Aspire S7 a top-speed ultrabook - review

The Acer Aspire S7 is at the top end of Windows machines. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)
The Acer Aspire S7 is at the top end of Windows machines. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)
Cape Town - The Acer Aspire S7 may be the laptop that justifies its race car name as the device is designed to speed up productivity.

The device sports good looks in its aluminium case, but it's more than a pretty face: Under the skin is an Intel Core i7-3517U processor that puts it near the top of the pile in terms of ultrabook performance available in SA.

The slim profile of the S7 mirrors the direction that manufactures are taking with ultrabooks in light of the competition from mobile devices like tablets, but the notebook doesn't lack in terms of its ability to boost productivity of a road warrior.

It has a 225GB SSD (solid-state drive) mated to 4GB of RAM that gives this machine bragging rights in terms of low power consumption.

Its battery lasted around six hours and Acer has also included an extra battery booster to extend mobile use.

Touch screen

The Aspire S7 runs the Windows 8 operating system and even though there's a mouse included in the box, you won't need it because the 29.5cm display is a touch screen, making navigating the OS much simpler than the traditional hunt-and-peck method.

As you would be expected from a top-of-the-line device that costs as much as a used car, the keys light up when the ambient light decreases and there are two USB 3 slots as well as a HDMI slot.

There's is no standard network port, but Acer included an adaptor in the box. It is also disappointing that the Aspire S7 has a micro-SD card slot rather than a standard one.

While the keys are well-spaced, big hands may struggle with the cursor keys' close placement to the Page Up and Page Down controls.

Stereo sound is better than expected on the device and the recessed speakers don't seem to get muffled even when using the device on your lap.

For all the power wrapped up in an ultrabook package, weight is not a problem: The device tips the scale at 1 026g, showing that ultrabooks may soon be able to threaten tablets for mobility.

Acer has been on a charge release ultrabooks in SA, and consumers can look forward to increasing competition between manufacturers.

Expect features like reversible and detachable touch screens to become more common, as well a dual touch Acer Iconia ultrabook, shown at the 2012 Consumer Electronic Show.

The Acer Aspire S7 ultrabook isn't cheap and its stratospheric R24 999 recommended retail price may put many off. The Aspire S7 is available at Dion Wired stores.

- Follow Duncan on Twitter
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