Liv­ing up to as­pi­ra­tions

> Acer’s As­pire S 13 ul­tra­book comes with a solid com­bi­na­tion of per­for­mance, porta­bil­ity and af­ford­abil­ity

The Sun (Malaysia) - - TECH TODAY - JEREMY CHEONG

BACK in 2008, a cer­tain fruit­branded com­puter man­u­fac­turer in­tro­duced a note­book that was ex­tremely portable and did not com­pro­mise on per­for­mance. Nat­u­rally, other man­u­fac­tur­ers fol­lowed suit and of­fered up their very own ver­sions of what we now know as the ul­tra­book.

Ultrabooks are great es­pe­cially for in­di­vid­u­als who are al­ways on-the-move, as th­ese de­vices don’t weigh a ton.

How­ever, ultrabooks can eas­ily burn a hole in one’s bank ac­count, but that’s not the case with Acer’s lat­est As­pire S 13 ( right). It re­tains what makes ultrabooks great with­out the hefty pric­etag.

Like most ultrabooks, the As­pire S 13 comes with a 13.3in dis­play and is in­cred­i­bly thin and light, as it is about 15mm thick when closed and weighs a mere 1.3kg.

Swap­ping out my stan­dard work note­book, which weighs about 2kg, with the As­pire S 13 left me feel­ing more mo­bile and suf­fer­ing less strain on my shoul­ders. So that’s def­i­nitely a plus.

In terms of aes­thet­ics, this ul­tra­book looks re­ally good. While it may not be en­tirely clad in alu­minium or glass, the com­bi­na­tion of ma­te­ri­als used by Acer syncs up quite nicely.

The matte black poly­car­bon­ate cover has a nice pin­stripe de­sign to it, while the key­board is sur­rounded by alu­minium that has a brushed metal tex­ture.

The bot­tom has a soft rub­ber coat­ing which makes it less sus­cep­ti­ble to slip­ping.

How­ever, un­like other ultrabooks that are now made of stur­dier ma­te­ri­als, the As­pire S 13 feels quite frag­ile, es­pe­cially when it comes to the cover. It flexes quite eas­ily and even creaks when pres­sure is placed upon it.

One of the things I re­ally like about the As­pire S 13 is its 13.3in dis­play. While the re­view unit we re­ceived doesn’t sup­port touch func­tion­al­i­ties, the matte dis­play makes watch­ing videos or work­ing on doc­u­ments very com­fort­able, as it doesn’t re­flect light or glare.

The bright dis­play also pro­duces colours that are quite ac­cu­rate.

An­other good thing about this ul­tra­book is its key­board. The spac­ing be­tween keys is just nice, and while the travel dis­tance isn’t that deep, they are still soft and re­spon­sive.

How­ever, I can’t say the same thing about the touch­pad, as it felt very finicky, and I would end up ac­ci­den­tally mov­ing win­dows or tabs.

Get­ting down to what re­ally mat­ters – per­for­mance – the re­view unit is ac­tu­ally con­sid­ered the “low­est-end” of­fer­ing avail­able.

Still, the de­vice boots up in a flash and my day-to-day ex­pe­ri­ence with it can be summed up in two words, snappy and smooth.

Multi-task­ing was a breeze and jump­ing around from one pro­gram to an­other didn’t even cause it to stut­ter.

See­ing as it only has an In­tel HD Graph­ics 520 GPU, don’t ex­pect this de­vice to play the lat­est games like Fall­out 4 or The Witcher 3.

How­ever, you should still be able to en­joy older, less graphic in­ten­sive games like Di­ablo 3, Star­craft 2 and Dota 2.

When it comes to bat­tery life, the As­pire S 13’s 4030mAh bat­tery per­forms just okay. I used it mainly for writ­ing ar­ti­cles while on-the-go, and for lis­ten­ing to mu­sic on Spo­tify and also brows­ing the web.

With th­ese tasks alone, the bat­tery is able to last up to six hours, but if I throw in some video stream­ing, the num­ber Acer As­pire S 13 (S5-371-52UK)

CPU: 6th Gen­er­a­tion In­tel Core i5-6200U RAM: 4GB DDR3L RAM Stor­age: 128GB Solid State Drive Graph­ics: In­tel HD Graph­ics 520 OS: Win­dows 10 64-bit Dis­play: 13.3in IPS Full HD LCD dis­play Ports/Slots: 2xUSB 3.0, 1xUSB 3.1, 1xHDMI, SD Card Reader, 1xHead­phone/Mic Cam­era: Acer 1280x720 HD we­b­cam Bat­tery: 4,030mAh Li-Poly­mer Bat­tery Di­men­sions: 327x228x14.58mm (WxDxH), 1.3kg RRP: RM2,799

dwindles down to a lit­tle over four hours.

To sum it all up, the Acer As­pire S 13 is re­ally quite a worth­while in­vest­ment de­spite a few lit­tle nig­gles here and there.

But for its price (RM2,799) and the per­for­mance it brings to the table, it re­ally is quite a good deal if you’ve been look­ing for an ul­tra­book.

For those who want some­thing with a lit­tle more RAM and stor­age, the As­pire S 13 also has a vari­ant that comes with the same pro­ces­sor but has 8GB of RAM and a 256GB Solid State Drive in­stead. It is priced at RM3,799.

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