If you have been shopping around for the very best looking Ultrabooks this year you will have almost certainly come across a number of great looking machines. The Asus Zenbook as a key example features a gorgeous wedge shaped design made up from lustrous aluminium whilst the Lenovo Carbon X1 makes use of black carbon fibre to provide a professional yet super tough aesthetic. Acer machines do however deserve a lot of praise too yet they have not had the wild publicity of those two mentioned Ultrabooks above.
The Acer S5 is perhaps Acers best looking Ultrabook and the model we are looking at today, the Acer Aspire S5-391 13.3″ Ultrabook, is one of the most desirable models of its range. Let’s take a look at what’s under the hood of this machine and the design of the Ultrabook itself, which is one of its main selling points.
ACER Aspire S5-391 13.3″ Ultrabook
The Acer Aspire S5 13.3” Ultrabook is a fantastic looking machine. In Onyx Black, the machine exudes quality and is sure to appeal to both at home users and professionals alike. The S5 is built from a magnesium and aluminium alloy which provides strength, rigidity and a touch of class to a product which needs it in a world full of extremely well put together machines of which the S5 competes against.
The magnesium alloy casing of the machine is a wonder to behold; brushed in texture it lets off coolness about it which the Asus Zenbook can only dream of. Whilst some may call the design uninspiring, with thanks to the whole thing being black, I reckon’ this is what makes the machine such a fantastic looking bit of kit. It’s a sleeper in every sense of the word and should appeal to practically anybody who does not want to be instantly noticed for what they pack in their bag whilst at a coffee shop. If you do, get a Macbook.
The machine weighs just 2.65lbs or 1.2kg depending on your weight preference, which is very light for an Ultrabook which is so well put together with top finish materials. A similarly spec’d Macbook Air for example weighs in at 2.96lbs or 1.35kg. The Acer, quite simply, is the lighter machine. It’s thinner than a Macbook Air too; at 15mm in depth at its thinnest point, it is 2mm thinner than Apple’s ultra-portable offering. Well done Acer.
Under the hood things are just as good
The model of Acer S5 we are looking at today is the S5-391version which ships with a third generation Intel Core i5 processor (1.70GHz, Turbo Boost up to 2.60GHz, 3MB L3 cache) coupled with 4GB of RAM. Intel HD 4000 graphics provide the processing power to get through basic gaming and software, an avid improvement from series 3000 graphics as seen in Sandy Bridge units.
Storage wise this machine comes with a welcome 128GB SSD which provides super fast boot up times and the sort of shelf life a HDD can only dream of. The speakers on the machine are good too featuring Dolby Home Theater V4 Audio enhancement and high definition audio support, with the speakers providing just enough oomph to fill a small room.
Connectivity wise you get 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 Thunderbolt port (yes, Thunderbolt!), 1 HDMI port and a 2-in-1 card reader for SD / MMC. Overall the ports that ship with the Aspire S5-391 are fairly comprehensive, and the inclusion of a Thunderbolt port is more than welcome in a world where USB 3.0 seems to be grabbing all the headlines currently. Read; Ultrabooks with Thunderbolt, a Lack of Options for more on that.
And the only nail in the coffin is…
The display unfortunately. As a premium machine the Acer Aspire S5 sits on the top shelf next to the likes of the Lenovo Carbon X1, Asus Zenbook Prime and HP Spectre XT, which either feature a 1600 x 900 display or a full HD one. The ACER Aspire S5-391 13.3″ Ultrabook makes do with a 1366 x 768 display panel which seems to be just pure laziness from Acers designers; with the likes of a Thunderbolt to future proof the machine, the designers must not know that in order for a machine to not look like a bag of old spanners in 3 years time it must feature a display with a higher resolution.
It isn’t an all bad display though, with rich and vibrant colours and not overly bad viewing angles either. It is just sad to see an Ultrabook which is so beautifully designed and thought out and that at the last minute ruined by somebody who decided to cut costs and include a crappy panel compared to the competition. Oh well, there will always be an update, I suppose.
The ACER Aspire S5-391 13.3″ Ultrabook is currently available from UK retailer Currys for £999.97 at the time of writing this post. That’s the best price I could find online, with other retailers stocking the S5 at +£1000.