The Acer Spin 5 is a 13 inch thin and light 2-in-1 laptop, so you can use it as both a traditional laptop or flip the screen over and use it like a tablet. In this review we’ll take a look at the features available and help you decide if it’s worth buying. Let’s start by checking out the specs in this model. There’s an 8th gen Intel i5-8250U quad core CPU, which runs at 1.6GHz and can boost up to 3.4GHz with a single core. There’s 8GB of DDR4 memory running at 2,400MHz.
For the storage there’s a 256GB M.2 SATA SSD, and there’s no discrete graphics present in this model, so we’ve only got the integrated Intel UHD 620 graphics which powers the 13.3” IPS display, and we’ll see how this performs later in the benchmarks, it does also appear to be available with Nvidia 1050 graphics though. For the network connectivity there’s 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth built in. No ethernet connectivity here, unless you plug in a USB dongle.
The Spin has a grey all metal design, featuring a matte interior and smooth lid with this crosshatch style finish. The physical dimensions of the laptop are 32.4cm in width, 22.6cm in depth, and just 1.59cm in height, so it’s fairly thin. This model is listed at weighing 1.6kg and in my own testing I found this one to weigh just under this, and just under 1.9kg with the power brick and cable for charging included, so it’s quite portable.
The display is a 13.3 inch 1080p 60Hz IPS touch screen with a glossy finish, and as an IPS panel the viewing angles are excellent on any angle. I don’t really use touchscreens myself, but had no problems while testing this one out. Mine didn’t come with a stylus, that might just be this specific review unit I’ve got, as online they’re advertised as coming with the Acer Active Stylus, so for me it was a bit tricky to use with only my fingers, but with Windows in tablet mode it wasn’t too bad to navigate around, just keep in mind that as a glossy screen it will easily show fingerprints.
I’ve also measured the colours produced by the screen using the Spyder 5 Pro, and my results returned 99% of sRGB, 72% of NTSC and 78% of AdobeRGB, so in terms of colour accuracy it seems quite decent compared to many other laptops I’ve tested, and overall personally I thought the screen looked quite nice, it can get quite bright although as a glossy display it will easily show reflections. I’ve also performed my usual backlight bleed test, which involves having the screen completely black in a dark room to help emphasize any bleeding. I then take a long exposure photo to display any bleed, so this is a worst case scenario test.
Acer Spin 5 Camera
The camera’s picked up some minor bleed, but I couldn’t actually see this at all with my own eyes with the lights off, but this will of course vary between devices. There was only a little screen flex while moving the display, overall it’s fairly solid thanks to the hinges located towards the far corners. As a 2-in-1 device you can simply go from using it in laptop mode to tablet mode by flipping the screen fully back. When you do this the touchpad and keyboard are disabled so it doesn’t matter if you accidentally press anything while holding it. The side bezels around the screen are thick enough that it was fairly easy to hold, no accidental screen presses no matter how I held it with my fairly big hands. If you set it up like this and use the touch screen the screen is fairly stable, but it does wobble a bit.
Above the display is a HD camera capable of 720p video. The camera looks pretty bad, quite blurry and grainy even with decent lighting. The microphone isn’t very good either, but you’ll be able to judge both for yourself. The keyboard has white backlighting which can be turned on or off, no adjustment levels here, and I had no issues typing with it, other than the small arrow keys which I missed pretty often.
The keys felt a little clicky, here’s how they sounded to try and give you an idea. There was a little bit of keyboard flex while pushing down fairly hard towards the center, but this wasn’t at all noticeable while actually typing. The touchpad worked alright, you can either single click in the bottom right to right click, or two finger click anywhere to right click, I had no complaints with it. There’s also a fingerprint scanner found on the top left corner. As for the IO on the left there’s the power input, HDMI port, USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C port, no thunderbolt unfortunately, and two USB 3.0 Type-A ports.
Over on the right there’s a couple of status LEDs, volume up and down buttons, 3.5mm audio combo jack, SD card slot, USB 2.0 Type-A port, power button, and kensington lock. There’s nothing at all on the front, while the back just has some air exhaust vents. Up on the lid there’s just the Acer logo in the center with a mirrored finish, and toward the top corners are the WiFi antenna, which are meant to help improve the performance, unfortunately I couldn’t test this fully as my access point is a few years old and doesn’t support what the laptop is fully capable of.
Underneath there’s some rubber feet on the corners which do a good job at preventing it from moving around on flat surfaces, and the air intakes are found up towards the back. Taking a look inside we can see the single M.2 slot for the SSD, WiFi card, battery, and CPU. Unfortunately the RAM is soldered to the board and can’t be upgraded here.
Acer Spin 5 Speakers
The speakers are found underneath the screen, there’s a little bit of bass and they still sound fairly clear at higher volumes, nothing impressive but fair enough for laptop speakers. Powering the Acer Spin is a 3 cell 54 Watt hour battery, and with a full charge and just watching YouTube videos with the screen on half brightness, keyboard lighting off and background apps disabled, I was able to use it for 5 hours and 45 minutes with just the built in Intel UHD 620 graphics, a pretty nice result.
During normal use with an ambient room temperature of 20 degrees celsius, the CPU idled fairly low at around 34 degrees celsius, and here are the external temperatures of the laptop where you’ll actually be putting your hands, staying fairly cool at around 25 degrees. Under a full synthetic load with Aida64 the maximum temperature of the CPU instantly rises, but it’s not too hot as the CPU downclocks itself to 2.3GHz on all cores to stay cool. This is pretty typical from these lower powered U CPUs in thinner laptops, multicore workloads can’t be sustained without dropping speeds, which is just a compromise of having a thin laptop like this.
Acer Spin 5 keyboard
The keyboard area warms up to the mid 40s, and is warmer towards the middle and left hand side as shown, so not too hot and definitely still usable. As for the fan noise produced during these tests I’ll let you have a listen. At idle it was completely silent, I couldn’t hear any fan noises at all, even at full load it’s extremely quiet with the fans hardly making much noise, I wasn’t able to manually raise them which likely would have given us better CPU performance. As there’s no discrete graphics in my unit, we’ve only got the Intel UHD 620 graphics which are built into the CPU.
I’ve just benchmarked Dota 2 as it doesn’t need a lot of resources to run to give you a rough idea of how it holds up. It actually did alright at minimum settings, and I’m testing with a fairly resource intensive replay here, so this should be close to a worst case scenario example, realistically you’ll get a better experience than this, but in any case it was playable.
So less demanding games are sort of playable at minimum settings, just remember you won’t be able to do too much in terms of gaming without discrete graphics. In Crystal Disk Mark the 256GB SATA3 M.2 SSD was averaging above 500MB/s in both sequential reads writes, so fairly typical for a SATA based SSD. I’ve used a v90 rated SD card to test the SD reader, so the card isn’t a bottleneck, and as we’re seeing it’s not doing too well. With these specs the Spin 5 is listed at $1700 AUD on Acer’s Australian website, or around $700-800 USD in the US where there appears to be more options available, the differences seem to be around Windows version and things like the SD card slot.
So what did you guys think about the Spin 5 2-in-1 laptop from Acer? I found it to work pretty well, both as a laptop and when folded over into tablet mode. It’s got a fairly good screen and the battery lasts for quite a while as there’s no discrete graphics to sip power, however that of course does mean that you won’t really be using it to play many games. For around the same price you can also get a laptop with discrete graphics if you plan on playing games, otherwise if you’re after something that can function as a tablet then this could be a good choice.
Let me know what you guys thought down in the comments, or simply leave a share the post to quickly let me know what you thought.