Acer Aspire S7-191-6640 review

The Acer Aspire S7-191-6640 has full ultrabook power in a system that can actually be used on an airline tray table. In Coach.
Photo of Acer Aspire S7-191-6640

The Acer Aspire S7-191-6640 ($1,199.99) is a road warrior’s ultrabook. It has high-end features like a 128GB SSD, 1080p ten-point touch screen, and weighs less than 2.25 pounds without accessories. The ultrabook comes highly recommended as a commuter or jet traveler who must have a full Windows 8 PC with her at all times. Only a few stumbles—like limited ports and anemic standard battery life—keep the system from our highest honors.

Design and Features
The S7-191-6640 looks every bit the little brother of the 13.3-inch Acer Aspire S7-391-9886 ($1,649.99), with a slim, compact profile, measuring only 11.25 by 7.75 by 0.48 inches (HWD). The S7-191-6640 has an aluminum lid with a diagonal brushed pattern, Gorilla Glass 2 covering the 11.6-inch touch screen, and a silver-colored keyboard and keyboard deck. The full sized keyboard is backlit, and is comfortable to use despite a very shallow key travel. Like its big brother, the S7-191-6640 eschews the row of function keys, rather incorporating those keys into the number keys on the top of the keyboard. Other keys do double duty as well: Fn-U increases the keyboard backlit brightness, for example.

The S7-191-6640 weighs a scant 2.24 pounds alone, and a still svelte 2.63 pounds with the included extended battery installed. This makes the system just as portable as systems like the Apple MacBook Air 11-inch (Mid 2012) ($999) and HP EliteBook 2170p ($1,099). These are road warrior systems, where you give up a little (processor power, number of I/O ports, etc.) in return for a system that fits easily in your commute bag and can travel with you everywhere.

The S7-191-6640 comes with a 11.6-inch, 1,920-by-1,080-resolution touch screen, which significantly more packed with pixels than the 1,366 by 768 resolution screen usually seen on smaller displays. This means that you can view all the video in a 1080p HD online video, as well as several full pages of data when viewing a spreadsheet or Word document. You’ll find a larger work surface on the S7-191-6640 than on systems like the HP Envy X2 (11-g012nr) ($849), which has an 11.6-inch 1,366 by 768 screen. But 1080p in such a small screen can also mean that text at 100% zoom will be quite small, so you may have to fiddle with the zoom settings a bit if you’re eyesight isn’t 20/20. Also, some games may not look quite right until you find the right combination of settings. That said, we think many users will welcome the HD video capabilities of the S7-191-6640.

The screen uses IPS technology, so it’s visible from many angles. Speaking of angles, the system’s screen hinge has a dual friction setup, so it’s harder to push the screen past 90 degrees. Acer did this to help curb screen bounce when you use the built-in touch screen. The touch screen is responsive, correctly interpreting our taps with a single finger. This is an improvement over the Acer Iconia W700-6465 tablet ($999.99), which had some trouble by registering a tap on the maximize button when we meant to tap the close button on windows in Desktop mode.

Speaking of video, the S7-191-6640 comes with a micro-HDMI port on the back, which requires an adapter, which isn’t included. It’s the same for other formats like VGA or DVI. The S7-191-6640 comes with a Bluetooth mouse for precise pointing. The system only has two USB 3.0 ports, so connecting your smartphone and an external hard drive would fill up the ports.

There are a couple of indents built into the chassis to hook up the included extended battery. The system doesn’t have a traditional removable battery or a docking port, so the extended battery uses the laptop’s charging port to pass power through. This simplistic workaround has a drawback: The extended battery doesn’t show up in Windows, so you’ll have to interpret the five-lights in the LED indicator on the side of the extended battery to figure out how much charge you’ve got. Rotary screws hold the battery in place, making the whole exercise feel like a laptop battery setup from the mid 1990s. It’s effective, but nevertheless feels like a kludge on what is otherwise an elegant looking system.

Thanks to Microsoft Signature setup, the S7-191-6640 comes with no extra software pre-loaded aside from Microsoft products like Office Trial, Skype, and Windows Defender. This is a vast improvement over systems like the HP Envy X2, which has quite a few programs pre-installed. The S7-191-6640 comes with a 128GB SSD, with about 75GB free when you take it out of the box. The system has a one-year warranty.

Performance

The Intel Core i5-3317U and four GB of memory are pretty standard specs for systems in this price range, The Acer Iconia W700-6465, HP EliteBook 2170p, and the Editor’s Choice for high-end ultrabooks, the Asus Zenbook Prime Touch UX31A-BHI5T ($1199), all come with this setup. Therefore, it’s no surprise that these systems all have similar CineBench, Handbrake, and Photoshop CS6 results. The HP lags behind the others in PCMark7, due to its spinning hard drive, but all are closely matched on the 3D tests, since they all have Intel HD Graphics 4000.

The performance stat that really matters is the system’s battery rundown score, and on that note the S7-191-6640 is mixed. The sealed internal battery is only good for a short 3 hours 42 minutes. This is far less than the Asus UX31A-BHI5T (6:38) or the MacBook Air (5:19). However, when you add the extended battery, the S7-191-6640 achieves an excellent 6:58. It’s like Acer had to follow a mandate to make this system one of the thinnest and lightest, then said wait a minute, we can’t ship a laptop that lasts less than four hours. The extended battery feels like an afterthought, one that it easily lost and less sturdy than if they had simply added a couple of millimeters to the system’s thickness.

And there’s the rub: If the Acer Aspire S7-191-6640 had been a few millimeters thicker with a larger capacity battery and the same 2.63 pound weight, it might have given serious competition to the Editors’ Choice Asus Zenbook Prime Touch UX31A-BHI5T. The Asus UX31A-BHI5T has a larger screen and includes a mini-VGA-to-VGA adapter, so it’s better suited to corridor dwellers than road warriors, but otherwise the systems are similar in specs, capabilities, and pricing. The S7-191-6640 is just a touch better for the road warrior, but it’s not enough for a clear-cut victory.

BENCHMARK TEST RESULTS
Check out the test scores for the Acer Aspire S7-191-6640

COMPARISON TABLE
Compare the Acer Aspire S7-191-6640 with several other laptops side by side.

More laptop reviews:

laptop

For Print Production
Port Chart [[Y/N]]:
Benchmark Chart[[Y/N]]:
Scribble Text [[List text or say “none.”]]:
Print Summary [[List text or say “none.”]]:
Specs [[Paste Excel spec sheet into this Document]]

Specifications
Touchscreen Yes
Processor Name Intel Core i5-3317U
Operating System Microsoft Windows 8
Weight 2.24 lb
Graphics Card Intel HD Graphics 4000
Screen Type Widescreen
Type General Purpose, Ultraportable, Small Business, Ultrabook
RAM 4 GB
Networking Options 802.11n
Processor Speed 1.7 GHz
Screen Size 11.6 inches
Storage Capacity (as Tested) 128 GB

Verdict
The Acer Aspire S7-191-6640 is a road warrior's dream machine. It has full ultrabook power in a system that can actually be used on an airline tray table. In Coach.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc