Ultrabooks and hybrid PCs can be truly remarkable pieces of hardware but in order to find them, you have to look at the ones costing close to a lakh as these are generally the flagship models. We’ve already seen some from Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung and Sony and now, it’s time to take a look at Acer’s flagship offering called the Aspire S7.
Design and Build
The notebook has a killer design and is guaranteed to turn heads as soon as you take it out of your bag. The Aspire S7 features an incredibly sleek aluminium body that’s just 12.2mm thick when closed. Add to this the diamond-like mosaic pattern on the lid and we have one extremely good looking notebook. The body is scratch resistant and so is the glass protecting the screen which happens to be Corning’s Gorilla Glass 2. The hinge is incredibly sturdy as well and opens to almost 180 degrees.
Despite the slim chassis, the S7 features two USB 3.0 ports, headphone jack, a microSD card slot and a microHDMI port around the back. The ultrabook also features two break-out adapters for LAN and VGA. The LAN adapter is powered by a USB port whereas the VGA adapter slots into the microHDMI port. You could alternately also use a microHDMI to regular HDMI cable. Also in the box is the charging adapter, a carrying pouch and an expandable battery pack. This secondary battery strip clips onto the back and docks with the charging port, thereby extending the S7’s battery life. You can use the notebook without the battery pack as well, if you don’t want the excess bulk. The battery is completely sealed up and we have large vents at the back for releasing the hot air. The dual fan mechanism of sucking in cool air from one end and releasing it from the other keeps the Aspire S7 quite cool under normal working conditions.
USB 3.0 port for good measure
Opening up the lid, we find a generous trackpad and backlit, island styled keys. Acer has gone with aqua blue backlighting instead of the typical white. This looks cool and is also easy on the eyes in the dark. We would have liked for the backlit keys to automatically kick in once the ambient light dims, but that doesn’t happen. The S7 is not exactly a hybrid but rather a standard Ultrabook with a touchscreen. There’s no secret switch to flip it into tablet mode or any such trickery.
Gorilla Glass 2 for added protection
Speaking of displays, the S7 crams in 1920 x 1080 worth of pixels into an 11.6-inch screen, resulting in extremely sharp images and text. The LED backlit TFT LCD display is also very bright so you can easily use it outdoors. The model we received (MS2363) is powered by an Intel Core i7-3517U running at 1.9GHz. RAM maxes out at 4GB and we have SSDs in RAID 0 configurations, racking up the storage capacity to 256GB. This sort of SSD configuration is the first we’ve seen in Ultrabooks and should blow the roof off when it comes to read/write speeds. The S7 runs on Windows 8 64-bit and comes bundled with McAfee trial version and some Acer apps like cloud storage, maintenance, backup and restore, etc.