Acer's Aspire R7 portable PC is revolutionary, but today, being different doesn't necessarily mean a product's going to be 'the next big thing.' The R7's standout feature, however, is its ergonomic "Ezel Hinge," which makes it resemble the Starship Enterprise from certain angles.
The patented, dual-hinge technology provides four operating modes, each designed to optimize the Windows 8 experience. Accordingly, the R7's 15.6-inch display can be used as a traditional notebook, a table-top tablet, as a sharing display, or in 'floating mode,' where the screen-to-keyboard distance is infinitely adjustable.
Across all four modes, the 10-point touch-screen somehow remains rock-steady upon tactile interaction. Furthermore, the color depth and sharpness of the unit's full HD (1920x1080) IPS touch screen display are both striking.
Equally impressive are its hardware components, which include an Intel Core i5 processor (Ivy Bridge), 6GB of memory, a 500GB hard drive with 24GB SSD cache, HDMI port, SD card reader, audio jacks, three USB ports, WiFi, Bluetooth, and a superb, full-size backlit keyboard.
Dolby Home Theater and four 8 watt speakers provide surprisingly powerful audio. The unit's left and right audio channels actually track its operating modes, reversing when necessary, so sound is always perfect.
The R7's trendy aluminum chassis accentuates the unit's arched design and subtle curves. The underside features a soft touch finish for a secure grip, and dual microphones mounted near the spacebar keep the screen's bezel free of unsightly holes.
The unit's onboard battery allows the 5.3 lb. portable PC to be disconnected from power and moved but otherwise only lasts for a few hours. Like the Aspire S7, see above, the R7 relies on an optional proprietary dongle for wired Ethernet, SVGA, and other bulky connections.
Acer's Aspire R7 portable PC has an MSRP of $999.99. For more information, visit Acer.com.
Svelte Acer Ultrabook is a top-performing eye-catcher
Acer's much-improved Aspire S7 Ultrabook is pricey, stylish, and beautiful, a status symbol with the chops to be more than just another pretty face.
Clad in white Gorilla Glass 2, the S7 is thin, yet strong, scratch-resistant, and easy-to-clean. Its unibody design is crafted from a single block of aluminum, using a process Acer says saves energy and material. Also included is an elegant leather carrying sleeve.
What's under the hood isn't lacking, either. Sporting 33% better battery life, a quieter cooling system, and an improved backlit keyboard, whose greenish glow takes getting used to, the Aspire S7 has underpinnings that can handle almost any task thrown at it.
Powered by the latest Intel Core i-series processors ("Haswell"), 4GB of RAM, and a RAID 0 storage array using two 64GB solid-state drives, the half-inch thick, 2.86 lb. notebook boots up in an instant and runs 64-bit Windows 8 effortlessly.
A unique dual-torque, T-shape hinge allows wobble-free use of the S7's gorgeous 13.3-inch display, which provides 1920 x 1080 (full HD) resolution and 10-point touch. In addition, IPS technology ensures superb viewing angles up to 170 degrees.
Dual-array microphones and Acer's proprietary PurifiedVoice technology ensures impressive sound,. The unit also supports Intel WiDi technology, which allows users to extend their laptop screen to a TV or big screen without a cable.
A proprietary connection dongle (optional) outboards Ethernet, SVGA, and other bulky jacks, so the S7 can remain one of the thinnest Ultrabooks around. Battery life is typical for a 4th generation Intel-inspired Ultrabook, and the notebook's AC adapter has an Apple-like design.
Prices for Acer Aspire S7 Ultrabook models start at $1,499.99. For more information, visit Acer.com.