Acer Aspire S5 - Usability, Screen and Speakers



The typing experience offered by the Acer Aspire S5 is good overall, though there are a few downsides. On the bright side, the chiclet keys are well-spaced and offer more travel than your average Ultrabook, while layout is good if slightly quirky here and there.

Downsides are that the smooth finish on the keys feels just a tad slippery, there’s an infinitesimal amount of flex when typing firmly, and there’s no backlighting – which we’ve come to expect on premium ultraportables.

The Aspire S5’s multi-touch touchpad is the usual large, button-free affair, and as nice to use as any. We’re glad to see the size has been increased over the Aspire S3’s rather small pad, but otherwise they’re virtually identical, offering a smooth, matt surface and nicely defined click.

Unfortunately, despite its premium price and features, the Acer S5’s screen is your regular glossy 13.3-inch TN panel with a bog-standard 1,366 x 768 resolution – and it’s not the best of its kind either. While its bright colours, perfectly even backlighting and lack of light bleed is to be commended, a lack of subtle dark detailing and typically poor viewing angles let the side down.

Really, this is very disappointing on a top of the range ultraportable. When you can get the Samsung Series 9 900X3B for only £100 more with its glorious 1,600 x 900, matt PLS display, we know which we would choose. Even the similarly-priced 13-inch MacBook Air with its 1,440 x 900 screen offers a higher resolution and far better viewing angles. Acer gives us a good 1,920 x 1,200 screen on one of its Android tablets, but not on its most premium Ultrabook?

Thankfully the Acer Aspire S5’s speakers are singularly impressive, easily matching the best of the other ultra-slim 13-inch laptops. Though they’re slightly down-facing, they still project a lot of body on your lap, and on a desk they add great clarity to the mix. They manage all this at good volumes without distortion too, and even bass is not completely tinny.