Acer Aspire S7-392
If you’re not going to get a Macbook Air because you want a sleek laptop that only runs Windows, we like the Acer Aspire S7-392. It has a super-long battery life, fast guts, a thin and sturdy chassis, and costs $1,400.
Everyone likes it. It received Editor’s Choice awards from Laptop Mag and PC Mag; Engadget’s Dana Wollman went so far as to say that she'd get one over a MacBook Air; and The Verge's David Pierce gave it one of the best scores The Verge has given a Windows laptop. CNET and Ars Technica were less enthusiastic in their praise, citing the keyboard and trackpad as being imperfect, but still gave it good marks.
The S7 was one of the first ultrabooks to get the latest Haswell chips, which give it great battery life without compromising speed, and is still the best. It gets praise for its half-inch-thin, 3-pound, aluminum chassis and 1080p resolution Gorilla Glass touchscreen. Most importantly, its 9-hour battery life is longer than any other Windows ultrabook according to Laptop Mag’s tests. That’s still less than the 13-inch MacBook Air’s 12.5-hour battery, but it’s more than enough to get you through a full work day.
The Acer’s main Windows competitor right now is the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus, which has a retina-level 3200x1800 display. It got similarly positive reviews from all the same publications. But ultimately, we like the Acer more because at the same $1,400 price point, you get double the RAM (8GB vs. 4GB in the Samsung) and the Samsung’s keyboard is too shallow and inconsistent. We'd put up with the keyboard if the RAM weren't an issue, but for now, the S7 is the better buy.
To read more about the best Windows ultrabook, check The Wirecutter's guide.
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The Wirecutter is a leaderboard of personal tech and gear, where each pick is systematically chosen after a dozen hours of research, expert interviews and tests.
First published November 20 2013, 1:11 PM