In the past year, Acer has rebranded their laptop line-up launching the new Swift and Spin range. Their names are a bit of a giveaway, with the Spin being the convertible line while the Swift is the normal ultraportable.
The Spin range comes in 3 varieties, the 3, 5 and 7. The line-up is a little confusing though, as you can imagine the higher the number the better the laptop but it is not quite as simple as that.
The Spin 3 uses an FHD 15” screen and has processors from i3-6100U through to i7-7500U which all use the U variant CPU, which are higher clocked but use a lot more energy.
The Spin 5 uses a 13.3” FHD screen with SPUS from i3-6006U to i5-6200U, again the U variety.
The Spin 7 increases the screen size to FHD 14” and uses the Intel Core i7-7Y75 processor 1.30 GHz. This CPU is a rebranded M variety which is the ultra-low power mobile chips. So in terms of computing power, it is quite a bit less than the 7500U that the Spin 3 uses but it uses around a 1/3rd of the energy, so you will get a significantly better battery out of it.
The Spin 3 is particularly unusual in this line-up as weighs in at 4.74 lb / 2.15kg vs 3.53 lb / 1.6kg that both the Spin 5 and 7 weighs.
So technically you could buy a Spin 3 that is both cheaper and more powerful than the Spin 7. However, it will be a lot bigger.
After all that, I was sent the flagship Acer Spin 7 to review it is priced at £1200 but you can currently get it for £950 on the UK Acer site with the code SPIN7.
It's full specification includes:
- Intel® Core™ i7-7Y75 Processor (4M Cache, up to 3.60 GHz)
- Windows 10 Home 64-bit
- 14″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 IPS Touchscreen, Acer CineCrystal™
- 8 GB, LPDDR3 + 256GB SSD
- Ultra-slim and light design – 14″ Corning® Gorilla® Glass screen on a 13″ chassis
- Dolby Audio™ Premium sound, enhanced with Acer TrueHarmony™
- Up to 8h battery life
If you have not used a high-end ultraportable before you will be amazed at how thin and light they are. Acer keeps up with this trend, weighing in at approximately 1.6KG it is extremely easy to carry, combined with its thin bezels and ultra-thin frame you should be able to fit it comfortable in a relatively small messenger bag and carry it around all day with no issues. The all-metal design gives it a great sturdy build, and the hinges are nice and firm while also being smooth.
One of the things I noticed quickly was the absence of traditional USB ports, this obviously aids the svelte appearance but is a little annoying for practicality. There are 2 USB 3.1 Type C ports, which is at least more generous than the (new) Macbook. One of the ports is used for charging too, so you will frequently be left with just one port. Unfortunately, the ports are not Thunderbolt compatible, so this reduces peripheral expansion slightly. Acer at least provides an adapter so you can use legacy devices.
The keyboard uses chiclet keys and these are nice and responsive. There is not much travel, which is understandable due to the thin nature of the laptop. Typing for prolong periods of time was quite comfortable but there is no backlighting, this doesn’t bother me too much personally, but it might others.
The touchpad is oversized and has multitouch which accepts swipes and gestures. There are no dedicated left and right click buttons, which I much prefer. I found it quite comfortable to use but I do find myself right clicking instead of left clicking a lot on laptops like this.
The speakers are quite loud for such a small laptop, but they are not really good for prolonged listening. The bass is severely lacking and they can be quite tinny. All of which are to be expected on such a thin laptop.
Due to its low-powered CPU, the Spin 7 is fanless which makes it much more pleasant to work with in quiet environments. My old fashioned 15.6” laptop makes quite a lot of noise after a short period of use, and I find it quite distracting. For all day to day use such as web browsing, streaming, editing Word documents, Outlook, FTP etc I noticed no issues with the low powered mobile chip compared to the beefier U variants. If you want to do some serious gaming or graphic work, you might have issues, but that’s not really what this is designed for.
Again, thanks to the low powered mobile chip, you should get plenty of use out of the Spin 7 when not plugged in. I didn’t do a proper test on the exact length of time between charges but I was regularly getting well over 5 hours with a moderate screen brightness. It should be enough for any commute and you could even get most of a day’s work done without needing to charge.
The screen is quite pleasant to use, it using a 1080P IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass. Far better than the cheaper laptops I have reviewed previously, but if you are coming for an equally expensive laptop, you may not be as impressed. At this screen size, I don’t feel the need for a resolution higher than 1080P. Especially when it will sacrifice performance and battery.
Flipping it into tent or tablet mode works just fine. I am not a big fan of using Windows 10 in tablet mode but using tent mode to watch media and the touchscreen to control it is excellent.
The 256GB SSD drive is excellent and is just about big enough to have all your programs installed and store plenty of documents. But you absolutely can not horde data on it, and due to the ultra-thin nature of the laptop, replacing the SSD is practically impossible.
I have to be honest, my opinion is slightly biased in that I don’t have much frame of reference. The last couple of laptop reviews I have done were the Acer Chromebook and the Bush Eluma which are not even close to being comparable devices.
However, I have enjoyed my time with the Acer Spin 7. It is an excellent convertible laptop, that is perfect for travelling or commuting. While I wouldn’t want it to be my main work computer I could quite happily work on it for a few of days while travelling or whatever.
The Spin 7 is priced competitively, and with the current discount, I would say it is well worth the money. At the RRP it is still priced well, for example, it is cheaper than the Dell XPS 13, Lenovo Yoga 910 and HP Spectre.