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The Acer Spin 5 is an excellent laptop for its price. Starting at $700, the convertible 2-in-1 notebook overflows with useful features including a modern build, stylus pen, HD touchscreen, long-lasting battery and healthy range of ports.
For everything that it offers, if it were any cheaper, it'd be a no-brainer. As is, it's a great option for anyone interested in a solid middle-of-the-road laptop, but it's also not likely to catch anyone's eye or inspire great works of creativity.
The new Acer Spin 5 models comes in 13- and 15-inch versions. New features include its all-metal build, the latest 8th-gen Intel Core processors, a sharper screen, improved stylus support and better keyboard. The 13-inch unit we reviewed (SP513-52N-58WW) costs $700.
The Acer Spin 5 is stylishly modern. Its metal build is sleek and feels solid as a rock. On the downside, it more than a little heavy, weighing 3.31 pounds. New 13-inch convertibles from Samsung and HP each weigh under 2.5 pounds, so that's a significant difference.
It comes with an active stylus that works well for taking notes and casual drawing. Unfortunately, there's no place to store the stylus on the laptop.
Though it wasn't made specifically for watching video, the Spin 5 made for a surprisingly satisfying TV alternative. Its sharp and bright screen displayed life-like colors with wide viewing angles, and the speakers, located above the keyboard, are satisfyingly loud. Audio quality suffers at maximum volume with shrill highs, but lowering the volume helps avoid the distortion.
The tent mode was especially useful for watching video in a tight space. The laptop's hinges were sturdy and held position firmly. However, the speakers face the opposite direction of the screen when positioned this way, directing sound away from the viewer. A small but noticeable nuisance.
Thick bezels slightly take away from the Acer's otherwise slick trimmings. Bezels can really make a laptop feel cheap, but everything else on the laptop tends to make up for it.
While the Acer Spin 5 can transform into a tablet, it's bulky and cumbersome to use as such. It's fine if set on a flat surface for writing on it like a piece of paper, but it's too heavy to leisurely hold up like a book. Most of the 2-in-1 laptops we review really seem intended to be used as clamshell laptops most of the time, with only occasional forays into tablet territory, if ever.
Performance was mostly swift and smooth. The Microsoft Edge browser crashed on me a few times, but I had no issues after I switched to a Chrome browser. Intel's new 8th-gen CPUs have proven themselves to be strong performers in the handful of systems we've already tested with the new parts.
The laptop impressively powers on quickly, even if the battery just died. Not that that was often a problem. Battery life was satisfyingly long for both a full day's work and streaming tons of video. In streaming video tests (looping a 720p video) it lasted a little over eight and a half hours.
The full-size backlit keyboard and touchpad were comfortable to use. It has a fingerprint reader that's compatible with Windows Hello located within the border of the touchpad's chamfered edges. Most slim laptops these days skimp out on the ports, so it's a big plus that the Spin 5 has so many USB ports, plus HDMI and an SD card slot (which is rapidly vanishing from other laptops these days).
The Acer Spin 5 is reasonably priced for everything it offers. It has all the features most people need and more. While the stylus isn't its biggest selling point, it's a useful tool that adds value to the convertible notebook. If it's within your budget, I'd give it serious consideration, even if the plain styling and modest screen resolution isn't particularly flashy.
|PC Geekbox||Acer Spin 5|
|Price as reviewed||$700|
|Display size/resolution||13.3-inch, 1,920x1,080 touch-display|
|PC CPU||1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8250U|
|PC Memory||8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz|
|Graphics||128MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics 620|
|Networking||802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.1|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home (64-bit)|