Acer Aspire S13 hands-on review

Acer has launched a range of new products at its global event in New York, including a new super slim laptop to take on the MacBook Air and other Windows rivals. Here’s our Acer Aspire S13 hands-on review. See also: 20 best laptops 2016.

Also see: Best Black Friday Laptop Deals

Continuing the Aspire S range of ultraportable laptops, the S13 has been unveiled alongside other new Windows 10 devices such as the Switch Alpha 12, a Surface Pro 4 rival, and Predator gaming machines which are VR ready. 

Read: Best ultraportable laptops 2016.

Acer Aspire S13 release date and price

One of the main selling points of the S13 is that it’s half the price of the competition, according to Acer. It starts at $699 and 699 Euros with a UK price to be confirmed and the release date is May.

That’s not quite half the price of the equivalent MacBook Air which starts at $999 in the US. However, Samsung’s Notebook 9 (although it’s 15in) is $1,200 so the Acer Aspire S13 is certainly a cheaper option and one of the most budget friendly ultraportable laptops we’ve seen to date. The Dell XPS 13 is £849.

Acer Aspire S13 review: Design and build 

The new Aspire S13 is both slim and light, at 14.8mm and 1.3kg for the non-touch model it beats the 13in MacBook Air on both front. The Apple made rival is 17mm at the thicker end and 1.35kg overall.

Acer Aspire S13 hinge

Available in two colours, Obsidian Black or Pearl White, the Aspire S13 doesn’t quite feel as premium compared to rivals overall. We’re big fans of the polished aluminium hinge which is embossed, but the plastic lid with a ridged texture is reminiscent of a budget laptop – using ‘nano-imprint lithography’ isn’t enough to change that fact.

It’s also very flimsy and when put under pressure bent and creaked all too easily. This is a common problem with some super thin and light laptops such as the LG Gram 15.

The diamond cut chamfered edge is a nice touch and the keyboard surround has a nice finish, particularly on the black model. Overall then, it’s a mixed bag of premium elements but cheap feeling parts, also.

Acer Aspire S13 diamond cut edge

Acer had to keep the costs down somehow and while previous generations of the Aspire S have felt more desirable, we can’t expect a flawless design at this price.

Acer Aspire S13 review: Hardware and specs 

As the name suggests, the Aspire S13 offers a 13.3in display, the best size for portability without things being too small and fiddly. The S13 features an IPS screen and a Full HD (1920x1080) resolution and there’s optional touch if you feel the need to fondle.

Acer Aspire S13 screen

The S13 features Acer BlueLightShield which you can switch on to reduce the blue light emission coming from the LED backlight.

At the starting price, you’ll get an Intel Core i3U processor but you can choose a Core i5 or even Core i7 if you want – all of them are 6th-generation Intel Skylake chips and you’ll get Intel HD Graphics 5200.

Acer provides up to 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM inside the S13 and up to 512GB SSD – the latter is double the storage Apple offers with the MacBook Air.

Other specs include 11ac Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO, HDMI, a USB 3.0 port which will charge devices even with the laptop off and a Type-C reversible USB port which can transfer data at up to 5Gbps. 

Acer Aspire S13 lid and ports

There’s Dolby Audio and Acer touts a battery life of up to 13 hours for the touch model via a 54Wh battery, this goes down to 11 for the non-touch. Neither of which we’ve been able to test at the launch event. 

As you’d expect, the Acer Aspire S13 comes pre-installed with Windows 10. The Precision Touchpad, which we found responsive, supports Windows gestures. The backlit keyboard has a two-stage system where it comes on and then goes to full luminance when you need it.

Acer Aspire S13: Specs

  • Windows 10
  • 13.3in Full HD IPS screen
  • Up to Intel Core i7 6th-gen processor
  • Intel HD Graphics 5200
  • Up to 8GB RAN
  • Up to 512GB SSD
  • HD webcam
  • USB 3.0
  • USB Type-C
  • HDMI
  • 11ac Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO
  • Up to 13 hours battery life
  • 327x228x14.8mm
  • 1.3kg
  • Windows 10
  • 13.3in Full HD IPS screen
  • Up to Intel Core i7 6th-gen processor
  • Intel HD Graphics 5200
  • Up to 8GB RAN
  • Up to 512GB SSD
  • HD webcam
  • USB 3.0
  • USB Type-C
  • HDMI
  • 11ac Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO
  • Up to 13 hours battery life
  • 327x228x14.8mm
  • 1.3kg

OUR VERDICT

If you’re not too put of by the flimsy plastic lid, the Acer Aspire S13 is a decent choice for an ultraportable laptop. It’s thinner and lighter than a MacBook Air (just) with competent specs although the starting price won’t be breaking any benchmarks with the components you get.

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