Ultrabooks and hybrid PCs can be truly remarkable pieces of hardware but in order to find them, you have to look at the ones costing close to a lakh as these are generally the flagship models. We’ve already seen some from Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung and Sony and now, it’s time to take a look at Acer’s flagship offering called the Aspire S7.

Design and Build
The notebook has a killer design and is guaranteed to turn heads as soon as you take it out of your bag. The Aspire S7 features an incredibly sleek aluminium body that’s just 12.2mm thick when closed. Add to this the diamond-like mosaic pattern on the lid and we have one extremely good looking notebook. The body is scratch resistant and so is the glass protecting the screen which happens to be Corning’s Gorilla Glass 2. The hinge is incredibly sturdy as well and opens to almost 180 degrees.

Amazing design

Amazing design

Despite the slim chassis, the S7 features two USB 3.0 ports, headphone jack, a microSD card slot and a microHDMI port around the back. The ultrabook also features two break-out adapters for LAN and VGA. The LAN adapter is powered by a USB port whereas the VGA adapter slots into the microHDMI port. You could alternately also use a microHDMI to regular HDMI cable. Also in the box is the charging adapter, a carrying pouch and an expandable battery pack. This secondary battery strip clips onto the back and docks with the charging port, thereby extending the S7’s battery life. You can use the notebook without the battery pack as well, if you don’t want the excess bulk. The battery is completely sealed up and we have large vents at the back for releasing the hot air. The dual fan mechanism of sucking in cool air from one end and releasing it from the other keeps the Aspire S7 quite cool under normal working conditions.

USB 3.0 port for good measure

USB 3.0 port for good measure

Opening up the lid, we find a generous trackpad and backlit, island styled keys. Acer has gone with aqua blue backlighting instead of the typical white. This looks cool and is also easy on the eyes in the dark. We would have liked for the backlit keys to automatically kick in once the ambient light dims, but that doesn’t happen. The S7 is not exactly a hybrid but rather a standard Ultrabook with a touchscreen. There’s no secret switch to flip it into tablet mode or any such trickery.

Gorilla Glass 2 for added protection

Gorilla Glass 2 for added protection


Speaking of displays, the S7 crams in 1920 x 1080 worth of pixels into an 11.6-inch screen, resulting in extremely sharp images and text. The LED backlit TFT LCD display is also very bright so you can easily use it outdoors. The model we received (MS2363) is powered by an Intel Core i7-3517U running at 1.9GHz. RAM maxes out at 4GB and we have SSDs in RAID 0 configurations, racking up the storage capacity to 256GB. This sort of SSD configuration is the first we’ve seen in Ultrabooks and should blow the roof off when it comes to read/write speeds. The S7 runs on Windows 8 64-bit and comes bundled with McAfee trial version and some Acer apps like cloud storage, maintenance, backup and restore, etc. 

The Acer Aspire S7 is easily one of the most powerful Ultrabooks you’ll find in the market. This is not because of the Core i7 CPU but has more to do with the two SSDs in RAID. The read and write speeds are off the charts and are easily more than double the speeds we’ve seen in Ultrabooks to date. What’s really remarkable is that Acer has managed to fit all of this into such a slim chassis. Windows 8 is already known to be quick and on the S7, it simply flies. Waiting time to open and install apps is close to instantaneous and loading times for anything are almost non-existent. Take a look at the score sheet compared to the other Ultrabooks we’ve tested. 


Acer Aspire S7 MS2363

Sony VAIO Duo 11

Dell XPS 12

PC Mark 7 (Higher is better)
























3DMark Vantage – Entry (Higher is better)
















CineBench R11.5 (multi-core)




Real World Tests(Lower is better)




File compression: 100 MB files to 7zip @ultra, 256-bit encryption




Video encoding: 1 min MPEG to x.264 MPEG-4 (2nd pass)




Ray tracing: POVRay (800×600 AA 0.3)




CrystalDiskMark (Higher is better)




Sequential read MB/s




Sequential write MB/s




4k read MB/s




4k write MB/s




The S7 manages to stay cool under normal operations but once the CPU usage increases, the fans kick in. This causes a very audible sound, which can get a bit annoying after a while. The notebook does get hot but it’s mostly the area above the keyboard while underneath it stays warm, so it’s still comfortable to use on your lap. The touchscreen, while being super sensitive and accurate, is not of much use since you can’t use the S7 in true tablet mode. It’s nice for flipping through pictures and stuff but that’s about it. You anyways have all the Windows 8 gestures mapped to the trackpad anyways so we could’ve done with a regular screen as well. The keyboard has good spacing but the keys themselves feel a little too rigid as there’s not much travel. This does not give you as much confidence when typing so it could be an issue if your work involves a lot of typing, like mine for instance. The trackpad works well and the mouse buttons are easy to click without having to use much effort. Finally, the S7’s speakers have the Dolby Home Theatre enhancements, which manage surprisingly good audio quality and volume given the size of the chassis. 

Battery Life
With the extra battery attached, the Aspire S7 ran for 2-hours and 20-minutes in Battery Eater Pro, which roughly translates to about 4-5-hours of actual, real-world usage. Without the extra battery pack, you still get a respectable 1 hour and 10 minutes in Battery Eater Pro, which is what most mid-range, 15-inch notebooks deliver. The reason we’re calling this respectable is because the S7 is less than half the size of most mid-range notebooks and a lot slimmer than most Ultrabooks for that matter.

Plenty of ventilation

Plenty of ventilation

Verdict and Price in India
The 11.6-inch model of the Acer Aspire S7 retails for Rs 87,599, which is not too bad all things considered. Remember, we talking about premium Ultrabooks here so ‘value for money’ doesn’t really apply. When compared to its rivals like the Dell XPS 12 and Sony VAIO Duo 11, the S7 is hands down the clear winner. Sure, you can’t use it as a true tablet but this is not a hybrid to begin with so the fact that you’re getting a touchscreen is a bonus. In fact, we feel if Acer had ditched the touchscreen and lowered the price; it would have been even sweeter. Our only gripes with the notebook are the not-so comfortable keyboard and that it gets quite noisy once the fans kick in. If you are shopping for a high-end, lightweight Ultrabook then we highly recommend the Aspire S7.

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