Acer’s Aspire S7 line of ultrabooks are some of the thinnest and lightest notebooks around, measuring about half an inch thick and weighing less than 3 pounds. They also have a few unusual touches including a glass lid and a display that you can fold back nearly 180 degrees.
Last year Acer introduced a few Aspire S7 ultrabooks priced at $1200 and up, and I was pretty impressed with everything about the review unit the company sent me except for the high price, short battery life, and noisy fan.
Now Acer is updating the S7 lineup with new models featuring Intel Haswell processors. That should help these laptops get better battery life, although it doesn’t do much to help the price — the new ultrabooks list for $1400 and up, although you can find a few bargains if you shop around.
The good news is that if you don’t need the more powerful graphics and the longer battery life that comes with the move from an Intel Ivy Bridge to an Intel Haswell processor, there are some great bargains to be had on last year’s models.
Acer is selling refurbished Aspire S7 laptops with Ivy Bridge chips through its eBay store for as little as $680.
But you do get a bit more laptop for your buck if you opt for this year’s model. Acer says the new laptops offer up to 8 hours of battery life, for instance. Last year’s estimate was about 6 hours (although I only managed to get about 4 hours from my demo unit — hopefully the new model is good for at least 5-6 hours).
Update: Engadget reviewed the laptop, and says it gets about 7.5 hours of battery life. That’s pretty respectable for an ultrabook that’s as thin and light as the new Aspire S7. They also report that the fan noise has been substantially reduced.
The new models also come with 8GB of RAM. That’s double the memory of their predecessors, and a few other minor tweaks.
It looks like Acer is no longer offering an 11.6 inch model. Instead, there are two new 13.3 inch Aspire S7 laptops. The cheaper model features an Intel Core i5-4200U processor and a 128GB solid state drive. The more expensive has an Intel Core i7-4500U and 256GB of storage.
Both feature Intel HD 4400 graphics, 13.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel IPS touchscreen displays, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, mini HDMI ports, 2 USB 3.0 ports, an SD card reader, a headset jack and stereo speakers.
The laptops have backlit keyboards, HD webcams, and ship with Windows 8. They measure 12.7″ x 8.8″ x 0.5″ and weigh 2.9 pounds.