Acer claims that the Aspire S5 is the world’s thinnest Ultrabook. The S5 is the one with a motorized port cover. The Ultrabook is priced $1,399, got the fast SSds – two of them linked together in RAID 0 and an Intel third generation Processor. Is that justifying the price tag? Read the review.
The Aspire S5 is just weighs 2.98 pounds and 0.59 inches thickness. It got a skinnier figure of the UltraBooks. It is brushed with aluminium lid and palmrest, and magnesium bottom, gives the UltraBook a more premium feel. The S5 plastic keyboard, bezel, and deck are the reason for the weight of just 1.35 kg. The S5 is that most of its ports are tucked behind the Magic Flip, which motorized the drop-down door on the laptop’s rear edge. It is so annoying to have all the key sockets lacked back. The port selection is really good, it got 2 USB 3.0 port openings, ThunderBolt and Full-sized HDMI sockets. Not all the openings are hidden, on the right edge you can find a 3.5mm head phone jack, the power button and 2-in-1 SD memory card reader is on the left. Acer doesn’t provide an Ethernet connection.
The island style keyboard feels cramped, the keys are quite lacking in travel, the arrangement gets crowded especially towards the periphery were the essential buttons lie. The tab key is also tiny, the caps lock and four direction arrow keys will definitely miss hit if you’re tired typing. The keyboard don’t have a backlit too, you should have expect it with the machine of this cost. The touchpad is 3.75*2.6-inch buttonless Elan touchpad provides accurate navigation with no jerkiness and errant clicks. It also got a strong palm rejection. It also responds to multi-touch gestures like two-finger scrolls and pinch-to-zoom and four-finger swipe to hide / unhide windows.
The Acer S5’s 1366*768 screen is not really impressive; the device screen is really way behind the competitors Apple MacBook Air, ASUS ZenBook Prime. While playing the trailer with 1080p HD video we can see the difference between them and the S5 is really low in resolution and plays the video dimmer. The sounds coming out from the Dolby-enhanced speakers is a bit thinner, we heard a buzzing distortion even at the medium volumes. The S5 doesn’t include the Intel’s Wireless Display Technology.
On the MagicFlip, pressing a button to expose the key ports is tedious. For example, if you want to plug in a portable hard drive; you can’t just plug in; but here you had to press the button and wait for a second or two and wait for the door to open and reach the back of laptop to find the USB port. On opening the port and installing some simple programs make the machine hot. The laptop’s fan is also quieter and less annoying than those found in some competitors. The motor make a sound that doesn’t inspired us. The good thing is the door automatically closes when you shut down the computer or clos the lid, even if you forget to press the button to close it manually.
The Acer usually offers the laptops in various pre-configured versions, but the S5 is only available for the price tag of $1,399 with the specs of a Core i7 CPU, 4GB DDR3 RAM, 64-bit edition of Windows Home Premium and 256GB SSD. As is the case for almost every other Ultrabook we review, the drives, RAM and battery were not designed to be user-replaceable. The webcam with 1.3MP HD provides sharp, accurate images of our face. When we capture images in a dim and low light it appears washed out and noisy. If we enable the auto-lighting and tuned on noise reduction, the picture got better and cleaner.
The speedy 1.9GHz Core i7-3517 CPU and a pair of SSDs in a RAID array 0, is really speedy, and a good experience that’s great for productivity tasks and media playback. On the benchmark we measured the overall system performance it scored 6.2 that is highest score yet for an Ultrabook. The dual 128GB SATA III SSds are the main reason for the S5’s incredible performance. The two lite on-board devices are connected in a RAID array 0, effectively double their read, and write speeds. The drives booted the Windows 7 in 29 seconds. It copied the files faster. It got a integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics, that is not up to the mark for playing the games, when we played Call of Duty 4 along with the frame rates in 26, it is just playable nothing more than that.
It got a non-removable 3-cell battery with a promise of 6 hours battery life, it lasted a mere 5 hours (4 hours and 50 minutes exactly). While we did continuous surfing, it lasts only four hours and fifty minutes that is really far behind for the Ultrabooks we have seen, the MacBook Air will be their up to 7 hours and Samsung Series 9 will be their up to mere 8 hours. So, what we say is the battery life is really disappointing.
Software And Warranty
S5 got some useful utilities, Acer eRecovery Management allows you to back up and restore your entire system. Crystal Eye Webcam lets you tweak the camera settings and snap photos and videos. The Acer Theft Shield pairs your S5 with and Android Phone and alerts you if the Ultrabook moves too far away it. AcerCloud allows you to share photos, documents, videos, and music between devices you own. For now, this service is only available in North America and China, but it's expected to roll out to other markets worldwide sometime in the fourth quarter. The Acer’s media management applications, clear.fi Media for music and movies and clear.fi Photo for images helps you organize and share these files on the device. Acer Games is a marketplace filled with casual games you can try or buy. AUPEO!, which any user can download for free, lets you set up customized radio stations. Trial versions of Norton Online Backup and McAfee Family Protection also come preloaded. Acer backs the Aspire S5 with a standard one-year warranty on parts and labor.
For: Extremely Thin and Light Design, TouchPad is Nice, Quick Solid State Drives, ThunderBolt Port
Against: Battery Life, Low Resolution Screen, Annoying Connectivity Port, Cramp Keyboard without Backlit, Overpriced
The Acer Aspire S5 got lot of key ingredients to make great Ultrabook; thins shape, lightning speed, port selection, but the Acer falls short on some critical features. On the price tag of $1,399 you should expect a high-quality screen and longer battery life. The poor placement of mechanical doors and lot of flaws display within the Aspire S5 seems overpriced.