The Acer Chromebook 13 spin is an exhibition for high-powered performance, stunning displays, and a magic wand in the form of a stylus.
How often do you get to see a convertible Chromebook with a QHD resolution display, an eight-generation Intel processor, and most importantly a boldly pricey sticker to boot, my guess is not too often.
This is not your typical run-of-the-mill, bargain-basement Chromebook, it has enough power and poise to give the regular windows laptops a run for their money.
Design and Appearance
The chassis of the Acer Chromebook 13 Spin gets its svelte styling from a silvery-gray colored profile of aluminum alongside a keyboard layout accented with black coloring. It looks easy- or even simple on the eyes, but it sports a tactile firmness that makes it such a good grab.
Hinges take on more prominent roles in 2-in-1s, and the hinges on this device get the memo. They sport a distinct luster and a sturdy but flexible utility, allowing for ease of handling and seamless, wobble-free 360-degree rotation. This device transforms from a clamshell to tent mode and then tablet in no time, and with minimal fuss too. The screen is clad in the scratch-resistant and protective coating of Corning Gorilla Glass, and although this comes at the cost of some little screen glossiness, it looks more like leverage than extra baggage.
The Chromebook Spin 13 weighs in at about 3.31pounds and thins down to 17mm, it is not exactly the most portable Chromebook around, it even feels a little unwieldy in tablet mode. Still, it can just as easily be held in one hand by gripping the beveled edges at the lid, or more conveniently be fit into a small bag and slung across one arm for a trip to the office. It is fitted with four studs under the carriage that gives needed uplift for the air vents and speakers to make their presence felt and heard.
Ports and Connection
The port selection on this Chromebook is more conservative with options than it is with function. It comes with a Micro SD card slot to supplement the laptop’s meager base storage capacity, not one but two USB Type-C ports with which the Chromebook can be charged on one end, with ensuing data transfer or media streaming on the other. In addition to that, a Type-A USB 3.0 port, a volume rocker, and a headphone jack make up the ensemble.
The omission of an HDMI port from the lineup puts a little damper on the Chromebooks’ claims for top stakes in the productivity leaderboard. You can always opt for a Type-C adapter to make up for that blip, and this laptop comes with two Type-C ports for good measure.
The 802.11ac WiFi, with 2.4GHz and 5GHz dual-band support and a Bluetooth 4.2 feature provides premium Chromebook-grade bandwidth to keep your device connected.
Keyboard and Input devices
The keys are spread out island-style around the keyboard deck, they have a cushiony feel with a decent travel distance, and sport a backlight that is perpetually powered on.
The omission of the function keys and NumPad will not go down well with some people, but Acer will rather leave it out than cramp it into a deck with a scanty footprint.
The touchpad gets a smooth, sensitive, and easily navigable metallic surface, along with gesture support that makes things a lot more snappy.
Then there is the Wacom EMR stylus, armed with a generous fill of pressure levels, a girth that encourages grip, and a gait that is perfect for making impressions on the touchscreen. It is tucked away under the front-most right corner of the keyboard deck and is sensor-wired to launch the notes app once it leaves its sheath.
The speakers on this Chromebook are sited under the carriage, it is not the choicest of locations, and it rubs off on the quality of audio that is served, and that is despite the provision of studs around the corners. In the traditional clamshell form, the volume and bass are bereft of substance and nuance, as they lose their power while bouncing out against undercarriage surfaces before they get a shot at filling up an earshot range of coverage.
The audio goes from bad to worse in tablet mode, the audio is stifled, headphones are your best and only option here. It does get better in tent mode though as there is enough clearance to unleash the speakers, only then can you really enjoy the sounds from this device.
The display style of this Chromebook goes against the grains, it sports an unconventional 2256 x 1504 resolution to start with. In addition to that, chunky top and bottom bezels balance out the verticality of the 3:2 aspect ratio screen and subsequently imparts the display with an apparent boxiness.
Then there is a 201ppi value and a brightness that peaks at about 362nits, the result is a vibrant display with sharp visuals and higher dynamic ranges.
While the richer displays of the similarly priced Google Pixelbook and similarly sized Microsoft Surface Book 2 are a tough act to follow, very few people can complain about the quality of the display on offer here.
This Chromebook gets support from intels’ UHD 620 graphics card, it is not top-shelf quality so it does not pull up with any surprises.
It’s a Chromebook after all, not exactly the go-to for graphic designers, but it still suffices for some decent work on Photoshop Mix or Photoshop Sketch.
And this device can call on the clarity of a QHD display in addition to a fairly decent coverage of the RGB color gamut.
The Google Pixelbook Pro and the HP Chromebook 2-in-1 both use the Intel UHD GPU and still reel out better graphics, though they get bigger RAM to work with.
On the flip side, there are a ton of design apps on the Google store that are the right fix for this Chromebook, and they are just an internet connection away from access.
The choices available to gamers are pretty straightforward with the Acer Chromebook 13 spin, you get to choose from a copious repertoire of Android games in the google play store, or stream games over a web-based app.
With the introduction of Stadia-Google’s cloud-based gaming platform to the Chromebook, gamers can now be treated to some of the best titles like Borderland 3 and Doom Eternal from the AAA gaming repository. Alternatively, Android games like asphalt 9 and PUBG are also playable, while big hitters like Arcane Legends and Web-quake can be streamed over the web with a strong internet connection to boot.
The 2021 Flagship Acer Chromebook 15.6″ is a bigger screen option for a better gaming experience, as is the Google Pixelbook which looks like the standard for everything Chromebook, and of course the Chromebook R11, and of course the Chromebook R11.
The battery of this Chromebook puts up a good showing for the better part of its lifecycle, although it bears the brunt of a power-hungry processor and a high-resolution display.
The Chromebooks’ Core i5-8250U processor has a Thermal Design Power (TDP) of 15 watts, a significant power draw, add the ample fill of pixels dotting the 13.5″ screen, and the marker is laid down quite nicely and dauntingly.
The 45Wh battery rises to the challenge, its estimated runtime of 10 hours will suffice for a full days’ worth of regular work. Tuning down on performance settings and display resolution should flatten the rundown curve a little, and buy you more time to do some more serious work over the Internet.
Cooling and Noise Emission
Most Chromebooks are passively cooled as they have no fans, not the Acer spin 13, a fan is fitted inside the carriage, and it works in conjunction with a couple of vents to keep this Chromebook running cool and smooth, like the Spin 5.
The system only heats up only when the vents clog up, and the fans go into overdrive in response to the extra workload. However, it is a problem that can be easily sorted out, so in essence, this Chromebook will keep it’s cool and calm for the most part.
Armed with an 8th Generation quad-core Intel Core i5-8250U processor, in addition to 8GB of memory and 64GB of flash storage, this device will deliver Chromebook-standard performance at a canter.
The Spin 13 is shipped in different hardware configurations, the RAM is mostly not upgradable, while 100GB of cloud storage is the silver lining in the mix.
The Chrome OS is still capable of powering this laptop, regardless of the memory and storage capacity on offer, and with a little help, regular window-based apps can now be optimized to run on this Chromebook.
Regular Chromebook tasks like web browsing and email activities are a walk in the park for this device, for more advanced tasks like video transcoding and word processing, the spin 13 can invoke the graft of its four Hyper-Threaded cores, and a 3.4GHz turbo peak.
With this power running in full swing, apps run faster, the visuals turn out sharper with little to no lagging, and Chrome-based browsing with loads of open tabs running simultaneously in the foreground is possible.
The typical Chromebook is a budget-friendly, casual use device at best, or a dirt-cheap, chrome-heavy device at worst, but the Acer Chromebook bucks the trend with its bold price tag and high-powered performance.
This Chromebook offers valuable returns in the quality of its display, powerful processor performance, and fairly enduring battery life to boot.
The components on its ensemble are a stellar cast, from the USB Type-C connectors to the gilt-edge stylus, then there is a brilliant IPS panel QHD display, and a processor that can make a run for anything inside and outside of the Google Playstore.
This Chromebook (even the Spin 11) is still heavily reliant on cloud storage and a speedy internet connection, but if we were to rate this device by Chromebook standards, then the Acer Chromebook Spin 13 is just about inching closer to a Windows-level device.
Quad-Core Intel Core i5-8250U
128 GB eMMC
Intel UHD Graphics 620
IPS, 2256 x 1504 pixels
Up to 10 hours