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.

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  • smorebuds - Monday, October 05, 2015 - link

    the hyperbole is strong with this one Reply
  • cgalyon - Monday, October 05, 2015 - link

    While "perfect" is probably an understatement, it was quite good, except the keyboard. I make no exaggeration when I say that it was not possible to type much more than a short word without having to make a correction. People were modifying registry files in an attempt to compensate (by changing the latency between detected key presses) Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, October 05, 2015 - link

    I'm a bit surprised that Acer would want you to review a Broadwell model now when Skylake is out. Was this laptop stuck in your todo queue for a while? Reply
  • lmcd - Monday, October 05, 2015 - link

    Most of Skylake is a connectivity upgrade, no? Which would be lost on a unit like this, with nearly no connectivity to speak of. Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, October 05, 2015 - link

    That's true for desktop processors. On the mobile side, improvements to power management and a bigger IGP have potential to make significant improvements to some performance numbers. Reply
  • lilmoe - Monday, October 05, 2015 - link

    Acer probably got a better deal for those parts... Reply
  • p1esk - Monday, October 05, 2015 - link

    Those specs at that price would be OK back in 2012. But now? At $799 it could sell a few. At $999? Meh, no thanks. At the asking price? You gotta be completely crazy. Reply
  • kmmatney - Monday, October 05, 2015 - link

    I'm pretty sure Intel is charging up the nose for the Intel Core i7-5500U - easily adds a few hundred to the price over an i5. Reply
  • solipsism - Monday, October 05, 2015 - link

    May I request when detailing the USB ports going forward to make clear if it's USB-A or USB-C. Reply
  • lilmoe - Monday, October 05, 2015 - link

    "Something pretty remarkable is that Acer has sampled us nearly identical Aspire S7 models for the past three generations"

    I would have gotten excited here since I wanted a good comparison between Haswell and Broadwell in terms of efficiency. But I'm not sure if even this is a good comparison since you're not using the same browser for battery life tests. Edge is the most efficient browser on Windows.

    It would have been nice if you also posted battery tests using IE for this particular product since you have identical specs other than the CPU.

    On to the product itself, dat screen is seriously awful... The price tag is a bit high. Otherwise, not too shabby.
    Reply

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