Acer Chromebook Spin 13 evaluate: A flexible and inexpensive Chromebook with spectacular battery life Assessment

Acer tends to focus extra on the buyer and training markets today, and it produces an intensive vary of Chromebook laptops for training customers. However, as we have seen with the Chromebook 13, the corporate’s high-end Chromebooks have so much to supply enterprise customers as nicely — particularly for those who’re in search of a extra inexpensive different to Google’s costly Pixelbook.

At first look, the Spin 13 seems similar to the Chromebook 13 — and Acer’s considerably cavalier method to its mannequin numbering system does not assist if you’re shopping by the varied fashions and configurations which might be out there. Nearer examination does reveal some vital variations, nonetheless.

Chrome convertible

Just like the Chromebook 13, the Spin 13 has a 13.5-inch show with a decision of two,256 by 1,504 pixels (200.8dpi), with the three:2 facet ratio that is turning into more and more widespread for shopping the online and doc modifying (“18% extra top!”, says Acer).

The Chromebook 13 has a reasonably standard clamshell laptop computer design, however the Spin 13 is a convertible 2-in-1 mannequin, with a reversible display screen that may fold again and be used as a stand for giving shows or watching streaming video. The display screen can be touch-sensitive, permitting you to make use of the Spin 13 as a big pill when the display screen is folded proper again onto the keyboard — the keyboard is routinely deactivated in pill mode, so you do not have to fret about urgent the keys by mistake.

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The Chromebook Spin 13 is a 13.5-inch convertible laptop computer working Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processors. It weighs 1.25kg.


Photographs: Acer

There is a stylus included within the worth as nicely, which slots into the bottom of the keyboard for safe-keeping if you’re on the transfer. Acer pays good consideration to element right here, with a sensor contained in the stylus holder that routinely launches the Notes app if you take away the stylus. The Notes app will be launched from the lock-screen as nicely, permitting you to shortly seize the gadget and jot down a number of notes or doodles with out having to log in along with your password — you may’t launch every other apps with out logging in, so the worst safety danger is that somebody writes you a impolite notice.

Design & options

The design and construct high quality of the Spin 13 are spectacular for a tool with a beginning worth of simply £699.99 (inc. VAT; £583.33 ex. VAT, or $799.99). The silvery-grey aluminium casing seems sensible and businesslike, and likewise feels very sturdy, so we would not have any qualms about slipping it right into a briefcase or backpack when it is time to hit the highway. The sting-to-edge display screen seems extra elegant than the chunky steel border that surrounds the show of the Chromebook 13, and the scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass offers extra safety if you’re travelling.

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Many low-cost laptops compromise on show high quality, but it surely’s onerous to fault the show on the Spin 13. The picture is vivid, sharp and vibrant, and nicely suited to internet shopping and even graphics and design work (a key audience, if the tattooed hipsters adorning Acer’s web site are any indication). Viewing angles are good too, with the picture remaining vivid and clear proper by Acer’s quoted 178 levels, so the Spin 13 will work nicely for on-the-road shows or simply leaning again and watching some streaming video.

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The keyboard gives a cushty typing platform.


Picture: Acer

The keyboard feels good and agency, permitting you to kind comfortably utilizing productiveness apps, such because the native model of Microsoft Workplace 365. It is nicely related too, with its 802.11ac wi-fi and Bluetooth complemented by a pair of USB three.1 ports, one USB three.zero, a slot for a MicroSD reminiscence card, and a three.5mm headphone socket.  

If there’s any minor signal of compromise it lies in the truth that the Spin 13 is not the lightest or most compact laptop computer on this measurement class. The sting-to-edge glass of the Spin 13 does look extra elegant than the somewhat old style steel border discovered on the show of the Chromebook 13, however the 13.5-inch viewing space does nonetheless have a fairly massive ‘useless zone’ border working across the edges. This makes it noticeably bigger and heavier than rivals corresponding to Apple’s not too long ago revamped MacBook Air, with the Spin 13 measuring 309mm broad, 246mm deep and 17mm thick, and weighing 1.5kg. In distinction, the MacBook Air boasts a extra streamlined width of 304mm, depth of 212.4mm, and 15.6mm thickness, with a weight of simply 1.25kg.

In fact, the Spin 13 does really feel somewhat ungainly when held within the palms and utilized in its pill mode — and you’ll’t actually maintain it in a single hand for any size of time both. Even so, it is nonetheless good to have that pill mode and the stylus out there for writing and sketching with the Spin 13 resting in your lap or a desk.

Worth & choices

The Spin 13 is way extra inexpensive than the MacBook Air, which has a beginning worth of £1,199 (inc. VAT; £999.17 ex. VAT or $1,199). Our entry-level evaluate unit included an Intel Core i3-8130U with 8GB of RAM and a 64GB SSD, and price simply £699.99 (inc. VAT; £583.33 ex. VAT or $799.99). The restricted inner storage may deter some folks though, like all Chromebooks, the Spin 13 is designed to rely totally on Google’s free cloud storage, or its personal MicroSD slot for extra storage.

SEE: 17 ideas for shielding Home windows computer systems and Macs from ransomware (free PDF)

As talked about, that Core i3 configuration may be very a lot the entry-level choice, and Acer additionally gives a Core i5 mannequin that doubles the storage to 128GB for £849.99 (inc. VAT; £708.33 ex. VAT or $899.99 — and US clients even have the choice to double the RAM to 16GB for an additional $100). Acer’s UK web site additionally gives a top-of-the-range Core i7 configuration (which presently appears to be absent from the corporate’s US web site) costing £999.99 (inc. VAT; £833.33 ex. VAT) with an imposing quad-core Core i7-8550U, together with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD.

Efficiency & battery life

The twin-core Core i3-8130U processor in our evaluate unit might sound comparatively modest, however its 2.2GHz clock velocity offers a Turbo Increase speed-bump to three.4GHz. This achieved a fairly respectable rating of 245 when working the Chromebook CrxPRT benchmarks. That is a comparable rating to that of the Core i5-based Chromebook 13 that we examined not too long ago, and the Spin 13 felt clean and responsive when utilized in each laptop computer and pill modes, and needs to be greater than enough for working normal productiveness apps if you’re on the transfer. And, after all, the Core i5 and Core i7 choices are additionally out there for extra demanding duties if required.

The Core i3 processor additionally helps to ship spectacular battery life. With its show set to (a nonetheless completely viewable) 50 % brightness, the Spin 13 managed to final for 10.5 hours of streaming video utilizing the BBC iPlayer, so it ought to actually have the ability to see you thru a full day’s work, adopted by a bit of off-duty internet shopping as nicely. And, whereas there is a pair of somewhat massive cooling vents on the bottom and rear fringe of the unit, the Spin 13 ran admirably cool and quiet all through a number of days of testing.

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The design and construct high quality of the Spin 13 are spectacular for a tool with a beginning worth of simply £699.99 (inc. VAT, or $799.99) 


Picture: Acer

Conclusions

Chromebooks are nonetheless looking for their area of interest within the Home windows-dominated company world, but it surely’s onerous to disclaim the sheer worth for cash provided by units such because the Spin 13. A Home windows laptop computer providing this construct high quality and battery life at such a aggressive worth would fly off the cabinets, and it is solely the relative youth of the Chrome working system and its reliance on on-line storage and connectivity which may give enterprise customers cause to assume twice. However for those who’re merely in search of an inexpensive workhorse laptop computer that may deal with internet shopping and Microsoft Workplace all day lengthy, then the convertible Spin 13 has so much to supply.

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