As part of my trip to Glasgow for Acer's Live Blog, I tested Acer's new series of convertible laptops called the Spin series. There are three laptops as part of this series namely the 3, 5 and 7. Acer has developed their new lines focusing on entry (3), better (5) and best (7). All laptops in this article are running the latest version of Windows 10 Pro.
I'm currently writing this blog post on the Acer Spin 5, which I will go into more within this article along with the two other laptops within in the range.
Acer Spin 3
The Acer Spin 3 is the entry level laptop part of the Spin series. It offers a 14" full HD IPS touch screen on a 13" chassis with up to 8 hours battery life. It is an ultra thin laptop but offers the functionality of a traditional laptop, including a full keyboard featuring a numerical section on the right side, which is backlit. Connectivity wise it has WiFi, 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x USB 3.0 port and 1x HDMI port so it makes for the ideal laptop for working in the office with a secondary monitor and is compact enough to go into a laptop bag for when you need to work remotely.
As the Acer Spin 3 is a convertible laptop of the entry level variety, there are some positives and negatives with the laptop. The keyboard is comfortable to type on and the keys to have good travel so if you type fast, you won't find yourself bottoming out on the keyboard. The traditional feel and layout is fantastic for someone who is looking for a laptop for work or personal use. Its 7th generation Intel Core i5 processor provides enough power for basic tasks such as web browsing and streaming HD video from sources such as BBC iPlayer or YouTube.
However, having used this for a short time, I have found that the Acer Spin 3 can be bulky, especially in tablet mode, which is down to its design and screen width. Once in tablet mode, the touch functionality can be hit and miss. The Spin 3 seems to get confused if you are browsing large webpages such as the New York Times and will either work once converted or you will need to convert it back to its laptop form then try converting it again in order for it to work. If you are using the touch screen whilst in laptop mode. the screen can move quite a bit as the hinge needs to be tightened so the screen doesn't wobble after each touch.
It will retail in the UK market for £529.99 on both Very and Amazon. If you are particular about the specifications of the laptop, it is worth checking both sites as well as Acer's online store to ensure you get the right one for your needs.
Acer Spin 5
Next in line of the Acer Spin series is the Acer Spin 5, the "better" or midrange model. It has an ultra thin, 10.98mm all metal construction with a standard size keyboard without the numerical section on the right side. The Spin 5 features a 14" Full HD IPS touch screen display on its 13" chassis and allows up to 8 hours of battery life when you're working away from a power outlet. Connectivity wise, it offers the same ports as the Acer Spin 3 but are all located on the left side. I would certainly consider using this laptop as my daily driver, especially with its compact design and technical specifications.
The Acer Spin 5 certainly feels more of a mid range laptop, especially with its compact size. Having used this laptop to read a couple of long form articles on the New York Times and stream HD video from BBC iPlayer, I see no lag or any issues with the Acer Spin 5 handling these tasks, despite having the same processor and less RAM than the Spin 3 - the Spin 5 has 8GB of RAM whereas the Spin 3 has 12GB of RAM.
There are less negatives with this laptop when compared to the Spin 3. Using this laptop in its normal form factor, it is a great laptop which doesn't take up too much space. The keyboard has plenty of travel, although I do feel some bottoming out on keys which has slowed down my typing. The touch screen is fantastic for navigating your way around the UI of Windows 10 and is much more reliable in both laptop and tablet modes.
It will retail for £999.99 in the UK market. At this price range, it does put the Spin 5 inline with the previous generation of the 13" Apple MacBook Pro, which doesn't offer a touch screen.
Acer Spin 7
Now onto the machine I've been waiting to test - the Acer Spin 7. The best machine of the Acer Spin series, packing a 7th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD hard drive inside a ultra slim body. Everything looks incredible on the 14" IPS Full HD display which is touch screen. The Spin 7 has WiFi and two USB-C ports, which is understandable because of its ultra thin design. It is also ready for video calling on Skype with a HD 1280x720 resolution webcam and 720p HD audio and video recording capabilities.
The Acer Spin 7 is a fantastic consumer and business device, again which can be converted into a laptop or tablet depending on what the consumer is doing with the device, whether it be work or watching HD videos. One issue I have found with the device is the trackpad, although being relatively wide, has a tendency to stop working now and again. However, even the editing of this blog post could be done through the touch screen so I have no major issues there.
I've also tested this with large websites such as the New York Times Snowfall article (which is fantastic if you haven't checked it out) and everything loads seamlessly. HD videos from YouTube and BBC iPlayer also stream fine and I've not noticed any issues with skipping through a video and having any lag problems.
However, the downside to this laptop is the USB-C ports. This means that consumers who own standard USB devices such as hard drives etc. aren't able to use these devices unless they have a dongle. The same applies to consumers who are looking to use the Spin 7 with their cameras as the laptop doesn't have any card readers.
It will retail for £1,199.99 in the UK market and should appear on the shelves in January 2017.
To conclude this article, I think Acer has really developed some incredible laptops in the consumer market, with many positives despite hitting a few negatives and the Acer Spin 7 could also be considered for the business market too. The laptops are very well built and don't feel fragile in anyway, other than the bulkiness of the Acer Spin 3. The Spin series covers a wide range of consumers from someone who casually browses the web and watches a couple of HD video to someone who is looking for a high performance laptop which not only performs great but also looks the part when they pull it out of their bag. I've found that all of the laptops I've used in this article startup and load applications incredibly fast as they all come with an SSD hard drive installed.
As all laptops in the Acer Spin Series range also come with a touch screen, the screens are glossy and there isn't a huge amount of effort to combat glare in situations where there is a light directly behind the user shining on the screen. I can certainly see some manufacturers, such as 3M, creating screen films to minimise glare in due course.
All in all, I would consider buying the Acer Spin 5 myself as my daily driver. The bulkiness of the Acer Spin 3 and the USB-C port situation on the Spin 7 narrows down my selection and I'm not willing to convert to USB-C anytime soon. However, if you're not bothered by carrying around dongles for your USB devices or don't use USB devices very often, the Acer Spin 7 is a very good choice.