The Good The Acer Aspire S7 is a premium-looking ultrabook, with great performance, strong battery life, and a high-res touch screen.
The Bad The expensive S7 is priced well beyond most other touch-screen Windows 8 laptops. The touch pad is not as responsive as it should be.
The Bottom Line One of the few standout products from the first wave of Windows 8 laptops, the Acer Aspire S7 proves that Apple does not have a monopoly on great design.
Windows 8 in premium touch-screen design
The slim, premium-feeling Acer Aspire S7 was one of the very first Windows 8 laptops I spent a significant amount of time with in the weeks before the official release of Windows 8. My colleagues and I agreed at the time that this 13-inch touch-screen laptop was an excellent advertisement for Microsoft's new OS, but our demo unit was preproduction hardware, and not ready for benchmark tests. Now, with a final consumer-ready version of the same machine in-hand, we can report performance and battery life test results and give this excellent laptop a review score.
In hands-on use, this Aspire S7 looked and felt identical to the preproduction sample from October 2012. Like many of the laptops and convertible laptop/tablet hybrids we've reviewed recently, the Aspire S7 is a new-from-the-ground-up ultrabook, rather than an existing Windows 7 product updated with new software. The S7 is also one of the thinnest, slickest-looking ultrabooks I've seen, highlighted by a white minimalist chassis and a lid covered with Gorilla Glass (much like the). Inside is an Intel Core i7 CPU and something that has already become almost commonplace in Windows 8 laptops: a touch screen, built into a 13.3-inch 1,920x1,080-pixel display.
In Windows 8, with its tile-based interface and, the touch screen becomes a useful secondary tool, as seen here, or in systems such as the or . It's not something you'll use every time, but after a few days, you'll find yourself reaching for it more and more, usually for a quick swipe or to scroll up and down long Web pages.
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