Acer Aspire S5 Ultrabook Review

Written by Eric Tipan. Posted in Reviews, Ultrabook

Tagged: , , , ,

Published on October 16, 2012 with No Comments

Ivy Bridge puts you in the “Ivy Leagues”

Have you aged a dog year waiting for your notebook to boot up or do apps take longer than traffic on EDSA to load?

You don’t have to work like this.

Mid 2012, Intel released the much talked about successor to the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture, Ivy Bridge, which made that ginormous leap from the 32 nm (nanometer) CMOS process step to 22nm. It may not seem like a lot but these minute little changes in semiconductor technology is what brings us closer to, as the movie “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” calls it, “judgement day.”

No seriously, these “chiefs of the chips” never fail to take us to the next level of computing performance.  Without their perseverance and resourcefulness, we’d still be writing on wooden tablets and chipping away with stone tools.

The 22nm process allows the processor to provide 20% better performance while using 20% less power.  Tri-gate technology, a world-first in processors, runs the transistor at low voltages because this design permits it to have depth instead of just being flat. Graphics and media are handled at a much improved rate while the memory is better utilized. The L3 cache provides much better results compared to Sandy Bridge because of the new microarchitecture of Ivy Bridge. There are plenty more new features but unless you speak geek, let’s keep it short, sweet and plain English.

General Observations

Had the opportunity to experience the blazingly fast Intel Core i7-3517U on the rail-thin and ultra-light Acer S5 and I’m telling you that Sebastien Vettel would have to go all-Tron to catch up with this bad boy.  It’s a 13-incher with 4gb of RAM and 246gigs of SSD space. There is a lot of plastic on the S5, which keeps the weight down but also takes a lot away from the classiness of something that’s premium priced (just a little under P100,000).  The weight or the lack of it is very conducive to uninterrupted productivity. Being so light, it isn’t too cumbersome on your lap if you’re working mobile or in any outside-the-office situation.

People with laptops know this all too much. If you had a choice between a tablet or another ultrabook that isn’t the Acer S5, if the tablet can get the job done, that’s what you’ll get. Well, say goodbye to these daily dilemmas forever with the Acer S5.

Despite the less-than-sophisticated look of the Acer S5, it has one neat trick up its sleeve, or should I say down on the backside. It’s called the MagicFlip. Flick a switch and a panel lowers itself to reveals an HDMI port, 2 USB 3.0 ports and a Thunderbolt port. On the other side is an exhaust vents to cool down the unit when it is heating up. Neat!

The Acer S5 is one spectacular package that’s put together around the i7 that will not disappoint any discerning user.

Let’s be honest. The processor is the heart and soul of any computing device and if it is not up-to-spec, your computing device, pardon my French, ain’t worth s*&$.

Even with a bunch of memory-draining and process-consuming Startup items from Acer’s suite of apps, annoying Microsoft notifications and never-ending updates, audio and video enhancement apps, to the dreaded bulky Norton and the buggy McAfee Security Center; it took all of 20 seconds for it to boot up my test unit. But, of course, part of it is the SSD that allows for lightning-speed access to boot-up and startup files.

Still, it is nothing short of IMPRESSIVE.

My personal unit is of the Ivy Bridge family as well but an i3-3217U. It behaves exactly as I would expect it to and yet the i7 blows that out of the water.  The reason I point it out is because the difference is not even close.  To put it into perspective, it is like Usain Bolt versus a cheetah.  Guess who’d win that battle? The i3 is pretty good already but you haven’t experience computing speed until you’ve laid your hands on something run by an i7.

It is so fast that it makes the perennially slow and bloated Internet Explorer look good. Now that is the ultimate test of a good processor. If you can make apps that people avoid look usable, then you know you have something good on your hands.

Pros – Ultra lightweight and with an extremely snappy processor

Cons – Plastic case feels a little cheap for the tag price.

Rating – 9/10