This touchable, classy ultrabook is targeted right at the road-warrior, power-hungry, super-user. The S7 is an expensive machine. The starting price hovers near $1400, but our Core i7 configured spec clocks in at $1650. For the price customers do see a superlative spec sheet and a beautifully designed body.
I know what you're thinking. The S7 had better be amazing for that kind of money. Don't worry, with a few qualifiers, the Aspire S7 easily ranks among the top Windows 8 machines. Is that enough to justify the cost?
Could a few hundred bucks tacked on the top end make a difference between a vanilla ultrabook and something truly special? That's something Acer is willing to gamble on with its latest flagship ultrabook.
The Aspire S5 comes with a beefy Core i7-3517U clocked at 1.9GHz, 4GB of RAM and 256GB of flash storage -- no hybrid caching system here. In most instances, an SSD is the best component upgrade for any modern system, but Acer took things one step further as the S5 is equipped with two 128GB SSDs in a RAID0 configuration. It goes without saying that the storage subsystem should be blazing fast.
More than last year, 2012's ultrabooks have been and will continue to be about tradeoffs: low-res screens vs. high-res, TN panels vs. IPS, snappy SSDs vs. capacious HDDs, dual-core CPUs vs. quad-core, 2GB vs. 8GB, power-sipping IGPs vs. muscle-bound GPUs, mainstream vs. premium pricing, and so on.
Acer's new TimelineU makes its own compromises. Our review unit touts a full-size backlit keyboard, 500GB of storage, a GeForce GT 640M LE GPU, an optical drive, an eight-hour battery life and an attractive $830 price tag. Naturally, the question is: what's the catch? Let's get to the bottom of that.