Windows 8 touch-screen laptops group test: Acer Aspire S7
A light, thin, responsive - and great looking laptop
Amongst the new generation of laptops known as 'Ultrabooks', the Acer Aspire 7 is by far one of the best looking and most impressive. Inside you’ll find an Intel Core i7 2GHz, 4GB DDR3 RAM, a 256GB SSD and a very nice 13.3" screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and 10-point touch functionality. There’s also a 2-in-1 card reader, two USB3 ports, HDMI, VGA, 802.11 a/b/g/n wi-fi and a built-in webcam.
The specifications aren't just impressive on paper either – as the pre-inastalled Windows 8 64-bit operating system is responsive and snappy enough for even the most discerning of users. Although it uses an Intel HD4000 GPU, the image is bright and sharp within the new UI and full HD videos and images are displayed in all their vibrant colours. Gaming with the HD4000 isn’t brilliant, but for the sake of a few frames per second you could probably get by with the settings of the game in question turned down slightly.
The touch-screen is very responsive, but it’s worth noting that, after just a few minutes use, you’ll soon begin to notice smudge marks across the glass. This is probably because the screen is so clear – and almost reflective to a point. It’s not a huge issue, but it does somewhat spoil the aesthetics of the unit. It is easy to wipe clean, but when the light hits the screen the smudges really do tend to stand out.
The most important feature of the Aspire S7 though is the fact that it’s so thin; a mere 12.5mm at its thickest point, it's narrow enough to give the MacBook Air something to think about. A laptop like this should probably activate the fragililty alarm bell, but the Aspire S7 is also a surprisingly robust and well built design. Another advantage of it's svelte natures is that, weighing in at something like 1.30kg, you can casually walk around with it in hand without feeling like you’ve entered a strong man competition.
The backlit keyboard and multi-gesture touchpad are large, comfortable and nicely laid out, without too much travel in the key press. The touchpad is very responsive, though that's not to the point where it’s impossible to control the cursor when dragging something around the screen.
There’s little to complain about with the Aspire S7. The only real issues were the smudging and reflective-like qualities of the screen and the battery, which although rated to a good six hours, never really topped the four-and-a-half hour mark, unless we did absolutely nothing on the laptop at all.
Acer's Aspire S7 is a very nice, albeit rather expensive, Windows 8 Touch-screen laptop. It’s light, thin, responsive and looks great as well. The combined i7, 4GB and 256GB SSD make for a quick operating system and an easy, fluid access to the new touchy-feely UI that it comes shipped with. The battery life could be better, at the sacrifice of a heavier, bulkier unit, but for an ultra-portable laptop, the Aspire S7 is one of the best you’re going to get.
• Price: £900
• Manufacturer: Acer
• Website: http://www.acer.co.uk