After the HP Pavilion DV6, the first ultrabook market, Acer takes advantage of the arrival of Intel Ivy Bridge processors to renew its range. Just days after Asus and UX31A, so here announced the...
After the HP Pavilion DV6, the first ultrabook market, Acer takes advantage of the arrival of Intel Ivy Bridge processors to renew its range. Just days after Asus and UX31A, so here announced the Aspire S5. An ultrabook that finally did not have much to do with the S3 and hides within it some originality, as a Thunderbolt port and an SSD RAID 0 two!
But before going into the technical details of this new ultrabook, a small tour. The Aspire S5 is, like its predecessor the S3, a model with a 13.3-inch chassis. And while the latter showed 1.32 kg on the scale, the S5 weighs only 1.19 Kg This is all the more remarkable that at the same time, the ultrabook Compaq Presario CQ50 is almost a centimeter deep, its width remains unchanged.
The origin of this weight loss? The use of still further the alloy of magnesium and aluminum that was found already in the S3. And while the screen was protected by aluminum on the first ultrabook from Acer, the manufacturer has chosen to generalize to the entire alloy chassis. There is that the edges of the screen that are beyond the norm, they are covered ... plastic.
If the Compaq Presario CQ61 benefits are obvious side weight, the impression left by the Aspire S5 is obviously far, far away that exudes a MacBook Air, or even Asus Zenbook. Hinges, for example, are too loose and cause severe vibration at the screen when you point it. The quality of finish is not at best models without being sad, it really does not stand a more traditional laptop.
In the collective imagination, the concepts of design and aesthetics are strongly related to the name ultrabook and consumers, let alone journalists that we are expecting a lot of different models in this area. With the Compaq Presario CQ60, one can not say that one is in the presence of a product that has won all the votes of elegance. Especially since the materials are particularly sensitive to fingerprints ... And pass on the transformer, but too big for a laptop of this size.
However, this ultrabook for him remarkable finesse: 15 mm. This is both the thickness of the Compaq Presario CQ70 its narrowest point, but also the maximum extent that is found on the S5. Suffice to say that Acer has made an effort at the thinness of the chassis. How is it achieved this? By using a clever trick: the manufacturer has concealed its ultrabook ports in a trap that unfolds needed. An idea that seems at first sight attractive and well thought minima. But to use this Magic Flip leaves us perplexed. On the one hand because the mechanism that deploys the hatch inspires us absolutely no trust, and no nasty noise it causes brings one question: how long will it take?
On the other hand, it is already difficult to not have USB ports at the rear of a laptop Compaq Presario CQ71, because it often requires contortions often inappropriate in places such as an airplane or a train. So when more must deploy a trap that makes a big noise dying fly (thank you for Aurélien analogy) ...
Finally, why have positioned the Magic Flip button where the vast majority of manufacturers sets the power button?
Especially that once again, we must seek it, the manufacturer deported on the left of the ultrabook. The idea is not absurd, the hatch has the advantage of slightly raise the rear of the notebook VGP-BPS13A/Q, providing a small gain at the strike, which is not negligible. Acer and rather well thought things: the door closes when the ultrabook goes into standby mode and opens to provide more air evacuation in case of heating (with a little message on Windows premium). But the little mechanism used to open this door, too slow, too loud does not seem appropriate.
Conclude with a word on the screen that this team ultrabook. Acer has once again opted for a glossy TN type, which is in fact particularly suited to serve as a mirror if you feel like you a makeover. But the most annoying is probably the quality of the slab: Before calibration, colorimetry is simply awful (average Delta E of 13.2!), And the black point too high (1.36 cd / m²). Calibration adjusts colors (Delta E average 1.1), but the HP Pavilion DV4 screen loses brightness (going from 239 to 185 cd / m²) while the black dot is too faded (1.22 cd / m²). Result is a very low contrast of 152:1 only. Glossy screen and low contrast: the worst yet for a laptop to be used in led light conditions not always obvious.
Finally, note that the definition of this screen remains confined to endless 1366 x 768 pixels, while a UX31A Asus now displayed in Full HD on a frame of the same size. From this point of view, Acer, like others, was frankly a train delay ...
Hardware back to top
Aesthetic, so it's not really that. What is the material point of view. Do not beat about the bush, it's just the opposite! Because if Acer has clearly put some savings on the choice of materials, it has instead put the package on the hardware. Starting with the processor, the same as the recently available VGP-BPS13/Q. Intel Core i7-3517U clocked at 1.9 GHz or 3 GHz in the case where only one of the two physical cores would be biased intensive. A generation Ivy Bridge CPU, engraved in 22 nm therefore, which has a reduced thermal envelope of 17 W. With 4 MB of Smart Cache, it contains within it the HD 4000, which will be in charge of one display on this ultrabook. No surprise at the frequency of the graphics: it oscillates between 350 MHz and 1150 MHz, depending on the use you make of it.
To accompany this component, Sony VGP-BPS9/B provided 4GB of DDR3 RAM running at "only" 1333 MHz. It is a shame Acer did not take advantage of the compatibility of the Chief River platform with modules running at 1600 MHz, as is also his latest Asus ultrabook. However, the manufacturer makes up beautiful way of storage, since it consists of a SSD of 256 GB SSD? Not quite, since it is in fact two LiteOn (CMT-128L3M) 128 GB RAID 0. Make such a choice for a unit to accommodate the system will seem very strange to many of you, especially the one hand, we do not retreat from the LiteOn SSD, and other Intel has not included the management of TRIM for SSDs configured in RAID 0 (even if it is provided in the very next Rapid Storage 11.5).
So an odd choice, but has the advantage of offering the HP Pavilion DV5 ultrabook unprecedented performance. Windows 7 launches in just 15 seconds (or a little faster than Fujitsu U772, which will start in 19 seconds with a Crucial m4), and responsiveness to use is simply outstanding. The game worth the candle? If RST 11.5 arrive quickly and if you regularly backup your files or your system, no doubt.
Connections available on this VGP-BPS13B/Q, let's first memory card reader located on the left side of the device and headset jack found the opposite: they are the two elements more accessible. The rest of the connector is fully prepared to back the famous trap we détaillions above. Once deployed, she discovers two USB 3.0 ports (including connectors are not rights ...), a full-size HDMI port and ... Thunderbolt input! Acer is indeed the first manufacturer to introduce the technology in Intel ultrabook. Technology already at work since last August on the HP Pavilion G60.
The advantage of Thunderbolt? The availability of a high-speed connection capable of symmetric bandwidth of 10 Gb / s. It also runs a power of 10 watts which allows chaining of up to 8 devices. A beautiful promise in absolute terms, but in practice, there has so far only very few devices that use this technology. However, we have bought a HP Pavilion DV7 LaCie Little Big Disk, equipped with two Intel SSD 330 Series. A product which, remember, do not assume compatibility with Windows's own admission the manufacturer.
If the device does not actually install properly when connected, a simple reboot fixes the problem. Generic drivers for Windows 7 work perfectly with the Little Big Disk. However, since this device is governed by a Marvell SATA controller, we installed the appropriate drivers, they bring a significant gain in sequential read. We are thus able to use the product of LaCie carefree on the HP Pavilion G70. We placed two Intel SSD 330 Series 120GB which has the LBD in RAID 0, in order to experience a little more Thunderbolt connectivity.
Alas, according to LaCie, the two SSD's external device are clamped in SATA 3 Gbps (for reasons of compliance with the certification Apple). Given the performance of one of these two sub CrystalDiskMark SSD SATA 3 Gbps, so one could expect to achieve better 533 MB / s read and 310 MB / s write. Our results are still below, and the fault is certainly Marvell controller which interfaces on a single PCI-E 2.0 line, is in itself a bottleneck. This combination of factors significantly limit the performance, well before the Thunderbolt connection on the S5 is full. Be that as it carries out transfers at speeds that some SSD unable to obtain, especially in reading.
To end the connection, note the presence of an HDMI to VGA adapter whose usefulness seems less critical than would have been proposing an Ethernet adapter.
The rest of the equipment consists of a chip offering compatibility with Wi-Fi 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0, a 1.3 megapixel one manages to draw a picture barely drinkable after a few adjustments, and a pair of speakers placed on the edges of the ultrabook.
The image from the webcam with good lighting and no
These speakers use the medium on which is placed the ultrabook to create a resonance and a semblance of depth. But the sound is poor, nasal voices are low and nonexistent. Sound way, even for a ultrabook.
The Compaq Presario CQ40 battery that comes with the Aspire S5 is placed at the front, giving the ultrabook a balance, especially when you open the screen. However, its capacity is low: 3 cells offer only 36 Wh. Compared to the 50 Wh UX31A Asus is soon. Note, however, that it is relatively easy to access the battery, and most DIYers will definitely replace it. For the rest of the components, it will be much more complicated: we are not able to access the memory or even SSD.
Finally, note the presence of a Bluetooth wireless mouse that comes with this ultrabook. A nice touch from Acer, but do bundle to the bundle, it is not necessarily a good idea. For why a mouse for ultrabook, especially that the proposed model is not the most discreet? At best, nobody uses it, at worst, Acer sends a negative message about the confidence he placed in his touchpad ... A cover, such as that found on the Zenbook, had probably been a better idea.
In use, ergonomics back to overview
That gives the HP Pavilion HDX16T after a few hours of use? Let's talk first touchpad: Acer revised its copy from the S3 and offers an equally high, but significantly larger, a good centimeter. It may seem insignificant, but it is a lot, even if the dimensions of the touchpad still below that found at Asus or Apple. Similarly, Acer has corrected one of us to make complaints against the S3 at its output: the too close between the top and bottom of the touchpad keyboard. Centimeter added on Acer's new ultrabook depth probably had the effect of increasing a little space, correcting the problem we pointions finger.
Skiing remains good, and the many opportunities offered by the pilots Elantech Smart-Pad rather well exploited, particularly in the management of multipoint. The two-finger scrolling works well, and we zoom only seems improved. Blame it on a device that we would have liked a bit more responsive.
What about the Sony VGP-BPS13/S keyboard? The record is rather mixed. Typing is nice and fast, and everything is done in silence appreciable. In contrast, the directional pad ridiculously small and the Enter key is a little too close for our liking, as the Tab key. This is all the more regrettable that Acer has an important place on the sides of the keyboard. Finally, as the S3 lacks backlighting found yet on other ultrabooks.
Conclude with the software suite available that Sony VGP-BPS13 is equipped with multimedia interface Acer Clear.fi, as well as his "Video Conference Manager", or VCM. This device is supposed to improve video conferencing instant messaging removing background noise, for example. This software is compatible with Windows Live Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger and Skype. Acer VCM also allows sharing of photos, documents, and screen sharing. Nothing very revolutionary sum.
The S5 is also equipped with the Acer Backup Manager and Acer eRecovery Manager, designed to help you backup and restore your data or your entire system, while the manufacturer follows the trend of improved reading interfaces with its newsXpresso.
Acer Intel follows the recommendations in terms of availability and responsiveness by using three discoveries on S3:
Instant On, which allows the Aspire S5 wakeup in 1.8 seconds;
Instant Connect, which reduces cling to Wi-Fi hotspots already known to the S5. We measured a connection in 5.2 seconds, which is good, but below that heralds Acer (2.5 seconds);
Instant Update finally picking up your Outlook messages or updates an optimized manner the 5 most visited sites by Internet Explorer to offer you these contents from the opening screen of the ultrabook.
Finally, Acer introduced Theft Shield to its new ultrabook. The principle: when the PC comes out of the coverage area of the Wi-Fi network to which it is connected, the S5 an alarm particularly unpleasant. Impossible to extinguish it, even holding down the power button.
There is also an application available for Android, which allows you to link your smartphone ultrabook. This creates a Wi-Fi ad-hoc which smartphone should connect to. If it moves away from the ultrabook (or vice versa), the S5 suggests its soft alarm. Rather effective, listen for yourself:
Mixed. This is what we are at the end of this test, both the impressions left by the Sony VGP-BPS9/S are contradictory. Firstly, the quality of workmanship, choice of materials or manufacturing are clearly not at a UX31A Asus, and even less of a MacBook Air. The screen is among the worst we've tested and have won Acer to provide cover, a backlit keyboard and a smaller transformer rather than the mouse comes with its ultrabook.
On the other hand, Acer has managed to slim its ultrabook and even refined, thanks to the cunning of Sioux what the trap connections. While we appreciate not having to plug in a USB in the back of a laptop Sony VGP-BPS22, and if the mechanism to deploy the trap frankly worrying, we can only congratulate Acer for the idea. Another innovation that we discover on this ultrabook, the Thunderbolt port that the manufacturer chose to install on the new model. Obviously adapted devices do not run the streets and the technology is still very young in Windows. Even so, Acer uses a connection to the future, and can only be welcomed.
Finally, the true good of the ultrabook Dell Latitude E6400, it is the performance. RAID 0 with two SSD (which will also be valid also on the 128 GB version of the S5) is for many. Such a good idea that RAID 0? If Intel decides to propose TRIM for this kind of configuration, not really. And considering the reactivity obtained, hard to blame Acer for this choice. Especially since only such a configuration can assume that the flow is able Thunderbolt.
Where the rub is the price level: even if the performances are excellent, the shortcomings of this Dell Latitude E6510 seem too numerous to justify the price requested by Acer, ie 1499 euros for a guarantee of only one year. The Core i5-3317M Version / SSD 128 GB, marketed 1199 euros, is less expensive, but still seems too expensive compared to other models on the market. Maybe the manufacturer will catch up with her future S7, the sheet is much more exciting: Full HD panel, aluminum hull, backlit keyboard, light sensor ... We can not wait!
Update 03/07: In addition we looked into the problems Thuderbolt, we also conducted our tests on the terms Theft Shield and added some screenshots of the webcam. We also expanded our test sound through the mechanism of Magic Flip, as well as the alarm escaping from the cell when the Theft Shield operates.