Acer S13: Affordable ultrabook

Ultrabooks have gone through a gamut of changes in recent years. First, they were light and thin; then, they became the hybrids we see today. The only hesitation buyers have had about these sleek machines are the price points, HP's Spectrum 13, perhaps the most swanky laptop around now, Dell XPS 13 and Apple's MacBook Air comprise the creme de la creme of this society. Acer's S13 is a cousin of the more expensive models, but with its relatively lower price, it is a temptation difficult to resist. It is slim and light, but well built - and raring to give the incumbents a run for their money.

If being thin is in, Acer aces it. S13 is almost anorexic, and light, as business laptops are supposed to be. The sleek black finish makes it smart; and yes, it thankfully does not look like a Mac clone. But, what's with the cheap plastic hinges? That's the compromise, I guess, to make this machine available at this price. As a result, the screen hobbles at times - but this would be a problem only if you are using it while on the move. The model I had was black - the white one looks even better. However, I found even the machine I was using collecting layers of dust overnight. This was probably because of the plastic than the metal.

The screen of my machine was non-touch 1,080p display, which was quite good. I watched Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris and Magic in the Moonlight on it, and the period colours of both films came to light vividly. Working outside in bright sunlight was no problem either. The audio, too, was pretty strong, letting me know about every email or Facebook message above the whistle of the pressure cooker in the kitchen. The keyboard was well spaced out and allowed for fast typing. Backlighting allowed for working in dimly-lit places. The "precision" touchpad, however, was a disappointment. It wasn't as precise as it promised to be, at times unable to accurately read the instructions of my fingertips.

With Core i5-6200U processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD, Acer S13 is an efficient machine. At one point, I had 15 tabs open and was also watching YouTube video, without any perceivable lag. The battery life is good, too. With regular use, the battery lasted the whole day and some more. At its price point (starting Rs 60,000), this is a good laptop to buy.


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