Battery Life

Acer's Aspire S5 just doesn't have enough space inside for Acer to load up on battery capacity the way HP did with their Folio 13. Acer only rates it for 6.5 hours of running time. That being said, it performed remarkably well given its battery capacity:

Battery Life - Idle

Battery Life - Internet

Battery Life - H.264 Playback

Battery Life Normalized - Idle

Battery Life Normalized - Internet

Battery Life Normalized - H.264

As it turns out, Acer's battery life estimate is mostly on the money and in fact can even be beaten in the right circumstances. Despite having a relatively small capacity, the Aspire S5 is still able to run for more than six useful hours. It's worth noting that overall, Ivy Bridge does seem to be able to produce better battery life efficiency as a whole than Sandy Bridge, and that's the kind of progress we can all appreciate.

Noise and Heat

Like most ultrabooks, the Acer Aspire S5 can get a bit noisy at load. What's important to note, though, is that at idle and low load, the fan is basically silent. The pitch of the fan noise is also relatively low; there's definitely the sound of air moving, but the noise is relatively tolerable compared to how high pitched these small fans can often get.

These thermals might look a little toasty, but they're actually among the best I've yet seen in an ultrabook. Acer has successfully implemented a remarkably efficient cooling system, and best of all, they've been able to do so without introducing any ventilation to the bottom of the notebook. Well done.

Screen Quality

Unfortunately, while the Aspire S5 is so far a pretty solid proposition from Acer, it falls flat on its face when it comes to display quality. The glossy finish on the S5 isn't as aggressive as I'm used to seeing, but that's about the nicest thing I can say about it. It's extremely disappointing that Acer isn't willing to bring the display up to par with the rest of the notebook.

LCD Analysis - Contrast

LCD Analysis - White

LCD Analysis - Black

LCD Analysis - Delta E

LCD Analysis - Color Gamut

Display quality on most of these ultrabooks is just absolutely dire. If you look at the results of the ASUS Zenbook Prime UX21A, you can get a good idea of where the future lies, and it's not with shoddy panels like this one. Charging $1,399 for an ultrabook with this low quality of a panel is embarassing.

System Performance Conclusion: Almost There
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  • StevoLincolnite - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    If only I could have a dollar for every potentially decent notebook that had a crap display. Reply
  • SteveTheWalrus - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    I just don't understand how they can justify the $1,400 dollar price tag with this display. and not just resolution, but color and contrast are probably just as dismal.

    The inclusion of a TB port isn't even a factor for the vast majority of people, and i have a feeling most Ultrabooks out later this year ( like around when windows 8 launches) with have one anyways( and some of those will have better screen, with the added possibility of having touch screens)
    Reply
  • Malih - Thursday, July 12, 2012 - link

    funny how these manufacturers send their laptops to AnandTech, but doesn't seem to read/understand a single word from the conclusions and/or comments

    ...or probably in 2010 somebody thinks this is the display of the future and decided to produce 7 years worth of 768p displays.
    Reply
  • wetwareinterface - Sunday, July 15, 2012 - link

    they can justify it because most people don't honestly care or understand about screen resolution vs. size of the panel. I sell laptops for a living at a fairly large retailer and only one cutomer out of untold thousands has ever asked me for a quality display as a must have. they do it because they can and as a whole the industry is also not offering high res panels. there's the ips 1080p in the ~$1000 sony (which has crap specs otherwise) and the new asus prime...

    why should acer (a manufacturer who's whole laptop business is built around cutting every corner they can to squeeze profit from a piece of crap machine) put a high res panel in a laptop? further why is the reviewer even going on about acer not doing so? they never put good anything in a product except for the few items they produce simply as showcase pieces for trade shows, which end up nearly impossible to get in retail due to limited supply...
    Reply
  • bennyg - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - link

    a) your average person who shops at a retailer (!! people still do that?) wouldn't read tech sites like anandtech
    b) fair enough that Acer costcut but this isn't a bargain basement model, its more $$ than the prime.
    c) why would Acer even bother sending a review unit to a site full of people who bag out every crap 768p TN panel ever reviewed.

    Chewbacca.
    Reply
  • processinfo - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    Exacly. I stopped reading at "13.3" LED Glossy 16:9 768p". Sad. Reply
  • magreen - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    Stopped reading at 768p.

    Also a big "huh?" over the 4GB memory maximum.
    Reply
  • Voldenuit - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    Truth. And that's a 1280x768 *TN screen*.

    In a $1,400 laptop.

    What.
    The.
    Fudge.

    AT needs to call out manufacturers for fobbing junk on users.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    If you stop reading the article, then you miss the part where we call out manufacturers for fobbing junk on users. Reply
  • Voldenuit - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    A conclusion heading of 'Almost There' counts as calling out Acer?

    'Overpriced crap' or 'Not even close' might have been a more appropriate epithet.

    The conclusion page also seems to have difficulty deciding where it lands. On the one hand, you state that it is the most impressed you have been with an Acer product (admittedly not a company held to, or expected of high standards). Yet despite the numerous bad marks against it (lousy display, high price, poor build quality, soldered components), you refrain from calling it the overpriced piece of junk that it is.
    Reply

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