Acer Aspire S 13, powerful and attractive ultrabook at a competitive price

A few months ago Acer presented its new range of portable premium Aspire S 13. The Taiwanese company usually noted for offering economic alternatives, so it is very interesting to know what were capable in the field of professional ultrabooks with a proposal whose configuration more expensive hardware does not exceed thousand dollars.

To answer this question we have been testing for a few days one of the most powerful versions of this device, equipped with i7-6500U processor, 8GB of RAM, 13.3-inch screen and hard drive 512GB SSD. Will there be achieved a good performance against alternative several hundred dollars more expensive.

Acer Aspire S 13

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Acer Aspire S 13 specifications

With its Acer Aspire S is offering 13 elegant and with good specifications ultrabook, and all trying to win the trick of the price band to other manufacturers. But before I comment on the details of their finishes and performance, we will start breaking down their technical characteristics.

Physical dimensions 327.66 x 228.6 x 15.24 mm, 1.27 kg
Screen 13.3-inch IPS LCD
Resolution FullHD 1920 x 1080 pixels
Processor Intel Core i7-6500U 2.5 GHz
Graphics processor Intel HD 520
RAM 8 GB DDR3 LP
Memory SSD 512GB
Software version Windows 10 64-bit Home
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11a / b / g / n, Bluetooth 4.0, 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.1 Type C, HDMI, SD card reader and audio jack card 3.5mm.
Camera Front HD
Battery Lithium Polymer 4850 mAh, 45 W

The first thing that attracts attention when we see this device is its design. As we shall see later, they have made some sacrifices in terms of materials used, possibly with the intention to cut the price, but they have managed to do so that it remains an attractive laptop visually.

The reviewed model comes equipped with a processor Intel Core i7-6500U, a micro quad-core 2.5 GHz, and which comes equipped with Intel HD GPU 520. However, in the catalog of the Taiwanese company there are other variants i5-6200U or i3-6100U processors.

The screen offers the least you would expect in a device of this kind, but without any boast that makes it stand out. By this I mean having neither a resolution FullHD 1920 x 1080 pixels, but the screen is touch or have risked launch a more pixelage configuration.

It includes 8 GB of RAM, which today are almost a standard for teams that want to ensure optimum performance. Yet as happened with the processors, also cheaper variants with only 4 GB, although it should be sufficient for most tasks, you might stay a bit short if we use programs specially guzzlers.

As for the rest of extras, the Acer Aspire S 13 includes Wi-Fi 802.11a / b / g / n, Bluetooth 4.0, a HD webcam, two USB 3.0 slots and another microUSB 3.1 type C that will be very useful to connect mobile devices that use it. Also it has a full HDMI port, an SD card reader and audio jack of 3.5 mm.

Serious design but attractive

Acer has aspired to offer an ultrabook whose big selling point is more economical than other alternatives with similar hardware price. And that means he has had to make some concessions in finishes, although it has favor the overall design and has an undeniable premium look.

The most notable concession found in an outer casing finished in rubbery plastic. But his printing lines manages to give a serious and professional look to your laptop while having a texture similar to rubber avoids the hassle of filling runs footprints as we take a few hours using it.

When we opened it , we found that the plastic finish is also in the frame around the screen, but makes up for brushed aluminum chassis very aesthetic and attractive. Of course, unlike the cover on the chassis itself that the tracks are marked, a problem which otherwise no longer common in these finishes.

The screen frame has seemed a little wider than it should, especially at the bottom, but not over the top that it penalizes too much. The screen itself has a matte finish that helps fewer glares appear. The team is quite thin, and although we cannot say that 1.27 kilograms turn it into a featherweight, yes that gives lightness you would expect from an Ultrabook.

Another major concession in the finishes has been the hinge, which contrasts with the premium look of the other components to be finished in chrome plastic. In any case, no longer a concession assumes thank the team who cost far less than other similar hardware.

And just to the sides, which are finished with an aluminum alloy and magnesium .On the left we find one of the USB 3.0 slots, audio jack and a cover that hides a slot for SD cards. The other components are on the right side, both the input to the outlet as the other USB 3.0, MicroUSB 3.1 type C and full HDMI port that enables you to easily connect to any monitor or TV.

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A correct and without fanfare screen

13.3 inches is a good size for the display of an ultrabook. It does not work as comfortably as with screens of 15 inches, but makes it almost as convenient to carry as 11, and that’s always an advantage if we want a versatile device that can work from almost anywhere.

It has a resolution Full HD perfect to enjoy all kinds of multimedia content. As I said before the finish of the screen is matte, and that prevents too much glare and reflections appear, which together with its good viewing angles result in a good device to enjoy multimedia content group.

I still have the impression that Acer has been able to measure very well the concessions at this point. The screen is more than enough to make the most of, although without fanfare. Stay out, for example, a QHD resolutions that would have significantly driven up the team, but when consuming multimedia user level they had not noticed too.

What perhaps if we miss on the model we tested it is the availability of a touch screen. Taiwanese also marketed versions with them, but to see if they come to our country. These models will be a little heavier, but will have 10 pressure points that can be useful in order to move from Windows 10 without using the touch panel.

Windows 10 pre-installed applications overloaded

The Acer Aspire S 13 comes equipped with Windows 10, the latest operating system from Microsoft. This will allow us to enjoy all its benefits, as the new start menu, the virtual assistant Cortana, a user interface full of new features like the different desktops, and the new Microsoft browser Edge, which Acer has been accompanied by Firefox.

Unfortunately, Acer has decided to sacrifice some of the good performance of the operating system overloading of pre-installed applications. When you start the computer and we will run with 7 shortcuts on the desktop, of which several are simple web page access and one does not lead to any application, but the installer a.

I counted a total of 10 own antivirus Acer and two applications, one of which a few days later and tells you that you are expiring. Another problem is that several of these applications start with the team, which not only affects the speed of the login, but it makes us text boxes continue to appear after a while after starting the system.

Among pre-installed applications are some useful as an Acer Care Center to have all the information the computer and set it up. But they are minor exceptions that end up paying the duck their companions, because a user with minimal knowledge first thing that make you want to do is to uninstall all or perform a clean installation of the operating system.

Fortunately, the operating system is solid, which together with the hard drive SSD makes this extra apps too has no effect on the overall performance. Still, in my opinion, it is quite annoying meet with the desktop and start menu so overloaded from the outset, and perhaps Acer should have thought a little more users in this regard.

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Good performance for work, bad for play

Although Acer has models with various types of processors so that we toil away more or less depending on your needs, the test unit we’ve been using is the one that comes equipped with the Intel i7-6500U, so the findings do not necessarily be applicable to lower power models.

We have during our tests verify that the laptop is perfectly behaves when using it for browsing, video conferencing or be doing office work. Overall performance gives no problem, and its fluidity is good when you’re using programs or browsing the system menus.

Yes, your graphics card sufficiently limited use when demanding editing tools like Photoshop and can be similar. Furthermore, although the Intel HD 520 allows us to enjoy old games or medium power, we cannot expect to be able to move the latest releases of video game market.

On paper, Acer tells us that your laptop battery should give us a range of about 13 hours, but the truth is that this figure varies widely depending on the use we make of it. On the one hand, if we use mode battery saving itself that will approach her, but if we decide pummeling and squeezing with especially demanding applications this maximum autonomy easily be reduced by half, about five or six hours.

If we want to use it to work in an office writing texts, using basic photo editors and surfing the net, the battery can last us seven or eight hours. This makes it a good candidate for those who want to meet our workday without having to worry about having an outlet nearby.

As for raw performance results through test beds, we come to confirm many of the feelings that we had left. Home PCmark measures emulating a load of domestic work performance, and here we see that the team is not too far from other alternatives that have been tested.

Instead, a Creative measuring multimedia work itself we see that is a little below the competition, while testing 3D Mark to measure graphics performance we found that although the results are not bad, are far from the other alternative which equip dedicated graphics.

Other aspects that I liked when using the laptop are its backlit keyboard with a soft touch keys and do not make too much noise, so it is very nice to write with them. Tambourine liked the touchpad have a precise and well finished, and especially a powerful and Dolby Digital sound enough quality.

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