Back at IDF San Francisco in September last year, the Acer Aspire S7 was personally one of the highlights of the show for me. Built by Acer with close co-operation with the Intel's performance gurus, the Ultrabook was heralded as an engineering marvel, incorporating Corning Glass and aluminium for its relatively thin unibody chassis together with a very responsive touchscreen and storage I/O to create a fluid Windows 8 user experience. The Aspire S7 and its Iconia tablet relatives also repesented a new industrial design direction for the Taiwanese firm, which previously only sold bland and uninspiring creations for the value end of the mass market.

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Accessories: Leather Sleeve, Bluetooth mouse, microHDMI to Analog VGA dongle, USB to 10/100mbps Ethernet dongle, 65W power adapter.

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One of the things that immediately sticks out on the 11.6" SKU is the removable 3-cell battery bar, which adds an additional 2500mAH of power to the internal 4-cell 3790mAH, giving the user the choice between mobility and productivity. Acer touts a combined battery life of 9.5 hours, a claim that we shall investigate later.

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Behind, we find numerous large fan exhaust holes and a single mini-HDMI connector for display output from the integrated HD4000 GPU.

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A total of two USB 3.0 ports is provided for expansion, joined by a microSD slot and a single headphone jack.

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