The last time we got a chance to do a full review the Acer Aspire S7, it was back in 2013. At the time it was a big step up from Acer, and the Ivy Bridge based S7 came with one of the slimmest and lightest bodies of that era. That was 2013. Anand also used the Acer Aspire S7-392 as his test machine for the Haswell-U launch in 2014, getting a chance to see the second generation Haswell version of the Aspire S7.

In 2015, the competition in the Ultrabook space has not sat idly by. One thing is for certain in the technology sector: no matter what kind of lead you have, if you stand still, you will be passed. This maxim keeps all hardware vendors on their toes, and for Acer and the Aspire S7 family is no exception.

Diving into matters then, today we're going to be taking a look at the latest generation of the Acer Aspire S7. For the 2015 model, Acer has shipped us the top end version with the Intel Core i7-5500U processor, and along with the processor update, the Acer also offers a 2560x1440 display upgrade from the base 1920x1080 model.

The review model I’ll be looking at today features 8 GB of RAM, the aforementioned Core i7-5500U processor, the 1920x1080 resolution display, and a 256 GB SSD which is 2 x 128 GB in RAID 0. Acer calls this version the S7-393-7451, and despite the updated internals, Acer has kept the styling and form factor practically identical to the original S7 reviewed back in 2013. The model being tested lists for $1299 on the Acer site.

Since this model was first introduced prior to the release of WIndows 10, Acer still sells this S7 with Windows 8.1. But since that is eligible for the free upgrade to Windows 10, they were happy to have me upgrade it to Windows 10 for this review. This will then be the first laptop reviewed with Windows 10, but most of our testing unchanged from 8.1 to 10 with the exception of our battery life tests which were moved to use Microsoft’s new Edge browser rather than Internet Explorer.

Acer Aspire S7-393
  As Tested, Core i7-5500U, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, 1920x1080 Display
Processor Intel Core i5-5200U (2C/4T, 2.2-2.7GHz, 3MB L3, 14nm, 15w)

Intel Core i7-5500U (2C/4T, 2.4-3.0GHz, 4MB L3, 14nm, 15w)
Memory Dual-Channel 8 GB DDR3L-1600
Graphics Intel HD 5500 (24 EU, 300-900 MHz on i5, 300-950 Mhz on i7)
Display 13.3" 1920x1080 IPS
Optional 2560x1440 IPS
Storage 256 GB SSD (2 x 128 GB RAID 0)
Networking Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 (802.11ac, 2x2:2, 866Mpbs Max, 2.4 and 5GHz)
Bluetooth 4.0
Audio Stereo Speakers (downfiring) 1 watt x 2
Realtek with Dolby Digital Plus
Battery 46 Wh Battery
45 Watt A/C Adapter
Right Side USB 3.0
DisplayPort
Headset Jack
HDMI
Left Side USB 3.0
DC In
Power Button
SD Card Slot
Dimensions 322 x 222 x 13 mm (12.7 x 8.8 x 0.51 inches)
Weight 1.31 kg (2.9 lbs)
Extras 720p Webcam
Backlit Keyboard
Dual-Torque Hinge
Pricing $1389 As Tested on Amazon
$1299 on Acer.com

There are no surprises with the Acer S7. Wireless is provided by Intel’s Wireless-AC 7265 card, the battery is a 47 Wh model, and it falls pretty much in-line with other Ultrabooks as far as specifications. One change that Acer has over most is RAID 0 on the drives. I don’t find this to be a benefit at all in most workloads, and would rather Acer spent the extra cost to provide one faster drive. Acer is also lacking in connectivity options with just two USB ports available. Most Ultrabooks find room from three, but Acer has gone with a mini DisplayPort and an HDMI video output. That seems overkill since the HDMI could be passed through DisplayPort freeing up room for a third USB port. Acer does still find room for a SD card slot which is always appreciated.

Design
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  • Sietse Vliegen - Monday, February 8, 2016 - link

    OK. I've been using one for about a year now. I have the i7 with the 2560x1440 display. Simply a brilliant piece of equipment.

    Unlike some of you, I have no preference for a particular brand. But I needed a sturdy reliable machine as I am on the road most of the time for business. Hence, the price was also not a decisive factor. In the past I have used laptops from Samsung, Toshiba, IBM, Lenovo, Apple. All of them had issues sooner or later. Therefore, I do not believe that any particular brand will guarantee a trouble free laptop future. I'm sure I'll have some issues with Acer too, eventually. But so far so good and boy, I do like this machine, a lot.

    At the time I looked at the HP Spectre . Promising, but sold out pretty much everywhere. Didn't like the rubber surface on the Dell XPS, gets stained after a while. Didn't like the hinges on the Lenovo Yoga 3, looks like a weak point. Not enthusiastic about the Macbook Pro 13 inch either, especially the rough edges. And I need a Windows machine, for business purposes, not a Macbook running Parallels desktop or similar. Looked at the Acer, couldn't figure out why they chose a SSD raid config either. But I did like the look and feel of the machine, and most specs were on par with the other machines.

    Ended up buying the Acer, and I must say I am impressed. Build quality is excellent, sturdy aluminium top, gorilla glass cover. Heck, you can even use it as a whiteboard. In business meetings, everyone wants to know what type of laptop it is, and checks how thin/light it is.

    I use it almost every day and it is 100% silent most of the time, only at full load the fan spins up, but never gets really noisy. The 2560x1440 display is simply gorgeous. Everyone loves it. No problems with scaling of fonts or apps using Windows 8.1 or 10 (never tried Windows 8).

    I have no problem with the flimsy powerplug. In fact, I think it's an advantage that it easily unplug from the laptop when someone trips over the power cord. But obviously, Apple's solution is even better.

    The keyboard is fine. Spacing is ok and I can type really fast without any problems. I would prefer separate function keys, though. The silver color of the keys does not bother me one bit. The only minor niggle I have is that the keyboard backlight makes a slight whining noise at maximum brightness. Throttle down a bit and it's gone.

    I don't understand the issue the reviewer has with *only* two USB ports. I use a Logitech Ultrathin T630 bluetooth mouse, which doesn't need a USB port anyway. Occasionally I use a USB stick. That leaves at least one spare USB port.

    The reviewer states also that the displayport and the mini HDMI port could have been combined. Whereas that may be true, the simple fact remains that in business environments, most projectors/beamers either have an HDMI or VGA connector. DisplayPort is still pretty scarce although I do use it at home. HDMI works 100% of the time. VGA uses a dongle which is not always compatible with old plasma screens, so I found out: the laptop freezes until you unplug it from the screen.

    Finally, the battery lasts about 6-7 hours, depending on what it is I'm doing (mostly office apps and webbrowsing). For business use that is excellent. In fact, I can usually use it for several days without charging. My previous $1500 Samsung notebook lasted only 3 hours or so.

    All in all, I am extremely happy with this machine and I would definitely buy it again.
    Reply
  • maccomb - Saturday, August 20, 2016 - link

    Hi,
    I also bought the Acer S7-392. The looks are amazing but that is subjective.
    What is not subjective is how good the 2560x1440 screen is; the battery time; how thin and light it is. It's now August 2016 and I bought this pc (where I'm typing) long time ago... don't really know 2 years or 3 ago? The gorilla glass cover is great, no scratches, no stains, nothing. It still as nice as when bought. Same for the screen itself. The keyboard: I also feel the lack of the dedicated Function key row, but other than that, it's great and the best compared to other ultrthin I know (asus and lenovo). I also don't understand the complaints on the SSD raid 0. Either I'm ignorant or you are... this provides me with aprox 1GB/s transfer rate. Specially when moving movies around from SSD to 1gbps network or to a fast USB3.0 external disk. As far as a I know, only Sony Vaio had something similar (4xraid0 or someting). It's as ran windows 7.. which I loved, then upgraded to 8.1 which was so-so, and now finally Windows 10 which is a great OS (and I'm a strong linux supporter mind you, for servers).
    I reached to this article just because what I really wanted is to know if there was a newer version to buy, with more memory or more disk. I'm an intensive business pro user with virtualization running Linux, and lots of Office and all day long email and stuff... So you see. It's a light, slim, hardcore machine. I actually think that Acer has a bad trackrecord and must have created this S7 at this price to try to change it's image. It's unfair people look this laptop down without even testing it. My previous machine was a ibm thinkpad and toshibas before that. Oh well I just hope they keep making money from this line so they keep developing it.
    Reply
  • maccomb - Saturday, August 20, 2016 - link

    Hi,
    I also bought the Acer S7-392. The looks are amazing but that is subjective.
    What is not subjective is how good the 2560x1440 screen is; the battery time; how thin and light it is. It's now August 2016 and I bought this pc (where I'm typing) long time ago... don't really know 2 years or 3 ago? The gorilla glass cover is great, no scratches, no stains, nothing. It still as nice as when bought. Same for the screen itself. The keyboard: I also feel the lack of the dedicated Function key row, but other than that, it's great and the best compared to other ultrthin I know (asus and lenovo). I also don't understand the complaints on the SSD raid 0. Either I'm ignorant or you are... this provides me with aprox 1GB/s transfer rate. Specially when moving movies around from SSD to 1gbps network or to a fast USB3.0 external disk. As far as a I know, only Sony Vaio had something similar (4xraid0 or someting). It's as ran windows 7.. which I loved, then upgraded to 8.1 which was so-so, and now finally Windows 10 which is a great OS (and I'm a strong linux supporter mind you, for servers).
    I reached to this article just because what I really wanted is to know if there was a newer version to buy, with more memory or more disk. I'm an intensive business pro user with virtualization running Linux, and lots of Office and all day long email and stuff... So you see. It's a light, slim, hardcore machine. I actually think that Acer has a bad trackrecord and must have created this S7 at this price to try to change it's image. It's unfair people look this laptop down without even testing it. My previous machine was a ibm thinkpad and toshibas before that. Oh well I just hope they keep making money from this line so they keep developing it.
    Reply

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