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Acer Aspire S5, Cloud hands-on: Apple may have a challenger

updated 06:10 pm EST, Sun January 8, 2012

Acer Aspire S5 gets our early test

We've had the opportunity to try Acer's Aspire S5, and we've come back pleasantly surprised so far. The magnesium and metal chassis, which is matte, feels good to the touch, is thin and light, and isn't cutting corners like some others. More importantly, the keyboard and trackpad are genuinely nice to use; it doesn't have the full suite of multi-touch gestures, but it's generally responsive, supports two-finger scrolling, and isn't too hard to properly right-click with the invisible buttons.

The MagicFlip key's triggering of port access is unique, because it doesn't just flip open a lid; it expands the back of the notebook itself, from what we could see. This has the slight upshot of putting the notebook itself at a slightly more comfortable angle.

As you'd expect, the system is responive, although we're going to go back to get processor details and see what it's currently running. The LCD isn't stereotypical Acer; it's harder to see under the lighting conditions, but it had wide viewing angles that suggested it was an IPS display and not a cheaper TN screen.

As part of the test, we also got to see both Cloud.Fi and the Always Connect feature that didn't work properly during the stage event. Cloud.Fi is a straightforward media sharing service, and it could push content fairly easily. Always Connect is meant primarily for social and e-mail services, which themselves aren't exciting, but it did wake the system up quickly and promises to be a good way to fetch information faster. We're wondering how many won't just leave their PCs on, though.

On the whole, the biggest disappointment is just that the Aspire S5 won't ship until spring, when the Ivy Bridge-based chip it needs is available. That's necessary for the faster performance, but it also gives the MacBook Air a few months more to build up a user base. Still, if you're not averse to the Windows ecosystem, this may be on the short list of ultrabooks to consider instead of an Air.

by MacNN Staff



  1. msuper69

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Doesn't run OS X so no thanks.


  1. jpellino

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Now maybe

    You can review a camera that can take a usable picture of it...

  1. chas_m



    Wow, that only took

    What, 2.5 years for someone to FINALLY come up with a REAL competitor to the Air? Impressive.

    I'm with msuper69 generally, but I also believe that Competition Is Good (for Apple and everyone) so I'm quite pleased to see a genuine contender at least. Of course it's quite likely that Apple will have a newer model Air out by then but still, good to see someone REALLY trying to give em a run for their money.

  1. dankothehun

    Joined: Dec 1969


    A Challenger...don't make me laugh.

    Headlines like these remind me of all the iPod-killers that were released in the last 10 years.

    1) People don't buy Apple computers just for the hardware, I would offer that the OS is the primary selling point. And unless you're Apple, you can't offer OS X.

    2) Where's the light-up keyboard?

    3) Apple has 90% market share for computers or $1000. Why would I buy a $1000+ Acer when I could buy a $300 Acer? Apples MacBook Airs START at $999.

  1. nat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I got an acer

    a 12.1 inch netbook for a downstairs living room web browser. Got it on sale for $250. Does the job. Well, does the job after I removed Windows (slow, very slow) and put Mint Linux on it.

    Since I have a Macbook Pro don't need an Air but if I was going to buy an "ultrabook" it would be the original.

  1. FreeRange

    Joined: Dec 1969


    damning praise...

    - "it doesn't have the full suite of multi-touch gestures"
    - "it's generally responsive" (what about the other times?)
    - "and isn't too hard to properly right-click" - hard but not too hard?
    - "The LCD... it's harder to see under the lighting conditions"
    - "and the Always Connect feature that didn't work properly during the stage event"

    Well at least we got to see those wonderful photos to help us make a decision! Lets all run out and get one! It's sure to be an "almost, not too hard, hard to see, generally responsive winner"!

  1. legacyb4

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sounds like

    it "almost" works...

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