I was ready to hate the Pro 13 because the cursor keeps jumping around when I type, making it difficult to complete sentences. But I tried three machines without problems at a Sony store in
Once that got fixed, the laptop worked fine. The laptop hinge serves as a kickstand when open to prop up the keyboard, making it slightly easier to type.
I consistently got more than the seven hours of battery life promised for general Web surfing and word processing. I reached 8.5 hours once with Wi-Fi turned off. Battery life drops below six hours, though, for iTunes video download and
— Aspire S7 from
The Aspire has what I want in a laptop, except for the price.
The laptop's aluminum body is covered on one side with glossy white glass. It reminds me of a refrigerator, but I came to appreciate the durability it brings once I started lugging it around. It's also fairly light, at 2.87 pounds.
You can flip its screen all the way back so that both the keyboard and the screen are level with the surface, just like a tablet on a tabletop. I can't think of any scenarios in which I would need that, though Acer says it's good for presentations. Just press Function-O on the keyboard and the image on the screen rotates 90 degrees at a time, allowing you to show something to others sitting at your table.
Acer's website promises eight hours of battery life. I exceeded nine hours with Wi-Fi off and got seven to 8.5 hours of general Web surfing. But I got less than six hours of iTunes video and
Two complaints about the design: The power button is near the hole for the charger, so I accidentally turned the machine off by mistake several times. Acer also places the "page up" and "page down" keys next to the arrows to move the cursor. So instead of moving the cursor one line up, I've often moved it a whole page up or down and lost my train of thought.
I also had the cursor jump around when I first used it. A replacement unit Acer sent me to review worked without a hitch. I eventually noticed the first machine had the touchpad-sensitivity settings missing, even after resetting the unit to factory conditions and downloading new software for the touchpad.
My advice is to check return policies in case you run into trouble.
Whatever you choose, these are all great machines that will give you several hours of use on a single charge — as long as you can afford them.
Dell XPS 12: http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-12-9q33/pd
Acer Aspire S7: http://acer.com/aspires7
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