7 by default, although it can work well with Windows 8 too if installed. The bundled laptop accessories include a carry pouch and a very useful Bluetooth mouse.


Our Verdict

The Acer Aspire S5 ( Acer Keyboard Cover  ) looks good and performs really as well as we would expect of its high-performance hardware. It is extremely light and slim, thus very easy to carry along. The MagicFlip panel is certainly something you would like to show off for bragging rights. It comes with Windows 7, which is not really a major negative because it doesn't come with a touchscreen anyway to make use of Windows 8's touch UI. It is fairly ergonomic and is also adept at multimedia playback with its loud Dolby certified speakers, although the screen view angles leave a lot to desire. Its portability is negated by the poor battery backup. Probably the biggest disappointment of this Ultrabook is its exorbitant price tag of Rs 86,500, which is too high a premium for the sake of ultraportability.


Published on Laptop accessories

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