Acer Aspire S7-392-6411 review:

Glass-topped ultrabook delivers performance, style

Unlike the more expensive Acer Aspire S7 we tested in late 2012, this newer model has an Intel Core i5 CPU instead of a more powerful Core i7 one. In day-to-day use, the effect is minimal, especially as the Core i5 here is from the latest generation of Intel CPUs, aka Haswell. In anecdotal use, just like the roughly comparable Sony Vaio Pro 13 or Samsung Ativ Book 9, the S7 always felt fast and responsive, including excellent touch-screen response. It's certainly more power than you're likely to need for Web surfing, social media, office productivity, and HD video playback.

Battery life is where the advantage of Intel's Haswell chips is really felt. The Acer Aspire S7 ran for 7 hours and 14 minute sin our video playback battery drain test, about 50 minutes longer than the pre-Haswell S7 we tested in 2012. That's not at great compared with the 12-plus hours you'll get from a 13-inch MacBook Air, but it's a solid number for a 13-inch ultrabook.

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Even though the basic design comes from the very first wave of Windows 8 laptops in late 2012, the Acer Aspire S7 still looks and feels cutting-edge. You'll get similar performance and slim bodies from other PC makers, sometimes for a bit less money, but aesthetics and feel count for something, and this is certainly a laptop that stands out from the crowd. At $1,400 it's a bit of a reach; for $1,199, it'd be a killer deal.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

HandBrake, MMT (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

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System configurations

Acer Aspire S7-392-6411
Windows 8 (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-4200U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 128MB (Dedicated) Intel HD Graphics 4400: 128GB SSD

MacBook Air 13-inch (June 2013)
OSX 10.8.4 Mountain Lion; 1.3GHz Intel Core i5-4240U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 1,024MB (Shared) Intel HD Graphics 4000; 128GB Apple SSD

Samsung Ativ Book 9 (13-inch, 2013)
Windows 8 Pro (64-bit); 2GHz Intel Core i7-3527U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 32MB (Dedicated) Intel HD Graphics 4000; 256GB SSD

Sony Vaio Pro 13
Windows 8 (64-bit); 1.5GHz Intel Core i7-4550U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 1,659MB (Shared) Intel HD Graphics 4400; 512GB Samsung SSD

Dell XPS 12
Windows 8 (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-4200U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 1,745MB (Shared) Intel HD Graphics 4400: 128GB Lite-On IT SSD

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