Software and User Experience
Out of the box, the R 13 is very clean with only a few extra programs preinstalled such as Adobe Reader, Dolby Digital Plus Home Theater, Microsoft Office (trial), and the Acer Care Center. The Care Center gives you access to system info, computer tune-up, and other utilities. Additional pre-installed software is useful if you choose to purchase the Acer Active Stylus, which is sold separately for about $50.
This Active Stylus has a pressure sensor which is useful for drawing as well as a hover sensor that detects the stylus even before it touches the screen. The R 13 also has palm rejection to eliminate marks from your hand when writing on the screen. You’ll find two buttons on the side of the Active Stylus that act as left and right mouse buttons.
The Active Stylus works hand in hand with Acer Hover Access software which features several applications including note-taking, painting, and editing. If you hover the pen over the display and double click the pen’s side button, you’ll have the option to launch Microsoft OneNote, Windows Journal, Microsoft Sticky Note, and Microsoft Fresh Paint.
Acer included Dolby Digital Plus Home Theatre software to enhance the audio experience on the R 13. Dolby Digital Plus Home Theatre provides various adjustments to the audio, though the overall change in sound quality using the various modes was minimal. In our experience, the speakers sounded average for a portable laptop. Lows were average for speakers of this type. The maximum output volume was adequate. We didn’t notice much distortion at maximum volume.
To get a feel for multimedia performance on the R 13, we fired up a few HD movie trailers on YouTube to see how well this ultrabook could handle the workload and see how the 2.40 GHz Dual-core Intel Core i7-5500U would behave. Here’s how things looked when playing a 1080p Guardians of The Galaxy clip:
As you can see from the Task Manager chart, the Core i7-5500U doesn’t reach its top clock speed. CPU utilization hovered around 4-6%, though there were spikes up to 10% during our playback tests. We didn’t experience any dropped frames or stuttering during playback.
The R 13’s charger is similar in size to other laptop chargers, measuring about 3.75 x 1.5 inches and about an inch thick.