Review Acer Aspire S7-392 Ultrabook

Sascha Mölck (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 12/10/2013

Evolution. Acer refreshed its stylish 13.3-inch Aspire S7. Besides a Haswell Core i7 and a WQHD display, the ultrabook also gets a larger battery. Our review shows whether the Aspire S7-392 can beat its predecessor and if it can even ascend to the throne.

For the original German review, see here.

Noble, fast, thin and light - this is a short description of the Aspire S7-392. The ultrabook is made of magnesium and Gorilla Glass and Acer equips the S7 with a high-resolution display (2560x1440 pixels). It is powered by fast components like a Core i7 processor and an SSD RAID 0 system.

The predecessor Aspire S7-391 (Core i7-3517UHD Graphics 4000) got a good rating (85%) but there were some issues. It had poor battery runtimes and the display brightness was significantly reduced on battery power. At least the runtimes should not be a problem with the Aspire S7-392 anymore: The combination of a Haswell processor and a larger battery should provide battery runtimes that suit the retail price of the notebook. Our review shows if the Aspire S7-392 can beat its predecessor. 

We use the rivals Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 Late 2013 (Core i5-4258UIris Graphics 5100) and Asus Zenbook UX301LA (Core i7-4558UIris Graphics 5100) for the comparison.

The Aspire S7-392 basically uses the chassis from the Aspire S7-391, so we will only have a brief look at the case, but not at the input devices, the connectivity and the speakers. The according information can be found in the review of the Aspire S7-391.

Case

Both the Aspire S7-392 and the Aspire S7-391 basically use the same case; the only differences are the port layout and the thickness: The S7-392 has a height of 13 mm and is therefore around 1 mm thicker than its predecessor. Reason for this should be the larger battery. The S7-392 also lacks the threads at the bottom of the S7-391, which could be used for an additional battery. The according module of the S7-391 cannot be used anymore because the S7-392 does not have the necessary connector either. 

Connectivity

There are some changes in regard to the connectivity. The new Aspire S7-392 does not have the connector for the additional battery of the Aspire S7-391 anymore; the micro HDMI port was replaced by a standard HDMI port and there is also a mini DisplayPort. Acer provided other ports on the S7-391 via adaptor: an Ethernet port via USB 2.0 and a VGA-out via micro HDMI adaptor. The S7-392 only comes with one adaptor, however, it offers three ports: VGA-out, Fast-Ethernet and USB 2.0. This adaptor can be used via DisplayPort. Similar to the predecessor, we really like the port layout of the S7-392: All the ports are at the back of the two sides, while the areas next to the palm rest are not occupied.

Left side: Power connector, power button, USB 3.0, card reader
Left side: Power connector, power button, USB 3.0, card reader
Right side: Combined stereo jack, USB 3.0, HDMI, mini Displayport, Kensington lock
Right side: Combined stereo jack, USB 3.0, HDMI, mini Displayport, Kensington lock

Security

Besides a Kensington lock, Acer also equipped the small notebook with a Trusted Platform Module (1.2) and preinstalled its own Theft Shield software. This is supposed to alert the user in case of data theft if you use the notebook with public wireless hotspots. 

Accessories

The box of the S7-392 contains a quick-start poster, a quick-start guide, a manual, warranty information and a small notebook bag. The two adaptors of the old S7-391 have been replaced by one. The predecessor was also accompanied by a small mouse, but this is not the case with the S7-392. 

Maintenance

The small Aspire does not have a maintenance cover. However, you can still access the components without any problems: Just loosen the 11 torx screws at the bottom and lift the cover; there are no additional plastic clips. We were a bit surprised when we saw that that the notebook uses a standard mSATA Solid State Drive. The system shows a RAID 0 configuration with two 128 GB SSDs. You could replace the SSD with a larger model and you can even clean the two fans. The battery is also replaceable if it is damaged.

Display

While the Aspire S7-391 used a Full HD display, Acer equips the successor with a WQHD IPS panel with a native resolution of 2560x1440 pixels. The display of the Zenbook has similar specs and the MacBook has even more pixels at 2560x1600. We measure a good average brightness of 298.3 cd/m², even though the predecessor was brighter with 361.7 cd/m². Both the Zenbook (358.3 cd/m²) and the MacBook (330 cd/m²) also have brighter panels.

321
cd/m²
342
cd/m²
312
cd/m²
291
cd/m²
316
cd/m²
296
cd/m²
261
cd/m²
269
cd/m²
277
cd/m²
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 342 cd/m²
Average: 298.3 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 76 %
Center on Battery: 316 cd/m²
Black: 0.19 cd/m²
Contrast: 1663:1
Distribution of brightness
Aspire S7-392 vs. sRGB
Aspire S7-392 vs. sRGB
Aspire S7-392 vs. AdobeRGB
Aspire S7-392 vs. AdobeRGB

Contrast (1663:1) and black value (0.19 cd/m²) of the screen are excellent. The results are between the Zenbook (2138:1, 0.196 cd/m²) and MacBook (900:1, 0.4 cd/m²), but the Aspire S7-392 is clearly superior to its predecessor (497:1, 0.734 cd/m²). Neither AdobeRGB nor sRGB can be completely covered by the screen with 59% (AdobeRGB) and 80.4% (sRGB) respectively. These color spaces are important for professional picture editing, for instance. 

The color accuracy is quite good out of the box with an average DeltaE 2000 deviation of 4.33 but the trained eye can see a slight blue cast. A calibration improves the DeltaE 2000 deviation to 3.6 and can also reduce the slight blue cast.

CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - Grayscale
CalMAN - Grayscale
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN - ColorChecker (calibrated)
CalMAN - ColorChecker (calibrated)
CalMAN - Grayscale (calibrated)
CalMAN - Grayscale (calibrated)
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps (calibrated)
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps (calibrated)
The Acer Aspire S7-392 outdoors (sunlight)
The Acer Aspire S7-392 outdoors (sunlight)

The panel of the Aspire is bright enough and has a high contrast, but it is still tricky to use the notebook outdoors. The problem is the glossy display surface, as you can see in our picture that was taken under direct sunlight. You should use the device in the shade if possible. Contrary to the Aspire S7-931, you can use the maximum display brightness of the S7-392 on battery power.

Thanks to the IPS panel you can see the display content even under extreme viewing angles. Acer specifies the viewing angle with 160 degrees and we can support this claim. After you exceed this angle, gray and white colors will start to mix, but the content is still visible. 

Viewing angles Acer Aspire S7-392
Viewing angles Acer Aspire S7-392
Viewing angles Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13-inch Late 2013
Viewing angles Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13-inch Late 2013
Viewing angles Asus Zenbook UX301LA
Viewing angles Asus Zenbook UX301LA

Performance

Acer's Aspire S7-series notebooks are light and thin ultrabooks that are made of high-quality materials. The Aspire S7-392 has a 13.3-inch form factor, but you can also get the smaller 11.6-inch models from the S7-19x-series. All notebooks offer sufficient performance for daily tasks, however, they are not designed for video games or video editing. Our review unit is currently available for around 1,500 Euros (~$2064), but there is also another configuration at the time of writing: The Acer Aspire Pro S7-392-54208G25tws is basically identical to our review unit, but there are some differences: The Aspire Pro uses a Core i5-4200U processor and Windows 8 Professional; it is also more expensive at around 1,850 Euros (~$2545).

CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
GPU-Z
HWInfo
System information Acer Aspire S7-392

Processor

Inside the thin case of the Aspire is an Intel Core i7-4500U dual-core processor, which is based on Intel's latest Haswell architecture. It has a nominal clock of 1.8 GHz that can be raised up to 2.7 GHz (both cores) and 3 GHz (one core) via Turbo Boost. The CPU also supports Hyper Threading. We are dealing with a ULV CPU that runs with a lower voltage and therefore consumes less energy. Intel specifies the TDP of the Core i7 with 15 Watts. 

We can see a CPU clock 2.7 GHz in the single thread tests; the full 3 GHz is only reached occasionally. Multi-thread tests result in a clock of 2.5 GHz for the two cores. The Zenbook (Core i7-4558UIris Graphics 5100) shows better results in all scenarios. The processor runs with higher clocks and can also use its maximum Turbo potential during multi-threaded applications. It is also surprising at first that the MacBook (Core i5-4258UIris Graphics 5100) shows better results as well, since it uses a Core i5 processor with a 100 MHz lower clock compared to the i7 from the Aspire. However, the Core i5 can maintain the maximum clock of 2.9 GHz and is therefore faster than the Core i7. The MacBook and the Zenbook use the same GPU, which is clearly superior to its counterpart inside the Aspire. Both devices are accordingly faster in the GL benchmarks.

The CPUs (including the integrated GPUs) of the MacBook and the Zenbook are more powerful compared to the Aspire, but they also need more energy in return. Both competitors have processors with a specified TDP of 28 Watts.

Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
5897 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
6457 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
11025 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4442
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
8500
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
6882
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.19 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
13.34 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.74 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
15.37 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
98 %
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
251 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
117 Points
Help
Cinebench R11.5 - OpenGL 64Bit
Acer Aspire S7-392
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, 2x Kingston SMSR150S3256G (RAID 0)
13.34 fps ∼12%
Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite 905S3G-K01DE
Radeon HD 8250, A6-1450, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD128HAFV mSATA
9.79 fps ∼9% -27%
Fujitsu Lifebook U554
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Samsung SSD 840 250GB MZ7TD256HAFV
10.29 fps ∼9% -23%
Sony Vaio Pro 13 SVP-1321C5ER
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH512GDNT
13.65 fps ∼12% +2%
Acer Aspire S7 391-73514G25aws
HD Graphics 4000, 3517U, 2x Lite-On CMT-128L3M (RAID 0)
15.69 fps ∼14% +18%
Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Samsung MZNTD128HAGM
16.43 fps ∼15% +23%
Asus Zenbook UX301
Iris Graphics 5100, 4558U, 2x Sandisk X110 SD6SP1M-128G-1002 RAID 0
22.18 fps ∼20% +66%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
Iris Graphics 5100, 4258U, Apple SSD SM0256F
22.44 fps ∼20% +68%
Cinebench R11.5 - CPU Multi 64Bit
Acer Aspire S7-392
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, 2x Kingston SMSR150S3256G (RAID 0)
2.74 Points ∼23%
Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite 905S3G-K01DE
Radeon HD 8250, A6-1450, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD128HAFV mSATA
1.03 Points ∼9% -62%
Fujitsu Lifebook U554
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Samsung SSD 840 250GB MZ7TD256HAFV
1.84 Points ∼15% -33%
Sony Vaio Pro 13 SVP-1321C5ER
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH512GDNT
2.32 Points ∼19% -15%
Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Samsung MZNTD128HAGM
2.49 Points ∼21% -9%
Acer Aspire S7 391-73514G25aws
HD Graphics 4000, 3517U, 2x Lite-On CMT-128L3M (RAID 0)
2.8 Points ∼23% +2%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
Iris Graphics 5100, 4258U, Apple SSD SM0256F
2.92 Points ∼24% +7%
Asus Zenbook UX301
Iris Graphics 5100, 4558U, 2x Sandisk X110 SD6SP1M-128G-1002 RAID 0
3.48 Points ∼29% +27%

System Performance

We cannot criticize the system performance of our review unit. The system is snappy and applications as well as Windows start very quickly. This is also a result of the fast RAID 0 SSD. The notebook gets virtually the same score as its predecessor, however, the Aspire cannot keep up with the results of the MacBook (Core i5-4258UIris Graphics 5100) and the Zenbook (Core i7-4558UIris Graphics 5100), since both notebooks have better CPUs and GPUs.

6.5
Windows 8 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
7.1
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
7.6
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
6.5
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
6.5
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
8.3
PC Mark
PCMark Vantage11733 points
PCMark 74970 points
PCMark 8 Home2744 points
PCMark 8 Creative2962 points
PCMark 8 Work3968 points
Help
PCMark 7 - Score
Acer Aspire S7-392
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, 2x Kingston SMSR150S3256G (RAID 0)
4970 Points ∼75%
Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite 905S3G-K01DE
Radeon HD 8250, A6-1450, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD128HAFV mSATA
2162 Points ∼33% -56%
Sony Vaio Pro 13 SVP-1321C5ER
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, Toshiba HG5d THNSNH512GDNT
4740 Points ∼72% -5%
Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Samsung MZNTD128HAGM
4912 Points ∼74% -1%
Acer Aspire S7 391-73514G25aws
HD Graphics 4000, 3517U, 2x Lite-On CMT-128L3M (RAID 0)
5020 Points ∼76% +1%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
Iris Graphics 5100, 4258U, Apple SSD SM0256F
5460 Points ∼82% +10%
Asus Zenbook UX301
Iris Graphics 5100, 4558U, 2x Sandisk X110 SD6SP1M-128G-1002 RAID 0
5825 Points ∼88% +17%

Storage Devices

Similar to the Aspire S7-391, Acer equips the S7-392 with a RAID 0 SSD that consists of two 128 GB Solid State Drives. However, both SSDs are on one mSATA module. The resulting capacity is 256 GB and the operating system only shows one drive. Data is divided across both drives, which increases the read and write performances noticeably. But the problem with this solution is that you will lose all your data if only one drive is damaged. 

The RAID system of the S7-392 is slower than the counterpart from its predecessor. While the sequential reading performance only shows a small difference, we can see almost twice the writing speeds from the old S7-391. This is, however, not really perceptible in practice. Both the storage solutions of the MacBook (SSD) and the Zenbook (RAID 0) are much better in terms of writing performance, but cannot keep up in regard to reading speeds. Current 2.5-inch SSDs like Samsung's 840 Pro provide faster write speeds than the RAID system of the Aspire, but also cannot keep up in terms of reading performance. 

HD Tune
HD Tune
CrystalDiskMark
CrystalDiskMark
AS SSD
AS SSD
2x Kingston SMSR150S3256G (RAID 0)
Transfer Rate Minimum: 873.9 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 932.4 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 925.1 MB/s
Access Time: 0.1 ms
Burst Rate: 1945.3 MB/s
CPU Usage: 12.7 %
AS SSD - Seq Read
Acer Aspire S7-392
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, 2x Kingston SMSR150S3256G (RAID 0)
827.06 MB/s ∼82%
Schenker XMG C703
GeForce GTX 765M, 4700HQ, Samsung SSD 840 EVO 250GB
210.2 MB/s ∼21% -75%
Dell XPS 15 (Late 2013)
GeForce GT 750M, 4702HQ, Samsung SSD SM841 512GB
498.51 MB/s ∼50% -40%
Dell Latitude E7440
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Samsung SSD SM841 128GB
505.41 MB/s ∼50% -39%
Deviltech Fire DT14
GeForce GTX 760M, 4702MQ, Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256GB MZ7PD256HAFV-0Z000
516.8 MB/s ∼51% -38%
Lenovo ThinkPad X240
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Samsung SSD 840 250GB MZ7TD256HAFV
514.14 MB/s ∼51% -38%
Asus Zenbook UX301
Iris Graphics 5100, 4558U, 2x Sandisk X110 SD6SP1M-128G-1002 RAID 0
566.44 MB/s ∼56% -32%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
Iris Graphics 5100, 4258U, Apple SSD SM0256F
711 MB/s ∼71% -14%
Acer Aspire S7 391-73514G25aws
HD Graphics 4000, 3517U, 2x Lite-On CMT-128L3M (RAID 0)
921.37 MB/s ∼92% +11%
Nexoc B509II Ultra
HD Graphics 4600, 4702MQ, Sandisk X110 SD6SF1M-256G-1022
476.22 MB/s ∼47% -42%
AS SSD - Seq Write
Acer Aspire S7-392
HD Graphics 4400, 4500U, 2x Kingston SMSR150S3256G (RAID 0)
363.56 MB/s ∼44%
Lenovo ThinkPad X240
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Samsung SSD 840 250GB MZ7TD256HAFV
248.48 MB/s ∼30% -32%
Dell Latitude E7440
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Samsung SSD SM841 128GB
356.09 MB/s ∼43% -2%
Dell XPS 15 (Late 2013)
GeForce GT 750M, 4702HQ, Samsung SSD SM841 512GB
404.87 MB/s ∼49% +11%
Schenker XMG C703
GeForce GTX 765M, 4700HQ, Samsung SSD 840 EVO 250GB
481.5 MB/s ∼58% +32%
Deviltech Fire DT14
GeForce GTX 760M, 4702MQ, Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256GB MZ7PD256HAFV-0Z000
489.01 MB/s ∼59% +35%
Asus Zenbook UX301
Iris Graphics 5100, 4558U, 2x Sandisk X110 SD6SP1M-128G-1002 RAID 0
544.28 MB/s ∼66% +50%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
Iris Graphics 5100, 4258U, Apple SSD SM0256F
592 MB/s ∼72% +63%
Acer Aspire S7 391-73514G25aws
HD Graphics 4000, 3517U, 2x Lite-On CMT-128L3M (RAID 0)
663.19 MB/s ∼81% +82%
Nexoc B509II Ultra
HD Graphics 4600, 4702MQ, Sandisk X110 SD6SF1M-256G-1022
431.05 MB/s ∼52% +19%

Graphics

Graphics are handled by the Intel HD Graphics 4400. The GPU supports DirectX 11.1 and has a clock between 200 and 1,100 MHz. All 3DMark benchmark results of the Aspire are lower compared to the MacBook (Core i5-4258UIris Graphics 5100) and the Zenbook (Core i7-4558UIris Graphics 5100). This is not surprising, since both devices have a much more powerful Intel GPU. Despite the identical CPU in the two notebooks, we can see better results from the Zenbook. But the explanation is quite simple; the GPU of the Zenbook just has a slightly higher clock. 

3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
5609 points
3DMark Vantage4027 points
3DMark 11925 points
3DMark Ice Storm28849 points
3DMark Cloud Gate4119 points
3DMark Fire Strike583 points
Help
Acer Aspire S7-392
Intel Core i7-4500U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, 2x Kingston SMSR150S3256G (RAID 0)
Asus Zenbook UX301
Intel Core i7-4558U, Intel Iris Graphics 5100, 2x Sandisk X110 SD6SP1M-128G-1002 RAID 0
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
Intel Core i5-4258U, Intel Iris Graphics 5100, Apple SSD SM0256F
3DMark (2013)
45%
38%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score2884941524
44%
39510
37%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score41195518
34%
5286
28%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Standard Score583918
57%
863
48%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
45% / 45%
38% / 38%

Gaming Performance

Even though gaming is not a core aspect for the Aspire, you can still play some titles. The notebook is usually powerful enough to run most of the current games in low resolutions and with low quality settings. Less complex games can even be played in higher resolutions and settings - for example several titles from the FIFA-series. Similar to the 3DMark results, both the MacBook and the Zenbook are more powerful and produce higher frame rates. If occasional gaming is important for you, you might want to consider one of these devices.

low med.high ultra
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) 33.217.210.6fps
Anno 2070 (2011) 60.628.917.4fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 47.624.414.9fps
Acer Aspire S7-392
Intel Core i7-4500U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, 2x Kingston SMSR150S3256G (RAID 0)
Asus Zenbook UX301
Intel Core i7-4558U, Intel Iris Graphics 5100, 2x Sandisk X110 SD6SP1M-128G-1002 RAID 0
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch 2013-10
Intel Core i5-4258U, Intel Iris Graphics 5100, Apple SSD SM0256F
Tomb Raider
36%
34%
1024x768 Low Preset47.661.3
29%
64.4
35%
1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX AF:4x24.434.5
41%
32.8
34%
1366x768 High Preset AA:FX AF:8x14.920.7
39%
19.7
32%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
36% / 36%
34% / 34%

Emissions

System Noise

The fan of the Aspire doesn't even run during idle and we measure a system noise of 29.6 dB(A). Both rivals are on a similar level: MacBook (27.4 dB(A)) and Zenbook (29.6 up to 31.3 dB(A)). Medium workloads (3DMark06 running) and maximum load (stress test, Prime95 and Furmark simultaneously) results in a slight increase to 33.5 and 33.8 dB(A) respectively. The value under maximum load is basically identical because neither the GPU nor the CPU can maintain their clocks (CPU: 1.1 up to 1.2 GHz; GPU: 800 - 850 MHz). The results of the Zenbook are higher (38.7 and 39.1 dB(A)), despite the CPU throttling to 1.2 GHz under load, and the MacBook is even louder with 42.5 and 44.7 dB(A). Both notebooks require more cooling because of their 28 Watts CPUs, while the CPU of the Acer is more frugal with a TDP of 15 Watts. We can see a noticeable improvement over the predecessor, but the S7-391 did not have problems with throttling under load. The Aspire S7-392 produces some kind of electronic whistle when we access the drive. 

Noise Level

Idle 29.6 / 29.6 / 29.6 dB(A)