Acer Aspire S7 review

Acer's luxurious laptop is an ultraportable star

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Premium inside and out, the Acer Aspire S7 is undoubtedly a luxurious laptop. From its sleek build to its super sharp touchscreen and glowing keyboard, this laptop looks and feels futuristic. Something designed to future proof you technologically should do as much, though this machine lacks one piece of tech that could have it 100% ready for the next four years.

We liked

While I'm torn on the utility of such a sharp display in 2014, it's purpose is clear. This 2560 x 1440 panel is prepared for the day when hyper-HD content is finally viable to watch over wireless internet. In the now, text looks gorgeous, as do images – thus adding to the near-future feel of this device.

The build quality on display here, from the Aspire S7's aluminum and Gorilla Glass frame (a shame about the underside, though), is palpable. That goes for the snappy keyboard, with its fancy electroluminescent lighting, too. And just try to make that screen wobble, I dare you.

That the Aspire S7 never gets uncomfortably hot – at least running the apps and tasks I use on a daily basis – is a major plus. Frequent travelers and bathroom laptop users (you know who you are) need not worry about scorching their laps here.

We disliked

Frankly, there's nothing to hate about this machine, except for the lack of an 802.11ac network adapter. If not for now, then for when this notebook is three years old and the faster WiFi standard is all the rage. You might have the screen to watch the 1440p content, but will you have the connection?

That super HD display is a bit of a double-edged sword overall. For one, only the fastest, most expensive wireless internet connections can handily stream media at 1440p. Secondly, not many content providers even offer such pixel-rich video right now. Sure, web pages and images pop on such a screen, but is that worth a potential cut to battery life pushing those extra pixels?

Now for the more nagging points. For one, the keyboard layout will definitely take some getting used to, with some goofy placement choices. Speaking of which, the touchpad would benefit from being centered in reference to the keyboard deck, not the space bar. Also, the soft touch plastic (rather than aluminum) underside detracts from the elite look and feel a bit. And finally, I wasn't blown away by the battery life on display, though its in line with competing Ultrabooks.

Final verdict

The Aspire S7 will make the decision over your next laptop a difficult one. Acer isn't the only manufacturer to jump on the hyper-HD bandwagon without adding the advanced 802.11ac network cards that can help so much for 1440p streaming. Both the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro and Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus offer even sharper 3200 x 1800 screens, but lack the advanced wireless standard to support them, not to mention how far out those resolutions are from where the media world is right now.

At any rate, the Aspire S7 truly feels like a machine built for the now, 2014, and one that you won't mind using well into 2016, possibly longer. So love the Aspire S7 for its cutting edge build, fine typing experience and premium specs. Lament the lack of next-gen WiFi and lukewarm battery life dragged down by that pixel-dense 2560 x 1440 IPS touchscreen. The 13-inch MacBook Air is more of a scrappy road warrior, but the Acer Aspire S7 is the luxury model, and a smart one at that.