Acer Aspire S5 Ultrabook Hands-On

A quick look at the upcoming 2nd-generation ultrabook from Acer Philippines left me wanting more. I managed to spend a couple of hours with the Acer Aspire S5 and I was already convinced this ultrabook rocks.

I first learned about the Aspire S5 was during the Consumer Electronics Show 2012 back in January. My first encounter with the actual unit happened just over the week-end when Acer Philippines invited members of the media and bloggers to a week-end getaway at Samal Island in Davao.

Having owned and used the first Aspire S3 for several months last year, I was pleasantly surprised that a lot of the stuff I hope they would improved on were actually implemented on the Aspire S5.

  • The old S3 was half aluminum and half plastic. The new Aspire S5 is mostly aluminum-magnesium alloy — very solid and sturdy especially with that brushed-metal finish.
  • Great clam-shell design where the body tapers towards the edges and gives it a super-slim look. If you place it side by side a 13-inch Macbook Air, the slim profile is almost identical.
  • Acer finally gave in and built the Aspire S5 with a faster SSD storage. The capacity is just 128GB but it performs way better than the 320GB HDD Acer used in the Aspire S3.
  • I have used and reviewed a lot of ultrabooks but the keyboard and trackpad on the Aspire S5 is definitely one of the best. The trackpad is exceptionally responsive it performs a lot of the multi-touch gestures very smoothly.
  • At first glance, you will notice the ports seemed to have disappeared. Acer uses what it calls the “MagicFlip” which is a hidden compartment at the bottom end of the laptop which shows up when you press a special button beside the keyboard area. The hidden ports include two USB 3.0, an HDMI and a Thunderbolt (a first in an ultrabook.)

The Aspire S5 uses the latest Intel Ivy Bridge chipset which is more powerful but consumes less power. The same chipset also introduces the latest embedded GPU, the Intel HD 4000 Graphics.

Acer Aspire S5 specs:

  • 13.3″ LED display @ 1366×768 pixels
  • Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge 3317U 1.7GHz dual-core
  • Turbo Boost 2.6GHz
  • 128GB SSD
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • Intel HD 4000 Graphics
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0 ports
  • 1 x HDMI port
  • 1 x Thunderbolt port
  • Card Reader
  • Windows Home Premium 64bit

As usual there’s no more LAN port included in this one and no accessory to be able to hook up the laptop into one, but that’s not a huge issue considering WiFi is mostly the common option for wireless connectivity nowadays.

The only other issue I had with the Aspire S5 is that the 13.3-inch screen only has a resolution of 1366×768. It’s a practically on the lowest end for its size category and I was hoping Acer could have provided it with a better one.

In any case, the Aspire S5 is something to look forward into when scouting for a new ultrabook. It’s not actually released yet but we’re hoping it will be out in a month or two.

Images (c) Abe Olandres