Keyboard and TouchPad
The Acer Aspire S7-391, like its smaller brother, features an island-style keyboard. I don't think it's really possible to find a system not equipped with an island-style keyboard, save for possibly a ThinkPad. The important question here is whether or not the S7-391 redeems the Aspire S7 name with a decent keyboard. If you haven't read my thoughts on the S7-191's keyboard, I suggest doing that now before continuing.
The keyboard is recessed ever-so-slightly into the system to prevent the keys from touching and scratching the display. The recessing is so subtle that it is easy to miss. The aluminum slopes down to the keyboard and is a nice touch.
Thanks to the aluminum construction, the keyboard features little-to-no flex. I still complain that there is not enough throw in the keyboard, though this is a byproduct of making the laptop so thin.
In contrast to the smaller Aspire S7-191, the keyboard on the S7-391 is actually halfway decent. It's nearly the same keyboard as the one on the S7-191, including having the same backlight and key texture. In direct contrast to the S7-191, I can actually type successfully and accurately on the S7-391, though at a slightly reduced rate.
The throw is slightly improved on the S7-391 and the tactile feedback isn't as atrocious as on the S7-191. The keys are still mushy - it's a technical term, I promise - but they have been improved over the smaller S7-191.
You'll notice I'm doing a lot of comparing to the smaller S7-191. There is a reason for this. First, I have recent experience with it and its keyboard was absolutely horrible. More importantly, the systems are both made by the same manufacturer and feature nearly identical keyboards, at least in appearance.
The keys have a matte texture on the surface and appear to be perfectly flat. The surfaces of the keys appear to have the same texture and color as the rest of the aluminum body, resulting in a nice look and feel.
The backlight present on this system is that of a premium system. It has a very soft glow that can change in brightness to match the user's environment. This means it can be a soft backlight when typing in bed at night, or a slightly brighter one for use while watching TV in a darkened room.
The touchpad is made from a single piece of material, with all sections touch sensitive and able to be pushed down for a left click. There is no visible delineation for left or right click, meaning you have to take a guess as to where left click ends and right click begins.
The touchpad is recessed down into the palm rest of the machine just slightly. The surface is smoother than the surrounding aluminum and provides an excellent experience.
Acer has equipped the Aspire S7-391 with a 13.3-inch IPS screen pushing out a resolution of 1920x1080. Because the screen is touch-enabled, it comes with the drawbacks associated with having a touchscreen. This means it will have a slight glare problem, along with fingerprints ending up everywhere. The screen is protected with Gorilla Glass 2 to help prevent scratches. The backside of the screen, as opposed to the aluminum S7-191, is covered in Gorilla Glass 2 as well.
The screen features a giant edge-to-edge piece of glass to enable touchscreen functions. One drawback to having a touch-enabled system is that the screen is often smudged with fingerprints, causing reading to be a pain.
Color reproduction on the S7-391 is excellent, due to the use of an IPS panel. Also as a result of using the more expensive IPS panel, viewing angles are much improved. This means you can move left or right and up or down without much change in color representation. With most systems, this would present issues with colors becoming distorted and text becoming unreadable.
The Acer Aspire S7-391 has interesting hinge functionality. Past 90 degrees, the hinge becomes quite a bit stiffer, which helps to keep the screen from wobbling while in use. Also worth noting is that the screen is slightly smaller in width and length than the bottom part of the chassis. This results in the screen being slightly hard to open.
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