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Acer Chromebook Spin 13 review (i3-8130U CPU, 8 GB RAM, 64 GB eMMC)

Acer Chromebook Spin 13 review (i3-8130U CPU, 8 GB RAM, 64 GB eMMC)

We don’t typically review Chromebooks right here, however I’ve hung out with a handful of them through the years and witnessed how their performance has advanced.

This text is about one of many premium-tier Chromebooks of the second, and in addition one of many quickest: the Acer ChromeBook Spin 13. I’ve used it for the final three weeks and gathered my impressions under, with the robust factors and the quirks.

We’re not going to give attention to what Chromebooks are, what they will and can’t do, I’d reckon you’re already accustomed to the subject in case you’re on this product, however you possibly can head over to this text for those who’re not.

My article seems on the Spin 13 Chromebook from a Home windows consumer’s standpoint. I by no means really adopted a Chromebook as my moveable companion, however after spending the time with this one, I can see why a top-tier 2018 Chromebook could possibly be the correct decide for the typical consumer that wants a nicely made, snappy and straightforward to make use of pc for on a regular basis actions like searching, video, e-mail and so forth. The expertise continues to be restricted in some methods, and must be improved within the close to future in another methods, however there’s undoubtedly good worth on this product.

As a disclaimer, out check unit was a loaner from Acer and was returned after the article was revealed. It’s an early manufacturing model, thus some elements may change within the months to return, with OS updates and improved software program compatibility. We’ll speak about all these within the article.

Specs as reviewed

Acer Chromebook Spin 13 CP713-1WN-55HT
Display 13.5 inch, 2256 x 1504 px, three:2 facet ratio, IPS, contact, shiny
Processor Intel KabyLake-R Core i3-8130U
Video Intel UHD 620
Reminiscence 8 GB LPDDR3 (soldered)
Storage 64 GB eMMC
Connectivity Wi-fi AC , Bluetooth four.2
Ports 1x USB-A, 2x USB-C, microSD card-reader, mic/headphone
Battery 54 Wh, 45 W charger
OS Chrome OS 71
Measurement 310 mm or 12.16” (w) x 246 mm or 9.68” (d) x 16.9 mm or zero.66” (h)
Weight three.22 lbs (1.46 kg) + .6 lbs (.27 kg) charger, European model
Extras backlit keyboard, webcam, pen help

Acer provides the Chromebook Spin 13 in a number of totally different configurations, with both an eighth gen KabyLake-R Core i3 or i5 processor, 8 or 16 GB of RAM, in addition to 32 to 128 GB of space for storing. Our configuration is the worth purchase, the higher stability between efficiency and worth.

Design and first look

The Chromebook Spin 13 appears good, is made totally out of metallic and feels sturdy in hand, with a darkish ash shade scheme and some crude-aluminum beveled edges across the inside and touchpad.

There’s a bit of little bit of flex within the lid and within the keyboard deck, however you’ll barely even discover it in actual life use, because it has completely no impact on the display or the typing expertise.

Nevertheless, whereas I just like the aesthetics and the construct high quality, I can’t look previous the truth that that is big compared to a number of the 14-inch Home windows notebooks on the market, and even in comparison with the Pixelbook (12.1 x 9.7 x .66 vs 11.four x 8.7 x .four). It’s additionally thicker and pretty heavy at about three.2 lbs based on our scales (vs 2.four for the Pixelbook), however the weight is a minimum of partially justified by the large battery inside.

vs a modern 13-inch Windows convertible

vs a contemporary 13-inch Home windows convertible

Regardless, I haven’t seen this type of bezels for some time, and the feeling is amplified by the three:2 display ratio. Individuals have been complaining concerning the bezels on the Pixelbook, and Acer truly went with thicker ones on this Spin, one yr later.

Earlier than you bounce on me for evaluating the Spin to the Pixelbook, sure, I’m completely conscious that’s a costlier product with a smaller battery and totally different sort of hardware. However I nonetheless consider Acer might and will have made this Spin just a little smaller.

That aside although, the Spin 13 is pretty sensible. The display is maintain in place by two sturdy hinges, which permit to carry it up with a single hand, however you’ll nonetheless want each palms to push it previous 90 levels. This pc is a convertible, and the display goes again to 360-degrees, so you should use it as a daily pocket book, but in addition as a pill or in stand/tent modes. It’s principally been a laptop computer for me, sitting on the desk or in my lap, and I’d reckon it’s going to be the identical for many of you.

We’ll should get again to the PixelBook when speaking concerning the pill expertise, because the Spin 13 falls behind as soon as extra. The general design doesn’t permit the display half to take a seat flushly on prime of the primary physique whereas in pill mode, and in consequence the system is troublesome to carry and use. On prime of that, the Spin 13 can also be chunky and heavy for a pill, another reason why that is primarily meant for use as a laptop computer.

I do have one gripe with the pocket book mode as nicely: the sharp edges across the inside. The palm-rest is spacious and provides good arm help, however your wrists are going to lean on these edges when you’ll use this on a cramped desk, they usually gained’t prefer it a bit. That apart although, the Spin is a superb laptop computer and sits firmly anchored on the desk, because of the grippy ft on the underside.

The IO is slightly restricted, with two USB-C ports, a microSD card reader and a full-size USB-A port. There’s no HDMI, so that you’ll want an USB-C to HDMI adapter to push video to a bigger display. I might have additionally most popular a full-size card slot, however I perceive that one that would have completely match an SD card would have taken an excessive amount of area.

Keyboard and trackpad

This laptop computer is likely one of the most well-balanced typers I’ve acquired my arms on shortly.

The keys are nicely sized, really feel good to the contact and don’t journey very a lot contained in the body, identical to I choose. Nevertheless, their response is a bit tender and the actuation lacks a really exact click on, so whereas I used to be capable of sort faster than on most different keyboards, it took me some time to get the accuracy in examine.

This keyboard can also be backlit, and you may regulate the illumination degree by hitting Alt + the Brightness keys. Acer didn’t went with per-key illumination, however as an alternative with an array of LEDs unfold between keys, and in consequence mild creeps from between a number of the keys: F and G, N and M, H and J are probably the most seen, because the others are coated by the arms when typing.

I additionally observed that the illumination is all the time lively and doesn’t flip off after some time, like on different laptops, so that you’ll have to try this manually when wanted.

That apart, coming from a Home windows laptop computer, it took me some time to get used to the format. The usual set of keys are simply advantageous, nevertheless there are not any Perform keys on the prime or Residence/Finish/Del and so on., and no Home windows key both, so my thoughts needed to remap all of the shortcuts I used to be acquainted with from Home windows. It takes some time, and a handful of Google searches, however I acquired used to most of them throughout my time with this Chromebook. It might certainly take me longer than two weeks to simply accept Alt+Backspace for Delete although.

A clickpad is positioned beneath the keyboard, pretty spacious and exact with on a regular basis use. It’s a clean plastic floor, clearly indented from the palm-rest round, and responds shortly and precisely to swipes, faucets and gestures.

Nevertheless, mild two finger faucets aren’t all the time acknowledged, and the bodily clicks are additionally just a little clunky and stiff, so I struggled with right-clicks on this specific check unit.

Display

For the display Acer went with a 13.5-inch high-resolution IPS panel with three:2 facet ratio and contact, just like what you get with different premium ChromeBooks just like the Samsung Professional and Pixelbook.

It’s a great high quality panel, shiny sufficient for day by day use even in brilliant environments, with good distinction and pretty wealthy colours. It’s additionally sharp, and also you’ll have to regulate the font-size and look with a purpose to make issues large-enough for snug every day use.

I couldn’t discover any info on the panel’s hardwareID with the Android and Linux apps I’ve tried, thus you must search for different critiques which may shed extra technicalities on this matter. I can nevertheless share some particulars on the brightness, distinction and uniformity particulars captured with my Sypder four sensor.

  • Max brightness in the midst of the display: 316 cd/m2 on energy;
  • Distinction at max brightness: 1170:1;
  • White level: 7400 Okay;
  • Black on max brightness: zero.27 cd/m2.

Bear in mind my sensor measures brightness and distinction by shortly switching between a white and black picture, so the actual most brightness is somewhat larger, at round 350 nits.

It’s additionally essential to say that this display integrates a digitizer with Wacom EMR pen help, and a pen is included with the ultimate retail models of the Chromebook Spin 13. It’s tucked away contained in the laptop computer and it’s a lot as you’d anticipate from a contemporary passive pen: compact, mild, grippy, straightforward to make use of and responsive. My expertise with passive pens is pretty restricted, however I discovered this one snug to seize and use, very similar to a daily pen, in addition to correct for drawing, sketching and taking fast notes. My solely nit is with the palm rejection, as Inkscape nonetheless data some undesirable arm swipes when resting the hand over the display.

Hardware and on a regular basis expertise

As I discussed at first, we received to check the Core i3 variant of the Chromebook Spin 13, with 8 GB of RAM and 64 GB of eMMC storage.

These can be entry-level specs for a Home windows laptop computer, however don’t overlook the Spin 13 is a Chromebook, and truly one of the crucial highly effective choices on the market, as most others are based mostly on Core Y or lower-end hardware. Sure, the storage is somewhat sluggish and the space for storing pretty restricted for those who plan to retailer offline content material, however in any other case this pc is lightning quick.

 

I haven’t observed any sluggishness or stuttering with on a regular basis searching, not even with 30-40 tabs open on the similar time, Youtube operating within the background and multitasking between totally different apps and websites. Such masses would have introduced a equally specked Home windows laptop computer to its knees, however not this Chromebook.

In the event you’re occupied with benchmark scores, I’ve added some under, in addition to a reference to the Core Y i5 powered Pixelbook (based mostly on these outcomes), as a way to see how a lot quicker the Spin 13 is.

Spin 13 Pixelbook
Basemark three.zero 512.9
Jetstream 1.1 161.12 144.78
Geekbench four – Single 4267 4073
Geekbench four – Multi 8642 7480
Octane 33487 32334
WebXPRT 2015 463 441
WebXPRT three 167

The Pixelbook nonetheless wins on the storage division, with help for quicker PCIe SSDs (on the Core i7 variants), however the Spin 13 Chromebook can deal with multitasking and demanding masses slightly smoother because of the extra highly effective CPUs inside. The i5 Core Y comes shut of the i3 Core U, however don’t the Spin 13 will get a considerably quicker quad-core i5 with as much as 16 GB of RAM on the upper tier configurations. This may be overkill for on a regular basis use, nevertheless it might show helpful for those who plan to run Android and particularly extra demanding Linux apps in your pc.

So far as the software program goes, ChromeOS is predicated across the Google Chrome browser and may do just about all the things you are able to do with Chrome on a Home windows laptops or Mac. On prime of that, ChromeBooks have been capable of run Android apps from the Play Retailer for some time now, there’s no actual information right here. Our Spin 13 dealt with high-quality all of the apps we tried, together with some video games like Heartstone, Kingdom Rush or Asphalt 9. Nevertheless, not all Android apps scale superb on the three:2 high-resolution display and even work in fullscreen, thus the expertise continues to be missing right here and there.

On prime of that, you must correctly arrange the Android apps you’ll need in your pc, in any other case you’ll find yourself with complicated duplicates. As an example, Maps, Spotify or Gmail run as browser tabs by default on ChromeOS, however you may also discover devoted apps within the Play Retailer. I’d advocate sticking with the usual tabs when attainable and solely set up Play Retailer apps when there’s no different various.

The novelty with the Spin 13 is improved Linux app help, which is coming to different Chromebooks within the close to future. We ran the official ChromeOS 71 construct on the Dev channel on our unit, and Linux help continues to be in Beta, however practical to some extent.

My expertise with Linux could be very restricted, however I used to be capable of simply set up apps like LibreOffice, Gimp or Inkscape with simply primary Console instructions. It’s a must to set up these from the Console, however you’ll have the ability to entry them from the app drawer afterwards. The Linux expertise on ChromeOS is predicated on a Crostini container, which is in a simplified means “Linux for beginners” and looks like operating Linux inside ChromeOS. Venture Crostini continues to be in its infancy although, lacks sure options like GPU acceleration, audio and others, and is just supported by a handful of ChromeBooks. This could change within the months to return although, control this Reddit matter for updates.

With Linux correctly carried out, you possibly can additionally run Home windows apps on a Chromebook with Wine. I wasn’t capable of set up Wine on this pattern, however I might run some primary Home windows apps with Crossover, which is an Android app that may emulate Home windows purposes on Intel based mostly units. This enables to put in Steam and a few older video games, amongst others, however I didn’t get to correctly give it a attempt one this laptop computer.

All in all, ChromeOS has come a great distance since our final encounter. It’s quick, safe and secure for the on a regular basis consumer, in addition to nicer polished on these newer iterations, particularly in pill mode, even when the Spin 13 shouldn’t be essentially probably the most ergonomic ChromeBook in pill mode. It’s nevertheless one of many higher specked choices on the market, and paired with improved Linux help within the near-future, it could turn out to be a extra versatile and extra succesful pc than any of the Chromebooks of the previous years.

Noise, Warmth, Connectivity, audio system and others

There’s a fan contained in the Chromebook Spin 13, required to maintain the Core U processor at bay in demanding masses.

 

That additionally interprets in air grills on the stomach and on the again edge, which take a toll on the design and even performance in sure instances (harder to carry in pill mode, air intakes shouldn’t be coated, and so forth).

Nevertheless, the fan stays utterly quiet with on a regular basis use on our i3 configuration, and solely kicks in when the system is plugged in and runs extra demanding masses, like a recreation, thus the lively cooling has no unfavourable influence on the every day expertise, apart from these aforementioned design inconveniences. The fan retains pretty quiet with video games, spiking to about 35-36 dB at head degree, and it stays lively for some time after turning off the demanding masses, however at utterly inaudible noise ranges.

The Spin 13 runs cool with on a regular basis multitasking and demanding masses, its metallic surfaces averaging temperatures within the low 30s with every day use and excessive 30s with extra taxing chores.

*Every day Use – searching in Chrome for 30+ minutes, 10+ opened tabs
*Gaming – gaming on Asphalt 9 for 30+ minutes

There’s Wi-fi AC and Bluetooth four.2 on this Chromebook, and the built-in wi-fi answer is quick and dependable, each close to the router and at longer distances, at 30+ ft away from the router, with obstacles in between.

The audio system on this thins are surprisingly good. They peak at about 80 dB at head-level and the sound popping out is clear, with no distortions at excessive volumes, in addition to fairly wealthy for this class, with truthful mids and highs, but in addition some respectable lows, noticeable from round 75 Hz. Simply take into account that as a consequence of their placement on the underside, these are pretty simply to cowl and muffle whereas utilizing the pc on the lap.

There’s additionally a digital camera on the prime of the display, and like with most laptops obtainable nowadays, it’s alright for infrequent calls, however nonetheless relatively mediocre when it comes to picture high quality,e specifically in dimmer locations.

Battery life

This laptop computer will get a 54 Wh 4670 mAh battery, bigger than on most Chromebooks and a partial justification for the Spin’s elevated weight.

We weren’t capable of run HWinfo on this laptop computer and can’t give you out normal battery discharge logs. Nevertheless, we acquired round 7-8 hours of day by day use and shopping, in addition to round 10 hours of Netflix streaming on our check unit, with the display set at round 40% brightness, roughly 120-140 nits.

That’s not dangerous in any respect, however on the similar time shorter than you will get from options with lower-power hardware, regardless of these packing smaller batteries. That was to be anticipated although, and this nonetheless outlasts a Home windows laptop computer with comparable specs.

Acer pairds the Spin 13 Chromebook with a regular, pretty compact and lightweight, 45 Wh charger and a full-recharge takes slightly over 2 hours.

Worth and availability

The Chromebook Spin 13 is available in shops around the globe as of late October 2018, in a bunch of configurations.

The bottom model features a Core i3-8130U, 8 GB of RAM and 64 GB eMMC storage for round $700-$750, whereas upgrading to the i5 processor will value round $100, and upgrading additional extra to 16 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage an additional $100.

In different phrases, round $900 will get you the i5-8250U configuration with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, and $950 the 16 GB/128 GB variant.

These are MSRP costs at launch, they usually’ll undoubtedly drop over time. Comply with this hyperlink for up to date costs and configurations on the time you’re studying the article.

Ultimate ideas

I’ve learn some hyped articles claiming the Spin 13 is the perfect Chromebook ever made, however whereas my expertise with this product has been surprisingly constructive, I nonetheless don’t assume that is the neatest selection for everybody, and right here’s why.

Sure, the Chromebook Spin 13 checks most, if not all the correct bins. It’s nicely constructed, it appears good, it will get a very good display with an included EMR pen, punchy audio system and a quick keyboard. It’s additionally extra highly effective than most different Chromebooks available on the market and nonetheless lasts for a good whereas on every cost regardless of that, because of the large battery inside. On prime of those, the three:2 display helps productiveness with its elevated real-estate and the on a regular basis expertise is smoother than on even probably the most highly effective Home windows laptops on the market, from the fast response when switching between apps and tabs, to how shortly this resumes out of sleep and the superb standby battery life.

Nevertheless… the Spin 13 Chromebook can also be giant, heavy and costly for what it’s, thus I really feel that the typical consumer would discover higher worth in both one of many extra reasonably priced mid-range Chromebooks of the second, and even the nicer polished and extra compact Pixelbook, which lately begins at round $800 (for the i5/8 Gb/128 GB model). And we’re not even going to say the multitude of extra succesful Home windows notebooks obtainable for beneath $1000 nowadays.

The Spin 13 ChromeBook could possibly be the appropriate decide for power-users, these of you who plan to place its highly effective hardware to good work, however enhancements in Linux help are required imo to enhance its versatility. With VSCode and Wine working easily sooner or later sooner or later, this laptop computer could possibly be greater than only a Chromebook with quick specs, a quick pc for the geekier amongst you. As it’s on the time of this text although, I really feel that it’s caught someplace in no-mans-land: too costly for the typical consumer, and never but capable-enough for power-users, regardless of packing hardware and traits like few different Chromebooks.

That’s about it for my impressions of the Acer ChromeBook Spin 13, however as I discussed from the start, I’m not a ChromeBook consumer and thus have checked out this one from the subjective perspective of a Home windows consumer, so be happy so as to add your opinions and questions within the feedback sections under.

Andrei Girbea, Editor-in-Chief of Ultrabookreview.com. I have been masking cellular computer systems because the 2000s and you will principally discover evaluations and thorough guides written by me right here on the location.