I loved the first generation Acer’s Aspire S7 ultrabook because of the elegance in its design, its light weight and reliability. Now, after getting a first look at the second generation of the Acer Aspire S7, I must say that I’m thoroughly impressed with the well rounded device.
The new Acer Aspire 7 has the same slick look, but its battery life has been extended and it holds a new CPU, the new generation of Intel which is not just faster, but it also supports WiDi and Miracast.
We will have an in-depth look at the latest Acer S7 ultrabook in the very near future, but for our first look, I’d like to focus on the new WiDi and Miracast features. The first thing I did with my ultrabook is make sure that I was updated to the latest OS, Windows 8.1. With 8.1, second screen functionality is simplified to just a single step. The new OS brings some new tricks into its repertoire, including an updated Start screen (with the restoration of the familiar “Start” button), added support for 3D printing and, of course, the aforementioned Miracast and WiDI capabilities.
Connecting with WiDi is a snap. You simply select Devices and then Project, and if you have a smart TV supporting WiDi (or an intermediary device such as Netgear’s Push2TV or Actiontec’s ScreenBeam Pro) Windows recognizes that and you can immediately mirror or extend a part of your content to your second screen.
I used the Acer Aspire S7 with Actiontec’s ScreenBeam Pro, one of the Cinema Without Borders’ Top Products of 2013. The S7 recognized the device immediately, and it was a breeze to begin Mirroring—within seconds I was playing movies using Netflix and HuluPlus on a 73” Mitsubishi TV. The Second Screen option was just as seamless, as it allowed me to work on a Photoshop project on my S7’s screen while sending my Amazon Instant video to the TV. You should know that Metro-style apps, such as Netflix and Hulu, do not play on the second screen, but you can run them from a browser; hopefully a future update will remove this restriction. Second Screen is a great feature with endless possibilities: just imagine editing on a big screen while using the S7 for your controls and tools.
With workstations becoming lighter and smaller, the ability to stream your content to another display is becoming increasingly important. Thankfully, Acer and Windows 8.1 provide a package that takes advantage of the latest wireless display technology. The new generation of the Aspire S7 makes a fantastic gift, and you may just want to give it to yourself!
Stay tuned for our in-depth review of the Acer S7 Ultrabook!