Acer Aspire S7-191 Ultrabook Review
Using our Spyder4Pro display calibrator, we determined that the Aspire S7's 1080p IPS display panel virtually covers the entire SRGB colour spectrum, a feat only matched by ASUS's Zenbook Prime and Apple's Retina Displays on laptop based offerings. This makes the screen suitable for creative professionals to do some work while on the road without sacrificing colour accuracy. Text and image reproduction was razor sharp, and works both in-doors and under sunlight. The hinges holding the touchscreen display is also very firm.
That being said, all manufacturers should follow Apple's example of calibrating their panels from the factory to give their users a consistent experience.
The chiclet keyboard, which also has blue backlighting, uses an non-standard layout (function keys combined with numbers) and short travel distance but thankfully retains a full-sized right shift key and good feedback for best typing efficiency. The multi-touch glass touchpad disappointed at times, no surprise due to its PS/2 interface (why can't everybody use a good Synaptics USB hardware). Fortunately we found ourselves relying mostly on the touchscreen, which is measurably more responsive to other Windows based touch panels we have encountered thus far.
No surprises here with the use of a low voltage dual core, hyperthreaded 17W Core i5-3317U CPU which gives a maximum turbo of 2.6GHz and HD4000 graphics. Annoyingly, Acer opted to use only 1333MHz DDR3 memories here instead of the full 1600MHz supported by the memory controller, which is only a few more dollars added to the bill of materials. As I've said at the beginning of this review, 4GB of system memory simply isn't enough for 2013 productivity usage models and maybe the marketers at Intel should enforce 8GB+ of 1600MHz RAM requirement to their Haswell Ultrabook spec.
One of the reasons for the Aspire S7's above average system startup and application launch performance in our benchmark tests is the inclusion of a Lite-On RAID-0 mSATA SSD solution (Marvell 88SS9175 controller with Toshiba MLC NAND). Too bad our review sample and the Singapore retail units only comes with 128GB of storage capacity (~60GB free), which really leaves much to be desired from a usability standpoint.
Finally, a dual band Qualcomm Atheros 802.11AGBN solution handles WiFi, and we didn't encounter any anomalies with signal reception or transfer speeds.