Acer Aspire S3-392G Review – Ultra-portable laptops have their advantages – They’re thin, lightweight and usually have a long battery life. However, these benefits often come at the cost of processor and graphics performance, as well as storage. But Acer claims you can have it all in the shape of the Aspire S3-392G which has the sort of specifications you’d usually associate with much larger PCs.
Acer Aspire S3-392G, An ultra-portable laptop with power to spare
The S3’s metal construction looks plain. but is impressively sturdy and rigid. Acer has gone for a touch of style with the glossy white lid, but unfortunately it tends to get dirty and scuffed very easily. It’s lightweight at 1.6kg, rising to 1.9kg once you included the charger, but this is still light enough to carry around.
Unlike most other ultra-portables at this price, Acer has fitted a 500GB hard drive instead of the usual SSD, Although it’s not nearly as fast as an SSD, it does provide lots of storage while keeping the price down – SSDs of equivalent size tend to be expensive. However, we suspect the us of a hard drive instead of a more power-efficient SSD is compromising the S3’s battery life. It lasted eight hours 39 minutes in our tests which is respectable, but some SSD-equipped ultra portables with otherwise similiar specifications can last up to 14 hours.
What the S3 lacks in battery life, though, it makes up for in performance. It has a dedicated graphics chipset, the Nvidia GeForce 735M, which is poweful enough to play most latest 3D games with smooth, detailed graphics. The laptop automatically switches to a less power-hungry intel Integrated Graphics Chip when running on the battery.
Acer Aspire S3-392G can cope with most demanding programs thanks to its intel i5 core 4200U dual-core processor. It’s paired with 4GB of memory which is very enough for now. but will prove limiting in future as new programs will need increasing amounts of memory. As the S3 isn’t designed to lets user upgrade it, the option to have more memory installed when buying it would be welcome.
While the S3 doesn’t have an ethernet port, It does have two USB ports and one USB2 port. You can use an USB to ethernet adapter if you want. Unusualy the S3 has both HDMI and mini displayport connectors so you can attach two extra monitors. Oddly, Acer insists on calling the Mini DisplayPort the “Acer Converter Port”.
The S3’s 13 inch screen has a high resolution of 1920×1080 pixels, which lets you work on two documents side-by-side, though text can be too small to read unless you adjust the display settings. While it was reasonably bright, we’ve seen brighter screens in other laptops, and colour accuracy is merely okay. The touch screen is sensitive, but like most laptop touchscreen – it’s not comfortable to use for long periods.
The keyboard has a couple of odd layout quirks – the Cap Lock key is tiny while the Delete key is located to the left of the cursor keys. Bizarrely, the row of F-keys has been combined with the row of number keys. To use them as F-keys, you have to hold the Fn key at the same time. This will annoy touch typist who frequently use keyboard shortcuts such as alt+f4 to quit a program. The keys are large with plenty of travel, but do not give quite enough feedback. It took us a little while to get used to them, but we did eventually manage to type quickly and accurately without too many typos. The touchpad is large and accurate, but we found it was to easy to inadvertantly brush againts it and activate gestures that replicate those used on the touchscreen, such as swiping in from the right to see charms bar.
The Acer Aspire S3-392G is a well-made and well-equipped ultra-portable laptop, but all the power comes at the cost of battery life is of utmost importance, then we would suggest you to look elsewhere.
Acer Aspire S3-392G Specifications
- Processor 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5 4200U dual-core processor
- 4GB memory
- 500GB hard drive
- 1 GB Nvidia GeForce GT 735M dedicated graphics
- Intel HD 4400 integrated graphics
- 13.3 in 1920×1080 pixel screen
- Windows 8.1 Operating System
- 1.6Kg Weight (1.9kg with charger)
- Dimension 18x324x225 mm (HxWxD)
- Price $1243