Acer Aspire S7 Ultrabook Hands-On: Super Thin, HD Screens

Though Acer entered the Ultrabook market last fall, most would rather forget about the Aspire M3, which suffered from lackluster battery life and a slow SSD. The Aspire S7, which comes in both 11.6 and 13.3-inch versions, seeks to get the company back in the thin and light game with full HD 1920 x 1080 touch screens and .47-inch thick chassis 

We had a chance to take a closer look at demo units in both sizes and were impressed by their svelte, aluminum form factors and responsive keyboards, which felt quite springy when we hit them. Because the area was so crowded, we didn't get a chance to type on the devices, pick them up personally or play with their software.

We're impressed with the idea of the 1920 x 1080 screens because they should be extremely sharp, particularly on the 11-inch model. Unfortunately, we didn't get a really good sense of how sharp or colorful the screens were under the lighting in the conference room. Acer did not release a nit-rating so we can't tell how the panels should be. Because the room was well-lit, the light-sensitive backlit keyboard did not fire either.

What we did take note of was how thin the notebooks appeared, and we were impressed with the ability of the hinge to bend back 90 degrees so the chassis appears flat. Of course, they can't bend back 180 degrees, which means you can't use the notebooks as tablets like you can with the IdeaPad Yoga. We also were disappointed to see that neither system has an Ethernet port, something we still think you need on a notebook in 2012. Still, the system does have USB 3.0 ports that can be connected to an Ethernet dongle if necessary and fewer ports are often part of the trade-off when you get something this thin and light.

Though Acer hasn't released an offiical weight for these devices, a rep told us that the 11.6-inch Aspire S7 weighs just 1 Kilogram, which translates to just 2.2 pounds. The reps were less confident about the weight of the 13.3-inch Aspire S7 but one said it was around 1.2 which is about 2.6 pounds. Given the choice, we might opt for the 13-incher, both because of its attractive glass lid and because the keyboard deck seems a bit longer, making it easier to support ones wrists while typing. 

We hope to get a chance to really handle the Aspire S7 in both its 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch form factors, but until then, check out the demo video of the 11.6-incher and the gallery below.