x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Acer Aspire S7: small package with big clout

The Life: The Aspire S7 is a compact and lightweight Ultrabook that is capable of handling an impressively heavy workload.

The Acer Aspire S7 Series is available in the UAE now for Dh5,499. Maurice Tsai/Bloomberg
The Acer Aspire S7 Series is available in the UAE now for Dh5,499. Maurice Tsai/Bloomberg

It was Steve Jobs's vision that ultimately we would need only one device. Instead of carrying around a laptop, phone, camera and personal digital assistant, we would simply use what we now know as the smartphone to make calls, take pictures, check email and, most importantly, play games.

All this is fine, and he was obviously correct in his assumption that we would all take to this concept like ducks to water. But there are times a small screen and finger-tapping on a virtual keyboard will take you only so far.

The question confronting that sliver of users known as the businessmen is how to manage the multiple spreadsheet, order forms and reports they need to keep abreast of while on the road.

One option is the Acer Aspire S7 Series, available in the UAE now for Dh5,499.

One of the thinnest and lightest Ultrabooks, the S7 is a versatile alternative to a tablet - sort of a tablet on steroids.

Its 13.3-inch screen has full HD IPS 10-point displays with 1920 x 1080 resolution makes it easy on the eye and the third generation Intel i5-3317UB or i7-3517U processors give it enough grunt where needed.

It runs Windows 8, not the most popular of operating systems, and its ability to connect via Wi-Fi to my home network was quick and easy, maintaining that connectivity even with the browser working overtime. Just in case, there is an Ethernet socket for cable connection and a micro HDMI to VGA cable is included for those all-important powerpoint presentations.

It boasts a six-hour battery lifespan, but those often on the move might lean towards grabbing the optional second battery, which doubles the operating time.

Sadly one of the features Acer highlights about this little unit is also one of its main deterrents. The fan system, TwinAir, runs two thermal fans - one sucks air in while the other blows it out. This might be quite efficient at keeping the unit cool but it was way too noisy for my liking.

Overall it is a sturdy unit which folds up into a compact size and is light enough for the backpack or briefcase.


Is the Acer Aspire S7 Series a better option than a tablet?

Since moving to the iPad I have rarely taken my laptop with me when travelling. The tablet allows me to check email, surf travel location sites easily, check my flights, and play a quiet game at night when I don’t understand a word they are saying on the TV. But to use the S7 for just that would seem overkill.

What about storage?

Basically you are looking at some form of cloud storage. The up side of that is that if you are a businessman who needs to keep the office up to date you can fill out your reports at the end of each day, upload them to the cloud, then the office staff can review them the next morning.

What other features does the S7 have?

Possibly its most striking feature is its touchscreen display. The screen is only 11.9mm thick, yet is super-strong, scratch-resistant and, more importantly, easy to wipe clean. This is because Acer has used Gorilla Glass – the first brand to use this type of glass in a notebook.

What is Gorilla Glass?

This is a registered trademark for a new composition of toughened glass that makes it more resistant to everyday scratch abuse. Manufactured by the US glassmaker Corning, it has the added bonus of being thin, lightweight and cool to touch, making it a design favourite for use in portable electronic gadgets.