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  • mforce - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    I find it seriously difficult to justify spending more than 500$ on a laptop. I don't make that much but even if I did ... I'm not really sure what justifies and over 1000 $ price for a laptop, it's just way too much.
    And the fact that it's an Acer doesn't help things much, let's face it, Acer doesn't really have a premium brand and it's not Apple. If I'll want to sell it right after I buy it I probably won't get more than 1000$ for it.
    Besides even cheapo laptops often last quite a long time, I have an Acer I paid 400$ for and it's still running just fine 4 years later.
  • Romberry - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    It's a conundrum eh? People like to complain that Windows-based notebooks aren't up to the build quality of Apple's MacBooks that go for well over a grand, but when confronted with a Windows-based notebook that rivals (or meets and in some cases exceeds) the build quality of Apple's MacBooks, the same crowd that bemoans the quality of the sub-500 dollar Windows machines balks.

    You can have cheap and (hopefully) acceptable, or you can have quality and the price that comes with it. If you're a 500 dollar and under laptop kind of person, then obviously this product is not for you.

    Personally? I tend to agree that paying well over a grand for a laptop is very hard to justify for most people. I wouldn't do it. Example? I'm typing this post on an old (five years plus) Dell Inspiron e1505 running a Core Duo (not Core 2) processor , 1680x1050 display, 4 gigs of RAM and a 500 gig Hitachi hard drive with 32 bit Vista Ultimate. Bought two of these in May of 2007 for about 500 dollars a whack new from Dell on special, one for me and one for my daughter. Does everything I need it to do and is comfortable like an old shoe.

    I have a Dell Latitude 6400 in the next room (Core 2 Duo P9600 at 2.66 GHz, 8 gigs RAM, 1920x1200 display, 128 gig Samsung 470 SSD primary drive, 500 gig WD Scorpio Black in the expansion bay in place of the optiical drive.) that I paid all of 400 dollars for off lease two years ago. (Added the SSD, upgraded the RAM and installed Win 7 x64.) It mostly sits unused because of the old shoe factor with the Inspiron.

    Neither are sleek or easily portable, but they are functional, stable and reasonably fast for what I do with 'em.

    I'm not sure just how big a market there is really for high end laptops. Apple sells a lot of MacBooks in terms of units, but in terms of overall market share...not that much. MacBooks are a niche. I think Winbooks built to these high standards are likely to be niche products as well, garnering about the same 3-5 percent share of the overall market as MacBooks. (Of course for many people I think those Apple MacBooks are as much a fashion accessory as they are a PC. Winbooks will likely never have that sort of purposeful snob appeal cachet. Then again, not everyone wants to be a snob.)
  • blue_urban_sky - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    I agree with your statement about PC laptops not being able to win as they either feel cheap because they are or are too expensive. I would however like to draw some comparisons

    Galaxy S3 ~ £400
    iPad4 3g 64gb ~ £650

    so £1000 for an ultra-book is not out of place, Don't get me wrong they are all expensive and products like the nexus range start to chalenge these premium prices.

    Just so my bias is clear I own a S3, nexus 7 and brought my wife a yoga 13 for xmas as she is a dev and commutes with her laptop on the train so I wanted to find a nice light one. She loves it so money well spent.
  • mforce - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    Sure but Nexus devices are cheaper and still quite good. And besides smartphones and tablets are all the rage these days , I don't think such a device can match that. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    200€ for a Nexus 7, 300-350€ for a Nexus 4, 400€ for a Nexus 10 and ~150-200€ for about any dual/quad A9 Chinese tablet and smartphone with specs similar to the current high end crop (800p, 1080p, 1200p ips screen @ tablet, 540p or 720p @ smartphone, 4-32GB NAND, 7.4Wh/25Wh batteries etc.). So I would argue that the prices you mention are just as overpriced. Reply
  • blue_urban_sky - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    Although there is an argument that the high end products profits from manufacturers like Samsung, LG and Apple (tho indirectly) go toward the R&D of next gen hardware. I cannot see those same chinese manufacturers coming out with a flexible display until the tech is matured by one of the larger players at significant cost.

    Overpriced is strong term, as mentioned in the article the PC community have enjoyed a race to the bottom with little thought to anything other than Power/Price. I for one am glad that companies are looking to push toward aesthetics. If a Bugatti Veyron costs £2M, Aston Martin Vanquish costs £180k and Suzuki Alto costs £6k which one is better to get a pint of milk from the store in? and would you really like to live in a world where there is no "Wow"?
  • Death666Angel - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    Then disregard the Chinese offerings, but a Nexus 7 at 200/250€, a Nexus 4 at 300/350€ and a Nexus 10 at 400€ still significantly undercut his listed devices while offering comparable to arguably better specs.
    As for the rest of your comment that car analogy has nothing to do with my comment and you are reading things into my comment that are clearly of your own mind.
  • blue_urban_sky - Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - link

    The car comparison was just to illustrate that overpriced is highly subjective. The initial prices included the statement that the nexus range were challenging the sector, although google is not interested in profiting off these devices themselves.

    I would think that these ultrabooks are not big earners due to high development costs and low unit sales, So rather than overpriced I think that maybe they are just expensive.
  • mforce - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    I was just saying that Acer can't expect people to pay as much for their brand as they do for Apple or Sony ( if you want Windows laptops ) and that's the reality. Given the choice almost anyone would choose an Apple or Sony product ... sure it may not be better and I know that but this is how it works.
    Also I find the touchscreen on a laptop a bit useless maybe, I don't find myself using it much. I'd rather have a mouse :D
  • blue_urban_sky - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    Poor old Acer, If they are trying to up there game good on them I think they know it will be an uphill battle winning consumers over and maybe they have made a product that is very well made with quality parts for that very reason.... Maybe. Reply
  • calyth - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    Well, $500 laptop is fine for most uses, until you try to do anything that generates a lot of heat. Playing a game, converting video, etc etc.

    Most of the windows laptop in that range has heatsinks that copes with the average uses, but any spikes, and it would just wear out pretty quickly over time.

    While MacBooks may have that aluminum frame advantage (in terms of heat dissipation), none of the current line up use anything particularly better than an Intel IGP. Getting the 650M requires $1700 bucks or more.

    I don't particularly think that Acer's attempt here is bad, and Windows laptop gets close to Apple styling for more bang for the buck anyways. But for me, I kinda wish to get a decent laptop that could cope with work loads a little better, for reasonable cost, and not look like a brick (e.g. Dell Lattitudes). Thats' still not really happening.
  • Silma - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    I almost purchased Acer's Aspire S7 but I didn't in the end because of the following shortcomings which are often shared by all PC manufacturers:
    - Acer, who do you think you are, mutilating the keyboard for no good reason?
    - Battery. I would prefer a 1 or 2mm thicker Ultrabook any day for a (replaceable) decently sized battery, e.g. 70 Wh or more.
    - Cooling and noise. Please add value, don't be an assembler and work harder on cooling and noise. Most owner reviews complain about both.
    - Soldered memory. If you absolutely want to solder memory instead of making it upgradable, then you need to offer 8 GB at the very least, especially at this super premium price. Even better offer an Ultrabook with upgradable memory.
    - Non replaceable SSD. Again, for a super-premium laptop, one should expect at least 3 years of usage, which means upgrading the SSD down the road.

    It is really a shame as the following points made the Aspire S7 extremely endearing:
    - Kudos for the choice of a touch-enabled, full HD and IPS panel, which makes this screen 3x better than most offering (hall of shame: Lenovo X1 Carbon super crappy screen at $1.5k +)
    - Kudos for the aesthetic. It won't please all people, but at least it went further than most manufacturers
    - Kudos for the very decent computing power.
  • DanNeely - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    I've seen speculation elsewhere that it's the touchscreen that are responsible for the poorer battery life seen in w8 laptops vs their w7 ancestors; but I haven't seen anyone try to confirm this by disabling it and rerunning any of the battery tests. Reply
  • CadentOrange - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    We've established that they're gunning for Macbook air prices, but other than that is it really comparable?

    How does the keyboard feel? I've seen the keyboard panned in the Ars review, and I tend to agree with them. If I'm spending $1500 on a laptop, I'd like a keyboard that doesn't feel clobbered together. Where are the function keys? Why is there no space between the "\" key and "Enter"? Does that annoy in practice?

    The battery life is abysmal. If you're going to charge as much as an Air, you really should perform like an Air. I'm no Apple fanboy, I have a 2nd hand Macbook and all my other PCs and server run Linux. It's in my interest that PC manufacturers produce products that rival Apple's. This is sadly not even close.
  • KPOM - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    Compared to the 13.3" MacBook Air with 256GB, which retails for $1499 with the 1.8GHz i5 and $1599 with 2.0GHz i7, the Asus has a better display (1920x1080 IPS touchscreen vs 1440x900 TFT non-touch), a processor that splits the difference, and lighter weight. Battery life is a bit disappointing, but overall it looks like a competitive package. The challenge is that PC buyers aren't used to paying these kinds of prices. The quality appears to be there (though the keyboard discussion is a bit worrying). Reply
  • ananduser - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    The machine reviewed is an Acer not an Asus. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    Those are the things I would like to see. I don't want RAID 0, the battery needs to be bigger for me (and I don't care that much about height, so make it 2cm and double the capacity or something) and 4GB of RAM are a joke in this day and age. The rest looks fine enough. :) Reply
  • Tech-Curious - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    Yeah, the RAID and the RAM are the dealbreakers for me -- and perhaps amusingly, those are the two cheapest things to fix. Switch off RAID and instantly the value proposition of the storage system is doubled. As for the memory, yeah; my old Clevo laptop's 4GB of RAM was impressive back in early 2008. Now, not so much. C'mon Acer, spring for 8GB.

    Those two changes represent maybe $30 of extra cost in parts, but they'd increase the perceived value of the whole product by $200-300, IMO, and maybe more to the general consumer.

    I wonder how much money Acer would save by swapping out the touch screen. :)
  • Death666Angel - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    I would like to meat the person who made those 2 decisions and get their explanation for it. With graphics cards, companies/marketing brag about 3GB on a GT630 or something, but with many Ultrabooks, they don't deliver even though the added cost is likely to be very low.
    Also, the missing F-Keys is not very nice. I don't use them super frequently, but they do add to my productivity in certain scenarios and it looks like they would have fitted on the laptop easily.
    And lastly, I just ran Kraken on my desktop PC (i7 860 which is quite old by PC standards): 2515.1ms +/- 2.7%... didn't expect that much to be honest. :)
  • Death666Angel - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    And my Galaxy Nexus manages 25,728.6ms /+-11.9%. That is strange. Reply
  • cknobman - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    Hard to sell at such a high price when your competitors sell comparable (or better) items $500+ cheaper.

    The Asus UX31A is one of my favorites right now. 1080p touch screen, all aluminum build, core i5, 128gb SSD and
    UNDER $1100!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am toying with getting this right now from best buy:
  • Zanegray - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    I have a ux31a-ab71 (same as db71 except a smaller ssd) and I LOVE the thing. I don't care for Windows so I put Linux on it and find it my favorite computing device. Under my usage the battery also last for 2 to 3 days at a time. It is snappier than I ever expected and the aluminum case is awesome looking.

    To summarize... It's just plain sexy.

    Paid just over 1000 dollars for it on black Friday too :-)
  • ironargonaut - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    Is an IPS screen that fantastic on a 14in laptop that I should pay $700 more? Reply
  • kyuu - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    You're not paying $700 for the IPS screen. Reply
  • drjacko - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    Original: "I can’t understate how impressively thin this thing is"

    But the article is very good as a review as well as a commentary of the path taken by Acer.

    Would you have considered a side by side shots against MB counterparts and previous version of Acer's ultrabook?
  • rarson - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    For the life of me, I can't understand why someone would want one of these over a normal laptop. Am I the only person who cannot stand ultra-thin (and ultra-flimsy) notebooks? I feel like I'm going to break the thing just by opening it up. A crappy keyboard, touchscreen, and absurd pricing makes this about as useful as a Surface tablet. Which is to say, pretty f#&@ing useless.

    Even if you do like the ultra-thin junk, I still don't see why you'd want to pay such a premium for a touchscreen on a laptop, although I suppose when your keyboard is that crappy, you'll be yearning for some other kind of input device.

    If I want a consumption device, I'll buy a Nexus tablet or similar. If I want a computing device, then I'll buy a regular laptop. For the price of one of these, I could buy one of each and STILL save a chunk of change.
  • kyuu - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    1) These devices are not "ultra-flimsy", despite being very thin. If you "feel" like you're going to break it, that's your problem. You remind me of my grandmother arguing that you have to drive a gigantic Oldmobile or an SUV to be safe because smaller cars don't "seem" like they could be as safe.

    2) If you don't see the value proposition in a device like this, then obviously it's not for you. I don't see the value proposition in buying a Mercedes, for example, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be built.
  • Tech-Curious - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    To be fair, your grandmother is right: all else being equal, a lighter car is less safe, possibly a lot less safe depending on the particulars. Reply
  • AnnoyedGrunt - Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - link

    Except that all else isn't equal, is it? Cars today are much, much safer than they have ever been, and even a small, modern car would be much safer than Granny's Oldsmobile.

    As far as the ultra-thin laptops go, I'm not a huge fan, but I can understand how someone who travels would really like the smaller, more portable size. My wife has a Macbook Pro 15 (non-retina), and I have a Dell Precision M4600 for work, and those are reasonable sizes for me.

    This Acer is interesting, very similar in cost to a Macbook Air, but with better specs in most areas. However, one thing the Macs have done MUCH better than Windows laptops is make the touchpad useful. I don't know if it's a combination of OSX and hardware, or better drivers, or what, but it is so much easier to use the touchpad on my wife's Macbook than the one on my Dell (and any other Windows laptop I've used). I don't feel the need to use a mouse on the Mac, but on the Dell I always feel handcuffed without it (and this is for things like MS Office, web browsing, etc.).

    I would have liked to see some Macbook Air battery life results and performance results, since I feel that is one of the biggest competitors for the Acer.

    Ovreall I'm happy to see some in the PC industry making products that move in the direction of quality rather than price. Once you get to the point where the price isn't as much of an issue (especially for something you'll be using for 4-5 years) the enjoyment of using something that has high-quality interface points (monitor, keyboard, etc.) quickly overcomes the cost difference. Still would prefer something a bit thicker with a better keyboard and more battery life, though.

  • Tech-Curious - Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - link

    As to your first comment, I don't know that that's universally true. Sure, in general, a modern car will have safety advantages an older car doesn't -- but size does matter: Is a 2013 Smart Car as safe as granny's Oldsmobile? Not a chance. All the airbags in the world can't compensate for the loss of mass.

    Even today, there are significant differences in mass within the same class of car. So if you have a choice between otherwise analogous vehicles, choosing the heavier one is (generally) safer.

    The heavier option is probably also less fuel efficient, though, so like everything else, it's a trade-off.

    As to the rest, I have to agree.
  • rarson - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    First of all, it depends on the type of accident. I can guarantee you that a head-on collision with a wall at, say, 30 mph will be safer in a Smart Car than an Oldsmobrick.

    The fact of the matter is that when it comes to protecting the passenger, crumple zones and safety cages are more important than mass. Today's cars are designed to absorb the energy of the crash, to soften the impact on the passenger. Older cars were designed with the mentality that if the car survived mostly unscathed, then the passenger would as well, which is obviously incorrect. If safety is your primary concern, then you're better off looking at crash testing than vehicle size or weight. But the absolute best way to increase your safety is to become a better driver.
  • Tech-Curious - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    I can guarantee you that a head-on collision with a wall at, say, 30 mph will be safer in a Smart Car than an Oldsmobrick.

    The fact of the matter is that when it comes to protecting the passenger, crumple zones and safety cages are more important than mass.

    It's a matter of mass and size. Your guarantee is preposterous, because a Smart Car has precious little space within which to crumple, without also crumpling the people inside of it. The size of the wheelbase, the cabin, and yes, the mass of the vehicle are all important.

    I've been in a head-on collision in a compact car with a much heavier object (a semi-truck). Trust me when I say that I'm lucky to be alive; if I hadn't swerved at the last second, I would have been vaporized, because the truck literally drove through the right side of my engine compartment, and didn't come to rest until its front bumper was sitting on my passenger seat.

    Thank god no one was sitting there. The truck's damage? A cracked headlight.

    Now, if I had been involved in the same accident in an Oldsmobrick, as you call it, the car would much more likely have kept something approaching its original shape. A passenger or I could have died from the internal trauma caused by the savage stop; that's true -- but the passenger would have died in more-or-less one piece.

    Let's not kid ourselves: The Smart Car is little more than a roofed motorcycle, for all the protection it offers your body. Many modern cars are safer than their (often heavier) ancestors, but I chose the Smart Car because it represents an extreme, and I thought (erroneously, as it happens) that the extreme example would illustrate the point without courting controversy.

    And yes, good driving habits comprise the best safety measure available -- but it's a mistake to assume that you're ever 100% in control of any situation on the road. The essence of safe driving is to understand that you don't have that control, to minimize your risk by putting yourself into the best position to react to sudden hazards. Even so, not all hazards are avoidable.
  • Tech-Curious - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    Oh, and with regard to crash testing, you have to be very careful. Tested safety ratings might rule out weight and size: for instance, the Smart Car recently got a safety rating similar to the Trailblazer's -- but you'd have to be out of your mind to conclude that both vehicles are equally safe.

    The Trailblazer is simply at the same level, relative to its analogues, as a Smart Car. A couple of statements from (or paraphrases of) the president of the Insurance Institute from Highway Safety follow:

    “All things being equal in safety, bigger and heavier is always better. But among the smallest cars, the engineers of the Smart did their homework and designed a high level of safety into a very small package,” Lund said.


    In new crash tests, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rammed three automakers' smallest cars into their midsize models. Although the small cars had passed other IIHS tests, they flunked in collisions with larger but still-fuel-efficient sedans. "The safety trade-offs are clear," IIHS President Adrian Lund says. "There are healthier ways to save gas."

    "We're hearing people say, 'Everything gets a 'good' rating now, so I might as well buy a small car,' " Lund says. "A lot of people are forgetting that the laws of physics still hold" and even a little bit bigger still is safer.

    And finally, the tale in pictures. Trailblazer:

    Smart Car:
  • rarson - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    "Once you get to the point where the price isn't as much of an issue (especially for something you'll be using for 4-5 years) the enjoyment of using something that has high-quality interface points (monitor, keyboard, etc.) quickly overcomes the cost difference."

    In that case, the Acer (and the Macbook Air) fail completely. I've got a $350 Trinity laptop that I'm using right now that has a much better keyboard than both of these, and even my old PII Compaq laptop is DRASTICALLY better. I understand what you're saying about touchpads (the laptop I'm using definitely has some quirks that can make the touchpad frustrating), but I find it laughable when people call these devices "high quality" when they have such terrible keyboards.
  • rarson - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    1) Uh, every device that I've tried feels fragile in my hands due to the actual thickness, not the construction or materials. That's why I said I "feel" like I'm going to break the thing.

    2) Well that's just absurd. Anyone can easily see the value of a Mercedes. You can't tell the difference between a car with solid body construction and quality sound deadening? It's a pretty marked difference between, say, a typical economy car. You don't seem to understand the difference between seeing the value and actually desiring it.

    There's no exceptional build quality here. The device isn't going to last longer or significantly outperform a comparably equipped, but much cheaper laptop. All you're getting is a decent display (with the added cost of touch), a slimmer chassis, and an unjustifiably higher price. So where exactly is the value proposition here?
  • The0ne - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    This is an Ultrabook laptop. These are usually not cheap to begin with because they are Ultrabooks. Why are people comparing these to notebooks that are not even in the same class? These are not even in the same class as business notebooks as well. Subjectively, these are expensive because they are light and thin. Most of the readers here won't even consider buying one to be honest or may have never own an ultrabook before. The market for these are business travelers where they need the light weight and thinness to carry it around for long periods of time.

    I just don't understand why people would complain about something that they don't begin to comprehend what it is and what market it is aimed at.
  • rarson - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    You're right, I don't comprehend what market these are aimed at, since a regular laptop is only about a pound heavier than this thing, and might actually offer a decent keyboard and slightly larger screen real estate, things that I'm pretty sure would be far more important to the average businessman than "thin and light," at a significantly lower price, no less.

    Perhaps you could explain to me why a businessman would need a touchscreen on a laptop, or 1080p resolution in a 13" screen.

    You said it above: "These are usually not cheap to begin with because they are Ultrabooks." Right, they are'nt cheap because they're marketed as expensive devices. I'm sure it costs more money to make the thinner, lighter chassis. But that doesn't mean that it makes sense to pay more for it.
  • jabber - Monday, January 07, 2013 - link

    .....did we get a indication of what this machine is like out of the box?

    In other words -

    1. How long did it take from first switch on till actually being able to use it properly?

    2. How much crapware was installed and how long did it take to uninstall?

    I have known Acer laptops (and others from similar companies) to take a couple of hours messing around till you can actually use them. I love the ones that force you to burn a set of recovery disks at start up and threaten thats its a once in a lifetime deal.
  • bobjones32 - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    I posted elsewhere in this thread with my impressions, but my wife purchased this from a Microsoft Store. That means it comes with a Signature image, so no bloatware, and ready to use straight out of the box.

    The thing turned on instantly, set up quickly, and she was using it fully within just a few minutes.
  • thesavvymage - Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - link

    I seriously do not understand on having the "thinnest" laptop you can have. You dont hold it in your hands, it sits on your lap. The screen size and overall volume are what matters the most (for bulk). This laptop is .5" thick. If they even increased it to .7", they couldve added a bigger batter and better cooling, and it wouldnt even seem that different to anyone without a milimeter caliper. Reply
  • blue_urban_sky - Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - link

    Why stop there, make it an even 1" then you could have 2 memory slots and a removable hard drive. Or even better make it 1.5" and have a huge removable battery, an optical drive and a dedicated GPU! No make it 2" and 17" screen then you can have a full sized keyboard top of the range graphics high end CPU tons of storage and neon lights on the top of the shiny plastic case!!1!

    Not really aimed at you, just all the people who like there £300 lappy and can not possibly imagine a world where other people want different things.
  • thesavvymage - Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - link

    you totally did not comprehend what i meant Reply
  • blue_urban_sky - Wednesday, January 09, 2013 - link

    You can't see the point of making the thinest laptop.

    You think they should have made it fatter and increased the stats.

    You justify this by saying people could not tell the difference without a ruler.

    You fail to understand that increasing the height from 0.5"->0.7" is a 40% increase in volume where "overall volume are what matters the most" .
  • rarson - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    You completely failed to grasp his point. Making the thinnest laptop possible doesn't make any sense if it adds too much to the price. If it compromises too many variables, then it's obviously more logical to make a slightly thicker device. All you're doing is reconstructing his statements into a straw man. You're also using percentages to make your argument sound stronger, but nobody cares about percentages. We're talking about actual thickness here. You know, real world stuff. Nice try. Reply
  • blue_urban_sky - Friday, January 11, 2013 - link

    Joy the straw man miss used again. They were to illustrate that I understood their position thus arguing against "you totally did not comprehend what i meant".

    Shall we dissect your truism :-

    "Making the thinnest laptop possible doesn't make any sense if it adds too much to the price"

    Is that too much according to you or is it a standardised figure? So your argument can be read as

    "Making the thinnest laptop possible makes sense if it doesn't add too much to the price"


    "If it compromises too many variables, then it's obviously more logical to make a slightly thicker device."

    Compromises on variables that you hold above others. So this could be rearranged to

    "If it doesn't compromise too many variables, then it's obviously more logical to make a thinner device."


    "but nobody cares about percentages. We're talking about actual thickness here. You know, real world stuff."

    I commend that you went to the trouble of asking everyone (out of interest did you insult them as well?). Ahh I didn't realise we were talking about 'actual' thickness!

    You're also using 'actual' to make your argument sound stronger (sry couldn't resist).

    The real world works by iterative development things happen in small increments.
  • rarson - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    I'd even argue ergonomics are now more important than overall bulk. Modern laptops just aren't that thick or heavy anymore, so I don't understand why some people are claiming that a pound here or a half-inch there are worth the ridiculous price premium. I also don't understand what a touchscreen has to do with being light and thin, but I digress.

    I realized how much I appreciate the 15" size when I tried using an 11" netbook for an extended period of time. The keyboard was just far too cramped. 10 inches might be a good size for a tablet, but when I want keys, I'd rather give up some size and thickness for better keys and room for my hands to be comfortable. Having the extra screen space of a slightly larger chassis is a bonus, and coming from an 11" chassis, there's no comparison.

    I've got an old PII laptop that until recently I would occasionally use. That thing probably weighs about 9 or 10 pounds. It's nicely built, and even has a matte screen, but it does get heavy to hold. I can't help but think that the 5-and-a-half pound notebook I'm using right now is pretty darn light. It's lighter than the 6-lb bowling ball I used to throw when I was 8. It's also got a bigger screen and a much nicer keyboard than this Acer, and cost about a fourth of the price.

    Clearly, these ultrabooks are toys for suckers who think their social status depends on what kind of gadgets they own.
  • Tech-Curious - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    Agreed. Well said. Reply
  • blue_urban_sky - Friday, January 11, 2013 - link

    *sigh* You were doing well right up to your last paragraph.

  • dszc - Wednesday, January 09, 2013 - link


    Thanks for your review. And special extra thanks for emphasizing productivity features and ergonomics for people who actually work.

    I am a professional photographer and full-time businessman. I live in Photoshop, Excel, Word, eMail, and web research. That is what I must do and what I enjoy doing. I never play games.

    Your comments on the action and utility of the keyboard and its layout are crucial. Also the touchpad. The keyboard and its shortcuts, along with the touchpad is where most true workers live. We can get things done 10x faster with these interfaces than with a touchscreen.

    Thank you for continuing to harp on these issues, as they are critical. Yes, a pretty face is nice to look at, but the real beauty of a computer is in its function.

    As for price, I am by no means rich, but I am more than willing to pay for an excellent productivity tool. If a laptop must cost $1100 or 1200 or 1300 to have essential features such as a decent IPS panel and a decent backlit keyboard and a decent touchpad, then so be it. But if you take away the backlit keyboard to save $20 or $50 or whatever, then the laptop to me becomes useless.
    There are tons of functionally compromised laptops for the masses that are hobbled by pricepoint. But it is not right to reduce those of us who must work for a living to the lowest common denominator.

    Kudos to Acer for stepping up with an IPS screen. I would be MORE than willing to pay $1300 for this tool if Acer had bothered to get the little things right - excellent backlit keyboard with great layout; fantastic (rather than mediocre) touchpad; decently calibrated IPS panel. And I'd much rather pay $1400-$1500 to have these things RIGHT, than $1200-$1300 and have them not quite right.

    Thanks again, Jarred, for your great reviews.
    Thanks, Acer, for moving in the right direction. Please don't stop short of the goal.
  • bobjones32 - Thursday, January 10, 2013 - link

    I'm a huge tech dork as you'd expect considering I'm reading AnandTech. So when my wife decided to get this laptop, I gave her a quick Windows 8 tutorial as if I was teaching an alternate version of myself how to use it.

    "Just click the desktop"
    "Just use the trackpad, why use touch?"
    "You can mostly ignore the Metro stuff, that's just meant for tablets"

    Cut to my surprise when she basically ignores all that advice, and absolutely falls in love with the laptop using touch almost all the time, sticking in Metro apps almost all the time, and barely ever seeing the Desktop.

    When the laptop is sitting on a desk, she's always resting on her elbows anyway, so reaching toward the screen is natural. When the laptop is sitting on her lap, her thumbs are right there at the screen, so it's perfectly natural to reach out and touch it. Metro apps meet most of her needs for web browsing, playing games, and chatting with friends, so she really only uses the Desktop for Office.

    The keyboard is a bit annoying to her, but everything else about the laptop is nearly perfect. Even the battery life, considering that she's coming from a Vista-era laptop from 5-6 years ago that was upgraded to Windows 7.

    After observing her learn to use Windows 8 and eventually fall in love with it and this laptop, it really made me rethink my expectations for the OS in general. Maybe the tech press has it wrong because they're approaching it from expectations that normal people simply don't care about?
  • brtl - Saturday, January 12, 2013 - link

    Does a regular single mSATA SSD drive, such as the Crucial M4 mSATA SSD 256GB, work in the Acer S7 series? Has anybody tried this? Thanks - Bert Reply
  • brtl - Monday, January 28, 2013 - link

    To answer my own question (maybe it will help someone at some point): yes it works fine. After replacing the OEM drive the firmware won't report any Intel RAID controller anymore, so I'm suspecting the RAID controller and firmware for the OEM SSD are actually on the mSATA board. Reply
  • Roy333 - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - link

    I bought the Acer Aspire S7 from the Microsoft store in Toronto, after using for a week I realized that the internal battery only lasted betewen 3 to 4 hours, I went back to the Microsoft store to buy the external add-on battery pack, I was told they do not carry any Acer products other than the laptops, they told me to buy it on Acers web site.
    That is when I went into Acers spin cycle. The Canadian web site does not carry it, the American web site will not ship to Canada. The emails I sent to Acer asking about the external battery add-on came back telling me that that battery was still under warranty & to send my laptop in to be repaired. I called them up in the USA & was told they can not ship to Canada, but to call their tech number & they could sell me the battery & ship it to Canada. After 45 minutes talking to Daisy in tech support I was told she can not ship to Canada. I then went to Acer Canada's head office, where they gave me a 1-800 number to call, it was some authorized company in Canada & he said he would ask Acer in Texas if they had the battery, I never heard back from him. The moral of the story is I should have bought a Mac Book
  • Amit kumar - Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - link

    Wow the device wonderful, truthfully I have belief in your review. It’s have a great features. I got its full specification on this site as well. Reply

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