Acer Chromebook Spin 15

OUR VERDICT

The Acer Chromebook Spin 15 leaves a lot of room for perfection, particularly in its design. However, as it is now, it’s already an unbelievable device, with a knack for juggling several processor-hungry tasks at the same time while hardly breaking a sweat.FOR

Specifications

Here is the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 configuration sent to TechRadar for review: 

CPU1 .1GHz Intel Pentium N4200 (quad-core, 2MB L2 cache, up to 2.5GHz)
Graphics  Intel HD Graphics 505
RAM 4GB LPDDR4 (1,600MHz)
Screen 15.6-inch HD (1,920 x 1,080) LED Touch IPS
Storage 64GB eMMC
Ports 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 3.1, Micro SD card reader, audio jack, Kensington
lock
Connectivity 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2
Camera HD webcam (1,280 x 720)
Weight 4.85 pounds (2.2 kg)
Size 15.20 x 10.31 x 0.79 inches (386.1 x 261.9 x 20mm; W x D x H)
ProsCons
Plenty of power Lots of wasted real estate
Exceptionally long battery life Second-rate speakers
Reasonable price tag The trackpad could be better
Wonderfully responsive touchscreen ******************

The Acer Chromebook Spin 15 might just be one of the very small numbers of Chromebooks that can make converts out of customary laptops users. Those are, particularly for those on a strict and limited budget, but still, want a certain level of performance.

This 15-inch Chromebook by the Taiwanese producer sits somewhere between the lofty perch of the Google Pixelbook and Samsung Chromebook Pro, and the bargain-basement position that models like the Dell Chromebook 11-inch inhabit.

Acer Chromebook Spin 15 review

Yet, as far as performance, the Chromebook Spin 15 can hold its own against the premium models, and it’s just the ticket for folks who desire to get a lot out of a lightweight device without expenditure enough money to make them feel like they should have just sprung for a customary laptop in the first place.

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We’ve tested the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 and discovered for ourselves what it’s competent of so that you can make your mind up for yourself if it’s time to jump on the Google Chromebook bandwagon.

Price and accessibility

The Acer Chromebook Spin 15 has some selling points, and one of them is its price tag. This Chromebook starts at $399 (about £317, AU$580), and touts an Intel Pentium N4200 processor (CPU), 4GB of memory (RAM), 32GB eMMC storage and an Intel HD Graphics 505 graphics processor (GPU).

This is the base model, one of two that are accessible in the US. Unluckily, this configuration is not available in the UK and in Australia. In fact, the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 is unavailable at all in Australia at the time of the review.

In the UK, there’s only one configuration accessible, and it’s the same as our review model touting the specs to your right. This configuration will set you back £499 ($449 in the US). The only difference between this one and the base configuration is the storage, which means you’re paying $50 to double it.

Considering that most laptops charge an arm and a leg for any SSD upgrade, that’s not too shabby. However, seeing as you can find a 500GB external SSD for $90 or 1TB external hard drive for $50, upgrading to 64GB eMMC storage is hardly worth it.

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To put the Acer Chromebook Spin 15’s price more into perspective, the Asus Chromebook Flip 12.5-inch has the same storage and only very somewhat better graphics (Intel HD Graphics 515), but only 4GB LDDR3 RAM and Intel Core m3-6Y30 CPU for $499. To be fair, the Chromebook Flip is lighter and more compact.

Acer Chromebook Spin 15 review

In the meantime, the HP Chromebook 14 offers the slightly comparable Intel Celeron N3350 and 4 GB LPDDR4 RAM, but with HD Graphics 500 and only 16 GB eMMC, for $309. That’s $99 cheaper than the Chromebook Spin 15’s base model with better graphics and twice the storage.

Design – Acer Chromebook Spin 15

We sort of have a love-and-hate thing going with the Acer Chromebook Spin 15’s design. While this 2-in-1 Chromebook’s performance has impressed us greatly, its design absolutely has left us wanting.

Not that it’s a bad design per se, but the opportunities for development are so glaring that it’s frustrating that Acer hasn’t gone back to the drawing board to reevaluate the design before releasing it to the public.

There’s so much wasted real estate on this Chromebook, its 15-inch form factor plagued with too much-unused space, from the thick bezels on an otherwise great display to space above the keyboard that sits there gathering dust. The whole thing just looks like it’s from the ‘90s.

Acer Chromebook Spin 15 review

We’d like it if they thinned out those bezels for a much more immersive movie-watching or light gaming experience, and slap on better-sounding speakers. Granted, it isn’t a Chromebook, but the HP Spectre x360 15 did just that, with a Numpad and a wider trackpad, and it still manages to be smaller.

To be fair to the Acer Chromebook Spin 15, it does have a few things going for it as far as its design goes.

The keyboard is comfortable and enjoyable to use, offering just enough travel, resistance, and space between the keys to making for a lovely typing experience that isn’t fatiguing or too loud to distract your neighbors at the office. In fact, we wrote this whole review on the Acer Chromebook Spin 15, and it was simple to transition to its keyboard from the 2014 MacBook Pro keyboard we know and love.

This keyboard also boasts its set of dedicated media keys dedicated to browsing, volume, and screen brightness.

Acer Chromebook Spin 15 review

The upward-facing speakers – located on both sides of the keyboard – while admittedly hollow, lacking bass and could make use of a boost in the mids, are loud sufficient for solo use or if you’re with a couple of friends. We had the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 playing Parks and Rec on Netflix, The X-Files on Hulu and The Sims Mobile game all at once, and we could discern every single sound coming from all three sources. These speakers also have a fairly even incidence at low volumes, which means they, in fact, sound decent if you don’t set the volume too high.

The Corning Gorilla Glass trackpad is consistent sufficient, nice to touch and has a little more give in the bottom left and the bottom right where the left and right buttons are.

And, the trackpad has a powerful feel to it, even if it is a little stiff and not always correct. That is, the pointer or cursor on the screen doesn’t always accurately copy what you’re finger is doing on the trackpad, whether due to latency or plain imprecision, we’re not quite certain. But, it’s subtle sufficient that this Chromebook’s target audience might not even notice.

The display looks fine but is nothing mind-blowing particularly in its color reproduction. However, the touchscreen functionality is very receptive and very correct. This isn’t astonishing, as this 15-inch HD display is made of the good stuff. In fact, if we weren’t so used to the laptop mode when going through our day to day workload, we’d use the touchscreen more than the trackpad.

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Since this is a 2-in-1 laptop, we must talk about the hinges. The hinges on this Chromebook feel very powerful, with sufficient give so you can easily flip between modes and sufficient resistance so it doesn’t collapse when you’re intent mode.

Speaking of modes, you’ll feel just as comfortable using the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 like a conventional laptop as you would use it in tablet mode. This Chromebook isn’t thin and light, but because of its boxier (as opposed to rounder) design, handling it in tablet mode feels natural.

Finally, there’s the accessibility of ports, which is in fact decent. There are two USB-C ports to make it future-proof, two USB 3.0s for many of your access devices, an audio jack for video conferencing, and a Micro SD reader should you need to do some light photo editing on this computer.

Whereas it’s a bit of a hit or miss in its design, the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 shines in its performance, showing off its premium Chromebook side with its inspiring multi-tasking abilities.

Don’t get us incorrect; if you’re playing something like PUBG Mobile on this with medium settings on, be expecting lots of latency. You can play it just fine, but it won’t be the smoothest experience in the world. And, you might find the game deafening on you once in a while.

Acer Chromebook Spin 15 review

That’s hardly astonishing considering the specs and the lightweight Chrome OS. However, that quad-core Intel Pentium N4200, coupled with the 4GB LDDR4 that’s faster and more power competent, is just the ticket for multitasking on this operating system.

By multi-tasking, we mean having 14 or more tabs open at a time on the Chrome browser, one of which is playing Parks and Rec on Netflix, and the other playing The X-Files on Hulu. All while The Sims Mobile game is playing in the background.

There may have been a tiny bit of lag somewhere while all of these were happening all at once. But the dreaded spinner never showed its ugly head, and the computer itself kept largely cool.

Acer Chromebook Spin 15 review

Potential users like high school and college kids, as well as non-computer savvy folks, will take pleasure in long hours on this the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 browsing the Internet, shopping, watching the latest release on Netflix and playing the hottest game from the Google Play Store, all at the same time. That is after they’re done ticking off all their productivity tasks for work.

If this Chromebook were lighter and smaller, we’d readily take it with us on our travels as well.

Battery life – Acer Chromebook Spin 15

And, while we’re on the subject, absolutely expect long hours: up to 13 hours, to be more definite to what Acer is talented. In practice, the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 really lives up to the hype, which is a rarity. Usually, laptops prove to have a shorter battery life during our test than promised, but this one boasts sufficient battery life in a single charge that you’ll either give up or pass out before it even starts to die on you.

Acer Chromebook Spin 15 review

We say that because we put its long life to the TechRadar battery test, during which we loop a locally stored 1080p movie at 50% intensity and volume with the keyboard backlight and Bluetooth disabled, and it lasted a whopping 13 hours and 45 minutes.

This battery creature will give you a full workday, some browsing, and social networking after work – perhaps with your favorite show playing in the background, and still outlast you. Needless to say, you’ll be ready for bed, and the Chromebook Spin 15 will still keep going.

Final verdict

It’s comprehensible for conventional laptop users to dismiss Chromebooks as laptop alternatives, or even not take them acutely as practical devices that can handle everyday workloads, and after-work browsing and entertainment. They are, after all, fairly new in the computing scene, and not a lot of people be grateful for or even know of their potential.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 15 is, to put it simply, one such Chromebook that will put any and all lingering doubts to rest. This Chromebook is an outstanding mixture of affordability and premium functionality, resulting in a device that offers great value to users who don’t utilize a computer enough to justify paying $1,000 or more for it. It’s got all the bells and whistles as well – the 2-in-1 design, dedicated media keys and all the ports you would need in a day’s work, to name a few.

Acer Chromebook Spin 15 review

Best of all, you can load this up with multitasking demands, and it will handle all of them like the beast that it is. At only $449 (£499, AU$653), the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 is well worth your consideration.

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