Acer Aspire S13 S5-371 review – solid and affordable 13-inch notebook


  1. Gerard

    June 24, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Great web site, just recently discovered and it already is my main source of information now that I want to buy a laptop within this category.

    So it is fantastic to know that you’re preparing an article comparing all these laptops face to face! Looking very forward to it.

    I do have a petition. You complained in your XPS13 about the keyboard, which is not at the level that the price would require. Since I am looking for a 1080p laptop that above all has good keyboard and good trackpad, it would be great if you can dedicate some words on that (comparing laptops). For example, is your XPS still the best in typing even though is not perfect?

    Another key aspect is the problems reported for laptop users. For the Asus for instance I’ve read complains that it doesn’t recover from sleep when you close the lid, or with the XPS13 about the trackpad (I have had a XPS12-2013 and the trackpad was absolutely bad, a complete disaster, which is why I recently sold it). If you google for it you end up discarding all of them.

    I also have a dying macbook air 13.3″, and I consider it provides the perfect keyboard and trackpad experience. I am even considering buying a macbook and installing windows on it if I cannot find a windows laptop without severe compromises.

    In other words, I am basing my acquisition in your reviews, so thanks a lot :)

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 26, 2016 at 12:15 pm

      Hi, Well, the XPS does not have a great keyboard but I’ve gotten used to it. The trackpad is OK as long as you don’t rely heavily on gestures, in which case it’s going to disappoint.

      If you want a great trackpad/keyboard combo you’d probably have to go with a Mac Air. However, I’d wait for an update or maybe the new MBP, the current MBA hasn’t seen an update in more than a year now.

      Other options would be the business lines offered by Lenovo, Dell or HP. However, those are usually very expensive. The Latitude 13 is especially something I’m very interested in, basically an XPS 13 with supposedly a better keyboard and trackpad.

      • Gerard

        June 26, 2016 at 7:27 pm

        Then you’d say that keyboard+touchpad of the Acer S13 and the Asus UX305 (or 306 or 310, I didn’t know these were coming) are equal or worse than the XPS13? What about the Razer Stealth?

        I’m considering these 3 ones (or perhaps the XPS13) even though only the Asus (and Dell) is available here in Spain, and possibly I would choose the one that gives the best experience in this regard (+ FHD screen quality). Definitively I wanna run from Macs unless it’s unavoidable, I want/need to go back to W10.

        *The latitude seems to be out of budget, but it does look gorgeous

      • Andrei Girbea

        June 27, 2016 at 8:34 am

        Hmmmm, I haven’t had a chance to get my hands on the Razer Stealth, so can’t comment on that. Out of the XU305, S13 and XPS 13, I’d say:

        – the XPS 13 gets the better keyboard. Still shallow, but can get used to it. The trackpad is quite good as long as you don’t need to use gestures, if you rely heavily on those, it’s probably the worst of the three.
        – UX305 gets the worse keyboard and it’s not backlit.
        – S13 gets the better trackpad

        You might also want to put the ThinkPad 13 and the HP Envy 13 on your list if living in the US or other places where those are easily available. Especially the ThinkPad looks like a solid buy, from the reviews I’ve seen.

      • Derek Sullivan

        June 30, 2016 at 5:50 pm

        Between the XPS 13 and the Razer Blade Stealth, I’d choose the XPS for the keyboard and the RBS for the trackpad. The key travel is really shallow on the Razer so it really takes some tolerance and practice.

  2. Daniel Papp

    October 4, 2016 at 5:36 am

    Hi Andrei,

    Which one would you recommend as a first ultrabook?
    This or the Asus UX305 (or Asus UX330 as a third option)?
    I live in Hungary and I can get the following specs for the two (same price – ASUS is on sale now):
    Acer: i5 6200U, intel HD520, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 3 years warranty
    Asus UX305: i7 6500U, intel HD520, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 2 years warranty

    3rd option: Asus UX330, but that is ~15% more expensive, same specs as the UX305, but with 512GB SSD (although I think 256GB is more than enough for me)

    Basically these are at the top of my budget, I’d prefer to go for one of the first 2. Design-wise I prefer the Asus, however I’m not sure how much would I benefit from buying the UX330 vs the UX305. Is the 330 much improved over the 305? Also, never had a backlit keyboard, so I don’t really know if that’s a true benefit for me.

    Thank you,

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 4, 2016 at 5:56 am

      The real question is whether you want the backlit keyboard before. I never thought that’s important before I actually bought my first laptop with a backlit keyboard, and then I could never get back to anything else. It’s especially useful if you use the laptop at night or in dim environments.

      That aside, the UX305 and S13 are similar in many ways. I like the keyboard on the UX305 a little better, yet the trackpad on the S13 is more reliable. Both have aggressive fans, yet the S13 gets hotter under serious load, but both are fairly cool in daily use. The Acer config comes with a Core i5 processor, which is enough for daily use and will cooler than my test unit, but if you plan to run games or any demanding software, you might want to go for the Core i7 on the UX305.

      The UX330 gets mostly the backlit keyboad over the ux305, all the other changes are really minor and some are actually annoying (limited screen angle, for example, and fairly dim panel).

      One other aspect to consider is the warranty services in your country each manufacturer offers, that could make the difference.

      Bottom point, if you’re a regular user without demanding needs and can live with a shallow keyboard that’s going to take time to get used to, I’d go for the Acer for the backlit keyboard and 1 extra warranty year.

      You should read other reviews as well, preferably user reviews on amazon, best buy, etc. I’m only telling my impressions in my reviews and albeit they are 100% true, chances are I might miss something or I might not actually run into some of the potential issues others might mention. Just keep in mind people tend to mostly post their complains online in those user reviews, things are usually not as bad as they might seem, but if there are many complaining about a certain aspect then it’s something you should have in mind.

      • Daniel Papp

        October 4, 2016 at 7:06 am

        Thank you very much for the prompt answer.
        So if I like the Asus better overall (and let’s assume that I don’t need the keyboard backlight – so I’m curious about mainly other aspects e.g. build quality, future proofing (usb type C on the newer model) and screen quality – I regularly do some light photo editing), the UX330 is not worth the extra 15% in your opinion? I’m just a bit worried about choosing the older model, but with the same internals I don’t know if that’s really a trade off.


      • Andrei Girbea

        October 4, 2016 at 7:07 am

        I’d say go for the older model.

      • Daniel Papp

        October 4, 2016 at 7:25 am

        Thank you, I really appreciate the help with this.

  3. Jesús

    October 4, 2016 at 11:13 am

    Hi Andrei!

    You may remember me (or not hahaha), I was struggling some weeks ago about waiting for Kaby Lake laptops or go with a Skylake one.
    I got tired of waiting, and actually, first reviews have been quite disappointing so now I’m between this Acer Aspire S13 (i5, 8/256GB) for 900€ or the Asus UX305UA with same config for 950€. The S13 is also available with i7-6500U for 30€ more. Could you tell me, not very extensively but just what would the main differences be and which one would you find better here?
    I’m extremely confused and I need it as soon as posible, I have no more time to wait :S I would greatly appreciate your anwer, thanks man!

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 4, 2016 at 11:25 am

      HI, see my replies above to Daniel Papp’s comment, he had to choose between the same two.

      In very few words: baklit, yet more shallow keyboard on the S13 and runs a little hotter, while the UX305 gets a non-backlit keyboard and runs cooler. Also a better trackpad on the S13. The fan is active most of the time on both.

  4. Bob

    October 12, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Hi Andrei
    I am looking at the Acer Aspire S 13 S5-371T-56KX vs ASUS ZenBook UX305CA-UHM1. Both are available for $599. I like the ASUS body and the fact that it is fanless but I am kind of worried about the sound quality. The ASUS is also available in same specs but QHD screen for +$100.

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 12, 2016 at 5:59 pm

      There’s a major difference in performance between the two, I believe this should be your starting point. The COre M platform on the Asus will only handle basic activities and some light multitasking, while the Core i on the Acer is more powerful. I can’t really remember how the two compare in terms of speakers, read my review of the UX305UA, it gets the same speakers as the CA as far as I know.

      Personally I wouldn’t get the QHD+ screen on the Asus, the FHD resolution is sharp enough for a 13-incher and having a lower resolution panel helps with battery life and overall performance.

  5. Kris

    November 8, 2016 at 2:38 am

    Hi Andrei,

    Acer released updated Kaby Lake versions, with the i5-7200u models (S5-371-55DC). I'm seeing these at Micro Center sites across the country (including my local one).

    There's also a i7,7500u model available on Acer's website.

    Do you know if these newer versions have Thunderbolt? And if these updated versions address some of the issues you noted?

    And do any Acer ultraportables support NVMe?


    • Andrei Girbea

      November 8, 2016 at 5:20 am

      I can't tell for sure but I believe they don't. These upgrades usually only address the hardware and Kaby lake doesn't provide TB3 support by default, they still require an extra chip for it. That aside, the KabyLake models will probably run a little cooler and longer with some tasks, but there's no big difference between generations.

      As for NVMe support, the Nitros have it but those are not ultraportables. I can't remember of any smaller units with NVMe out of the top of my head, but I might be wrong.

      • Kris

        November 15, 2016 at 3:03 am

        What's up with the ComgyView panel? Seems to be IPS but in other models IPS is specifically called out.

        I'm looking at the 55DC misty pretty seriously now as it can be had for 700 USD. That's the current one offered here, but some open boxes with a 6500u, touch panel and a 512gb SSD run around 720 USD. I don't care so much about the touch panel, but I want the IPS. It also looks like the 7200u is obviously par with there 6500u.

        Are the panels roughly going to be equal (aside from touch)?

      • Andrei Girbea

        November 15, 2016 at 7:19 am

        ComfyView is just a marketing term, from what I know there are only IPS panels on this series, but there's a chance I'm wrong. Could try to contact the shop and ask about it. Still, this page mentions IPS:

      • Kris

        November 29, 2016 at 1:31 pm

        Thanks Andrei. I wanted to thank you for putting up these reviews as they've been very helpful in making my purchase decision. With your site and others, I was able to research my options thoroughly and go in prepared when it was time to buy.

        I picked the S13 up (371-DC55 version with a 7200U in it) a couple weeks ago. It ended up coming down to this one and a Yoga 900 that was an open box.

        It was a tough call as there was a lot about the Yoga I liked. My budget was $1000 USD. It ended up coming down to price as there was $200 difference ($300 if it wasn't opened). While I liked what the Yoga offered, I didn't find that the features didn't justify the extra money for my needs.

        That $200 savings allowed me to get a 2 year accident protection on it. Considering I have broken an ultrabook before (fell out of my bag onto a parking lot's pavement), I felt the money spent was worth the extra peace of mind.

        I also looked at the Asus UX306UA (Kaby version) and the UX390UA. Both are very nice, but I HATED their keyboards. Among the worst I've typed on, in my opinion.

        The S13 definitely has some compromises in it, but I think most of them would be ok by the average user. It checked most of my boxes for needs. Thunderbolt, PCIe SSD, and more memory and maybe a 7500U would have been nice, but would have driven up the cost. I don't like the track pad (Asus and Lenovo were much better), but the screen's decent and it performs well. I've also been able to run Kali Linux as a VM (fresh install) just fine on it as well. A clean install was also easy, but unlocking all the options in bios was a bit different than most other systems I've worked with. I updated to the latest 1.08 BIOS out of the box. The machine is very quiet and I barely hear the fan, if at all.

        For my needs, it's very thin and light and comfortable to work with. I bought this mostly for traveling. My main laptop is an MSI GT60 that's been heavily upgraded. But when you're sitting with a few minutes in an airport, it's just too bulky to get out and check email. The S13 fits the bill wonderfully.

        Overall, I think it's a solid buy, and I'd recommend it for those wanting a solid ultrabook that won't break the bank. It won't be the prettiest or best specced, but it'll definitely be a good workhorse.

        Overall, I'm happy with it.

        Thanks again,


      • Andrei Girbea

        November 29, 2016 at 1:54 pm

        Hi, thanks for your extensive feedback and I'm glad my posts were helpful.

  6. alex

    November 15, 2016 at 7:37 am

    any idea if the new bios update fixed the fan noise and temps? would the core i5 version run cooler and with less noise?

  7. Peter

    January 14, 2017 at 6:27 am

    Can you please review the Acer Swift 5
    Can get the same specifications as the s5.
    The only obvious difference being screen size 13.3/14 inch. Same weight too.

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 17, 2017 at 6:08 am

      Will ask for it, can't promise anything though

  8. Azif

    January 8, 2020 at 8:10 pm

    I havea same model (acer aspire s5-371-515E) but broken hinges and upper body.Possible to change the case?
    If someone knows about pls inform me

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