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Acer Aspire S 13



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Key Features

  • 13in Full HD IPS display
  • Weight: 1.35kg
  • Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 U-suffix processors
  • 15mm thick
  • Up to 512GB SSD, 8GB RAM
  • Manufacturer: Acer
  • Review Price: free/subscription

Hands-on with Acer's cheap Ultrabook

Acer has firmly placed itself back into the world of Ultrabooks, launching the brand-new 2016 Aspire S 13 laptop to take on the likes of Asus’ ZenBook UX305. Here are the four things I learned when I spent some time using it after its unveiling:

1) It’s going to be cheap

And it feels it, too. With a starting price of US$699 (likely around £600 inc VAT) this is tackling a competitive market of cheap ultra-portables with high-end specifications. As a result, you’ll feel the difference between it and, say, a MacBook Pro.Aspire Aspire S 13

It’s light at just 1.36kg, although its plastic shell does an awful lot to contribute. It looks great, though, available in both black and white with a stylish, textured lid and nicely finished keyboard tray.

The keyboard itself feels great. It’s backlit and has a reasonable amount of travel to it, and the tray just has a little flex when you push down on it. In this area, at least, the Aspire S 13 doesn't give away its cheapness.

2) There’s plenty of power

Like the just-announced Acer Switch Alpha 12, the Aspire S 13 will ship with Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processors with the U suffix, meaning they’ll be low-power, dual-core chips. Don’t discount them, though, they generally have excellent performance in most modest tasks such as web browsing and document editing. They’ll also be capable of some light photo editing. I'd imagine the models in the UK will get 8GB of RAM, although a paltry 4GB might be a possibility.Aspire Aspire S 13 1

3) Battery life should be great

Acer reckons the Aspire S 13 will be capable of around 13 hours of battery life. I’m not convinced it’ll be that good in normal use, but with the screen brightness turned up, Windows 10’s fairly accurate battery indicator reckoned I had 8 hours to play with from 98% capacity. This could be very competitive if this makes its way to the final product.

Related: Best laptops to buy in 2016

4) The screen won’t suck

With a 13in Full HD, IPS screen, images look pin-sharp and contrast is excellent. Colours also look nice and vibrant, so I’m optimistic the Aspire S 13 won’t be let down by its screen, which many cheaper Ultrabooks do sometimes suffer from.

Some models will come with a touchscreen, and based on Acer UK's fairly strong history of touchscreen laptops, I'd expect us here in Blighty to get a touch model.

First Impressions

If the price in the UK is close to our estimates, the Aspire S 13 could be an extremely competitive Ultrabook to take on Asus’ ZenBooks.

My only question mark hangs over its build quality, as the amount of plastic and the bendiness of the screen portion of the device is a little concerning. It’s a pre-production model, though, so these niggles might have been sorted by the time a full retail version comes around.

The Acer Aspire S 13 will be released in May 2016.

Ian Owen

April 22, 2016, 11:35 am

Why is this in the 'Reviews' section ? It's not a review. It's no different to someone going into a shop and saying what they see. Come on Trusted Reviews, this isn't up to your normal standards. I've been visiting your website daily for many years and this type of filler is becoming more and more common. I understand the need to create web content but content like this only makes me angry that I devoted time to reading something that is at all a 'Review'.


April 22, 2016, 1:44 pm

Hi Ian

Thanks for your comment. Many apologies, this hands on preview was not labelled correctly, however this is content that we've been creating for years.

It is a stop gap between seeing a product for the very first time to actually creating a full review when it is actually released. There are plenty of people interested in learning about what's coming up, this isn't something anyone can go and see in shops as it's the very first time anyone outside of Acer has seen it and our computing expert got to spend some time using it.

When we have the final product we fully test it and only then do we give it a score, but the URL remains the same. This is standard practice across technology review sites and helps stop search engines getting confused when the preview and review are on separate URLs.

It also helps people plan when thinking about purchasing a product, if this sounds like it fits the bill then they might wait for it to be released as opposed to settling on something that doesn't fit the bill.

I hope this explains the reasoning behind it and, once again, apologies for lack of labeling, we'll fix that now.

Ian Owen

April 22, 2016, 1:49 pm

Thanks for replying Evan. I agree with your reasoning for including this sort of content. As you say, it was just a labelling error.


April 22, 2016, 2:00 pm

It's not quite Michael's first day but he's only been with us a few weeks so he's not totally up to speed with how we do things.


Zaryl Masters

May 22, 2016, 4:52 pm

Look forward for your full review on S13. I'm particularly interested in actual battery life, heat management & fan sound.

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