As if the Acer S7’s seductively slim figure and supremely good looks weren’t enough, this skinny vixen of a portable also boasts an impressive performance acumen. It must drive the competition crazy.
The spare elegance of the S7’s aluminum interior is complimented by its stylish white Gorilla Glass display frame and lid.
Setting a new standard in svelte, the 13-inch S7 measures less than a half-inch at its thickest and its carry weight comes in under three pounds. As a result, it’s nearly effortless to tote around. And tote it around you will, if you’re a sucker for admiring glances. Besides attracting attention with its pancake-flat form factor, the S7 sports a striking glossy-white lid made of Gorilla Glass, for the dual purpose of durability and style. A simple Acer logo glows blue when the S7 is powered on.
When open, the S7’s elegant anodized aluminum interior, backlit keyboard, and glass touchpad steal the show. As does its IPS screen, which features a precedent-setting 1920x1080 res—at least, it’s a first among the Ultrabooks we’ve tested. Images look sharp and vibrant from any angle, although the screen’s glossy surface inevitably picks up the glare of ambient lighting.
In use, the chiclet keyboard is extremely shallow, with minimal travel, but that’s an inevitable consequence of the notebook’s ultra-low profile. It took us just a little bit of time to get used to the feel, and the size and spacing of the keys are suitable for serious typing. The touchpad, while extremely smooth, is made by Elan Microelectronics and felt slightly laggy compared to Synaptics-powered pads. Anyway, you’ll likely be performing many of these functions via the highly responsive 10-point touchscreen.
Lest you think the S7’s beauty is all on the surface, gander the benchmarks. Yes, this is the first Ultrabook we’ve tested to top the scores of our Intel reference zero-point. Intel’s UB has had a distinct advantage in not being a shipping product and thus clocked more aggressively than the production Ultrabooks we’ve seen. But the S7’s 1.9GHz Core i7-3517U, dual-channel RAM, and pair of 128GB SSDs in RAID 0 gave it a clear, albeit modest, performance advantage in all of our benchmarks. Under heavy load, the two small 10,000rpm fans inside the S7—one to pull in cool air, the other to push it out—become quite audible, but the machine stays comfortably cool, with most heat concentrated at the back.
The only thing tempering our extreme infatuation with the S7 is its relatively weak battery life. Granted, this month we switched our rundown test from a looped standard-def video to a ripped Blu-ray file using VLC, but even so, the S7 only lasted two hours, 40 minutes, compared to the zero-point’s three hours, 40 minutes under the same conditions. For a device that’s so clearly made for mobility, this is a disappointment. To be fair, the S7 is about a third thinner the reference Ultrabook.
Still, we can acknowledge that this thin a device with this much power is bound to make allowances somewhere. When you toss in the included carrying case, matching white wireless mouse, and expansion dongles, the fetching S7 makes a pretty compelling case for its premium price tag.