Acer Aspire S7-191-6640 11.6-Inch Touchscreen Ultrabook Review I’ve been waiting for a thin, light windows subnotebook that was powerful enough to run modern software. My needs were: small footprint, light weight, >WXGA+ screen, intel core processor, backlit keyboard, USB 3.0. I’ve owned Vaio Ps, Vaio Us, Viliv N5, Vaio X (this machine sort of replaces that model for me), Toshiba Libretto, Fujitsu U820, Thinkpad 240x, Thinkpad X61. After looking at the various crop of 2nd-gen ultrabooks (Asus UX21a would have been a contender but cannot find it anywhere) I was excited when the 11.6″ S7-191 finally showed up on Amazon. This machine is almost perfect. First things first:
1. It’s gorgeous. 12mm thick. Under 2.3 lb. 1080p touchscreen. Two USB 3.0 ports and microSD slot. First laptop that doesn’t completely ape the offerings from the fruit company. I’d say aesthetically it is one of the most original and stunning designs of any PC laptop in the last few years. Fairly restrained, clean design with minimal branding. It feels solid and doesn’t flex. Hinge has nice resistance. Build quality is very good. Kudos to Acer.
2. Screen is incredible. I’ve waited a long time for a high-res screen on an ultraportable and this screen does not disappoint. Fantastic viewing angles. Sharp and bright. Almost too bright (I keep it around 50% most of the time). Photos and videos look amazing. I’d venture to say this is the best screen on any laptop that i’ve owned. My only nit is I wish it were matte instead of glossy…I’ll have to see if there is a screen protector that can solve this. Touch and swipe are accurate and snappy.
3. Keyboard is great for what it is. I’m typing this review on the S7 and although the key travel is a little shallow it’s reasonable considering the 12mm thickness of the laptop. There is just enough travel to register the keystroke. It takes a little getting used to but the keyboard has gotten very comfortable to type on i’d say it’s as comfortable to type on as my macbook pro. The electroluminescent backlighting is a really nice, soft light blue. Keystrokes register pretty accurately (thankfully, I haven’t had any issues with super sensitive keystrokes as reported by some users although i’m sure it affects some keyboards) and the keys themselves are relatively quiet.
4. Performance has been surprisingly good. Cold bootup and shutdown takes seconds. I’ve run Photoshop CS6, Illustrator CS6, Acrobat 11, Outlook, Sketchup, all perform without a hitch so far. Windows 8 requires a learning curve but it’s not bad, coming from Win7. I’ve also noticed that it seems like the fan barely runs and when it does it’s barely audible and the laptop stays cool…barely even gets warm (I can’t hear it running as I type this review).
5. Accessories…It’s barely mentioned but this configuration includes the following in the beautifully packaged box:
– a vinyl/pleather carrying sleeve. It works and i’m glad it’s included. Doubles as a nice mousepad.
– an extra battery! I’m not sure why it’s barely mentioned. It’s a little cumbersome to attach and remove, but i’m glad it’s an option. The battery can be recharged on it’s own, and it seems that when it is attached to the laptop, the laptop will draw the power from the external battery first and then from the internal battery second. There is a battery indicator light that can be pressed on the external battery to indicate the amount of charge left
– USB 3.0 to VGA cable
– USB 3.0 to ethernet
– screen wipe/keyboard cloth
– Bluetooth mouse with batteries. I haven’t used it yet but i’m glad it’s included
I wish there were more than 4GB of ram. It’s been adequate so far but I would have paid extra for 8GB. Also the 128GB SSD seems a little small capacity nowadays. Again, I would have paid extra for at least 256GB. Like the other reviewer, I too bought a 64GB class 10 microSD SanDisk Ultra 64 GB microSDXC Class 10 UHS-1 Memory Card 30MB/s with Adapter SDSDQUA-064G-U46A and it lives permanently in the microSD slot. I also would have liked the i7 option as I know it exists (i’ve seen it in many videos and i’m pretty sure it’s available in other regions, just not in the US). Acer’s website is lacking of any information. Keyboard has some odd placements (delete key, tilde, missing function key row so F1-F12 must be accessed using the Fn+ key) but this wasn’t a dealbreaker.
What WAS nearly a dealbreaker was the flaky wifi issue that showed up early on. Wifi would disconnect from sleep and would indicate it was connected but websites wouldn’t load. After reboots would temporarily fix the problem it’d show up again upon wakeup from sleep or have erratic connections after a few minutes (wifi would show as connected but “limited”). After scouring the internet for solutions, I read about a setting for the Atheros wireless (always on, don’t allow computer to disconnect from sleep) and a power setting for wireless (placed on maximum while on battery and while plugged) and I haven’t had the flaky wireless issues since (crossing my fingers). Battery life doesn’t seem to have taken that much of a hit in this new setting.
So the S7 has met all of my expectations, It’s currently the best combination of portability, power and usability for my needs (all specs being equal to most ultrabooks, that 1080p IPS touchscreen plus microSD slot really is what sets it apart from most comparable 11.6″ ultrabooks).
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