Our Summary and Conclusion
We were quite impressed with Acer's Aspire S7-393—its hardware, that is. This lightweight laptop packs some great performance under its super-thin hood, and we were generally pleased with how it performed in most of our benchmarks. General usability and design aesthetics were also top shelf, with a machine that felt and looked as good as it responds to workload.
The two major elements we didn't care for are split into two different categories: one that can be changed, and one that cannot. We really wish that Acer would just back down on all the extra software that it slaps onto its laptops. We don't mind a few Acer-branded apps for firmware and system updates and what-have-you, but the sheer amount of software and advertising is a bit too much for our tastes. The last thing you should have to do when you buy a new laptop is spend an hour pulling all the bloat off it.
Secondly, the Aspire S7's keyboard is serviceable but not quite up to par with the rest of its premium build. While crazy keyboard configurations are sometimes just something users have to come up the learning curve with in the ultraportable world, we really wish that Acer had included a row of separate function keys. As it stands, trying to access the laptops various modes, the function buttons, and its numbers is a bit of a finger-tangling mess.If you don't mind either issue, however, the Aspire S7-393 is going to give you a great, speedy, thin and light experience for most of your day-to-day activities, along with very stylish good looks. At it's price point of $1299 (as tested) with 8GB of RAM a 256GB SSD and an Intel Core i7 550U CPU, is competitively priced, when you consider machines like Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon weighs in about the same but doesn't offer a RAID SSD setup that puts out nearly a GB/sec of throughput. As far as premium ultrabooks go, the Acer Aspire S7 should be on your short list for back to school but keep an ear to the ground for deals.