Let’s be clear up front. Acer’s new Spin 5 is a great laptop. Sure, it costs a few hundred dollars more than its closest competitor, the Lenovo Flex 14, but you can justify buying it for what it packs inside. It’s a solidly built convertible that offers respectable specs for the money, including a comfortable keyboard, a peppy 10th generation Core i7 processor and lots of RAM.
You might also be fascinated by the included Acer Active Stylus with Wacom AES 1. 0 that lets you unleash your creative side, just like you’d do on a tablet.
The Spin 5’s exterior isn’t one that will attract lots of attention, but it sure is svelte. It has a brushed metal lid and silver bezels around the housing that make it look svelte. It measures 11.8 x 9.2 x 0.6 inches and weighs 2.6 pounds. It’s small enough to slide into a backpack or messenger bag and it will not weigh you down.
One of the most important aspects of any convertible laptop design is the hinges. You need hinges that are sturdy and reliable, while still being smooth and easy to manipulate. Adjusting the Spin 5’s screen and rotating it from tent mode back to standard laptop orientation is seamless, and there’s very little bounce or movement on the display when typing on the keyboard.
There’s a decent amount of ports on the Acer SP513-54N-74V2, going from HDMI, two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 support, and a pair of USB 3.0 ports on the left to an SD card reader, headphone jack and a USB 3.0 port on the right.
The 13.5-inch multitouch display on the newer Spin 5 has a 2K resolution of 2256 x 1504 pixels. Color saturation and brightness on the IPS panel are fine in spite of the bezels, but we’re pleased with the overall image quality and doesn’t fall short in clarity.
When watching various YouTube videos, you don’t notice any blurriness, even on fast-moving clips. The overall picture is crisp, and you have a rechargeable Acer Active Stylus with Wacom AES 1.0 for enhanced screen interaction.
Perhaps the only complaint we have with the overall screen design is the size of bezels surrounding the screen. At a time when most laptops, including gaming laptops, now feature thin bezels, it’s jarring to see thick bezels on the Acer Spin 5. The thick black bars are not an eyesore, but we expected something thinner to go with the modern design.
Keyboard & Touchpad
The keyboard and trackpad are the Spin 5’s best features, even though they are not perfect. Acer added a trackpad that’s large enough to scroll around comfortably, with well-defined edges so it’s very clear when you need to run out of room. While the touchpad is not covered in glass, as you’d find on other premium convertibles, it still feels smooth and precise, plus it offers decent sensitivity levels so you can fine-tune the feel for tapping and right-clicking.
Acer’s decision to put the fingerprint reader in the upper-left corner somehow renders a small portion of the touchpad unusable, but that adds an extra layer of security.
As for the keyboard itself, it’s surprisingly good, with a deep 1.7 millimeters of travel. Individual keys produce a quiet but satisfying snap with a moderate amount of travel for an ultra-thin laptop. For the fast typers, it’s possible to attain 96 words per minute, versus 104 words per minute that you’d ordinarily achieve on a mechanical keyboard. We only wish that there were more than one level of backlighting, and that the dedicated Page UP and Page Down keys were so cramped together to the left and right arrows. With that, mapping them as alternate functions on other keys would have been more preferable.
The Acer Spin 5 packs a 10th generation Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU that runs at 1.3GHz (Turbo 3.9GHz), 16GB of memory, 512GB solid-state drive and Intel HD Graphics 620 that help the system achieve excellent performance. The laptop remains steady even when you load 30 Google Chrome tabs, and it doesn’t stutter even when you play multiple YouTube videos and a Twitch stream in the background.
The Core i7-1065G7 is the latest mobile chip being flaunted by Intel and it surely lives up to the promise made at launch, and the fact that Acer doubles the RAM over last year’s model, totaling 16GB makes its an even appealing choice for daily productivity. Additionally, the 512GB SSD presents real value, both as a speedy storage option and provides enough room for storing your documents without the need for an external drive.
With these features, the Spin 5 may not be a speed demon, but it’s fine for everyday tasks like surfing the web, watching movies on Netflix, college tasks and even spreadsheets at the office.
Most laptops in this realm employ integrated graphics, like the Intel HD Graphics 620 used here, which doesn’t manage the 30 FPS mark we consider passable quality for gaming. The ASUS ZenBook Flip 14 UX434FLC-XH77 is among the few exceptions with a dedicated Nvidia MX250 graphics card that lets you play casual games.
Acer touts the new Spin 5’s battery potential to be up to 15 hours. That’s an excellent number, but as is usually the case, real-world use falls short of that estimate. When you run PCMark’s Battery Life test, the Acer SP513-54N-74V2 turned off at 7 hours 24 minutes. When playing a movie von loop, with display brightness at 50% and all radios turned off but Wi-Fi, the Spin powered through 12 hours 19 minutes.
That’s more than enough battery life to get you through a long flight while easing time watching a movie or a long work session.
The new Acer Spin 5 is a stellar, little laptop for someone who needs nothing more than a 2-in-1 convertible capable of keeping up with basic to semi-complex computing tasks. It offers a cut above ‘basic’ with its 2K touchscreen, strong performance and decent battery life.
If you need a little more power and versatility than this, you’ll have to look I the direction of more expensive options, like Microsoft’s Surface Book 2. But for someone who lively almost solely in Microsoft Word, Chrome and Mail, however, will feel super-contented with the Acer Spin 5 SP513-54N-74V2 2-in-1 convertible laptop.