Acer Aspire S5 - Aiming High

Launch SRP: S$1798

Performance and Benchmarking

Performance and Benchmarking

Last year’s Acer Aspire S3’s performance didn’t manage to impress anyone. If anything, it’s exactly as you’d expect an Acer notebook to perform - mediocre. However, this time the Acer Aspire S5 came to us with a pretty formidable weapon in its arsenal - an SSD drive instead of a cheaper hybrid mechanical drive. As you’d have likely seen from our previous reviews, an SSD adds a tremendous boost in performance, both in benchmarks and in real-world usability. The quality and the internal configuration of the SSD also plays a role in determining the notebook’s overall performance.

We’ve gathered data from a few other notebooks to highlight the Acer Aspire S5’s performance. First off is the Samsung Series 9 which is one of the thinnest, lightest and sexiest notebooks in the market right now. It’s specs are quite similar to the Acer Aspire S5, and it also packs an SSD. The Intel Ivy Bridge Reference Ultrabook also has fairly similar components, save for a slightly faster Core i5 processor. The Sony Vaio T and the HP Envy 4 are thrown into the mix to give you an idea of how discrete graphics (Envy 4) and a hybrid drive (Vaio T) would affect performance. This would give you some fodder to help decide the best configuration for your next Ultrabook. 

Test Notebooks Compared
Specifications/Notebook Acer Aspire S5 Samsung
Series 9 (2012)
Sony VAIO T HP Envy 4

Intel Ultrabook
(Ivy Bridge)

Processor Intel Core i5-3317U
(1.7GHz)
Intel Core i7-3517U
(1.9GHz)
Intel Core i5-3317U
(1.7GHz)
Intel Core i5-3317U
(1.7GHz)
Intel Core i5-3427U
(1.8GHz)
Chipset  Intel UM77  Intel UM77 Intel UM77 Intel UM77  Intel UM77
Memory  4GB DDR3  4GB DDR3 8GB DDR3 8GB DDR3  4GB DDR3
Storage 128GB SSD 128GB SSD 500GB HDD with
32GB SSD Cache
500GB HDD with
32GB SSD Cache
256GB SSD
Video Intel HD Graphics 4000 Intel HD Graphics 4000 Intel HD Graphics 4000 AMD Radeon HD 7670M Intel HD Graphics 4000
Battery 4-Cell Li-ion /
35Wh
4-Cell Li-ion /
44Wh
6-Cell Li-ion /
45Wh
4-Cell Li-ion /
62Wh
6-Cell Li-ion /
47Wh
Dimensions 324 x 227 x 15mm 313.8 x 218.5 x 12.9mm 323 x 226 x 17.8mm 340 x 235.8 x 19.8mm 329 x 223 x 16mm
Weight 1.2kg 1.16kg 1.6kg 1.8kg 1.46kg

When it comes to graphical performance, the Aspire S5 performs as expected, with the benchmark being the Intel Reference Ultrabook. The differences between those notebooks using Intel HD Graphics 4000 are quite negligible, and isn’t a cause for much concern. You'd run older, less intensive games with no problems (Left for Dead, Team Fortress 2... etc) at low settings. Just don't expect to be running the latest games, because portability is the Utrabook's forte, not power and gaming.

If you need more graphical power than the S5 can deliver, you can always take a look at HP’s discrete graphics packing Envy 4 notebook. However, even that's not powerful enough for mid-range level of graphics performance. So if you're core concern is gaming on the move, you'll need to consider more powerful notebooks from the larger Ultrabooks like the Acer M3 or others compared in the linked review.

As for overall performance, you can see how much an SSD improves a notebook’s scores in PC Mark 7. Its scores are on par with the reference notebook, and pulls ahead of the Samsung Series 9, likely due to a well performing SSD unit. In practical usage however, most consumers would be hard pressed to discern the difference in speed between the Acer Aspire S5 and Samsung Series 9 notebooks.

8.5
Design
9
Features
8.5
Performance
8
Value
8
Mobility
9
The Good
Thin and Light, but robust
Magicflip hides ports
Thunderbolt port
Very portable
The Bad
Power button not easily accessible
Screen resolution is weak
Price point