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Acer Aspire S 13 review: Wonderfully lightweight

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £600
inc VAT

Super-light and with great battery life, the Acer Aspire S 13 is almost the complete package


  • Tactile keyboard
  • Super lightweight
  • long-lasting battery life


  • Middling performance
  • Mediocre screen
  • Cheap design

It seems like every laptop manufacturer is going for thin-and-light gold in 2016, and now Acer is staking its claim. With its slender, lightweight chassis and bargain price, it looks like the Acer Aspire S 13 might just be the complete ultraportable package.

Admittedly, it’s not the thinnest laptop out there right now – HP’s Spectre 13 retains its crown there – but Acer’s kept the weight down (not to mention the price) by keeping the metalwork to a minimum. However, the predominantly plastic housing doesn’t look as cheap as you might expect. The silver hinge adds a dash of class and contrasts nicely against the S 13’s all-black finish. If you don’t like black, you can also opt for a white version.

Build quality is a little suspect, however: both the screen and keyboard flex considerably when put under even the slightest amount of pressure. It’s perhaps unreasonable to expect too much given the plastic construction, but this is a laptop that you’ll need to cosset in a laptop bag if it’s to last the course.


The Full HD, 13.3in display is a touch uninspiring, too. Despite a good 809:1 contrast ratio and a reasonable maximum brightness of 338cd/m2, the panel obviously struggles to reproduce the most intense, saturated parts of the colour spectrum. Another minor moan is that the matte anti-glare finish struggles to remain legible under bright sunlight.Acer Aspire S 13 keyboard

Keyboard and touchpad

Acer’s familiar Scrabble-tile keyboard makes another appearance here, and it’s still one of the better ones out there. There’s plenty of travel to each press of the keys, and quiet but reassuring clicks to every keystroke.

The smooth touchpad is generously sized and is just as enjoyable to use, performing Windows 10’s many multi-touch gestures without any noticeable hiccups.

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Core specs
ProcessorDual-core 2.3GHz Intel Core i3-6100U
Memory slots (free)1 (0)
Max memory8GB
SoundRealtek HD Audio (3.5mm headset port)
Pointing deviceTouchpad
Screen size13.3in
Screen resolution1,920 x 1,080
Graphics adaptorIntel HD Graphics 520
Graphics outputs1x HDMI
Graphics memory1GB
Total storage128GB
Optical drive typeN/A
Ports and expansion
USB ports2x USB3, 1x USB3.1 Type-C
NetworkingWireless 802.11ac
Memory card readerSD
Other portsN/A
Operating systemWindows 10 Home
Operating system restore optionRestore partition