Acer Spin 5 Review: An Affordable All Aluminum 2-In-1 Laptop

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Introducing the Acer Spin 5: A Wallet Friendly 2-in-1

acer spin 5 tent mode
We love premium laptops and convertibles. A meticulously engineered build, finely-tuned performance, and solid battery life comprise the three primary tenets we look for when reviewing new machines. Checking these boxes does come at a cost, leaving many of our favorite laptops with hefty price tags. Unfortunately, most of us cannot justify dropping a stack of cash for the latest and greatest. Instead, mainstream consumers turn to the thriving midrange market. Here, manufacturer’s compete for our hard earned dollar with a wide range of solutions, each of which caters to a slightly different slice of end user usage models. When you cannot have it all, compromises must be made. In recent years, Acer has had proven track record of success in this arena, with the Swift 3 in particular catching our attention.
acer spin 5 laptop mode
Today we are looking at another sub-$800 Acer notebook, but with a twist. The Acer Spin 5 incorporates a 360-degree hinge and touch display to provide convertible functionality as a laptop, a tablet, or anything else in-between.

Our particular model weighs in with an Intel Whiskey Lake Core i5-8265U quad-core processor with integrated UHD 620 graphics, 8GB of 2400MHz DDR4 memory, and 256GB of solid-state storage backed by a standard 53.9 Wh Li-ion battery. The 13.3” touch display features 1080p Full HD resolution and ten-point multi-touch.

Acer Spin 5
Specifications & Features
Processor Intel Core i5-8265U Quad-Core 1.6GHz (Max 3.9GHz)
OS Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Display 13" IPS Touchpanel 1920x1080 (16:9)
Graphics Intel UHD 620
Storage 256GB Kingston NVMe M.2 SSD
Memory 8GB LPDDR3-2400 MHz (Soldered)
Audio Stereo speakers with Dolby Audio Premium
Camera 720p Webcam
Networking Intel Wireless-AC 9560 (802.11ac)
Ports: Left 1x Power Jack, 1x HDMI, 1x USB-C, 2x USB-A 3.0
Ports: Right 1x Kensington Lock, 1x USB-A 2.0, 1x SDXC Reader, 1x Headset Jack
Keyboard Chiclet style TKL
Battery 3-Cell Li-Ion (4670mAh, 53.9 Wh)
Extras Acer Active Stylus
Weight 3.31 lbs (1.5 kg)
Dimensions 12.77 x 8.9 x 0.63 inches (324.4 x 226 x 15.9 mm)
Warranty 1-year limited
Price Starting at $749.99 ($799.99 as configured)

The Spin 5’s 3.53 pound aluminum frame lands it on the heavier end of the 13” notebook spectrum. Much of this weight is likely a result of the unit’s larger frame which also gives it a larger footprint. The trade-off is that the Spin 5 does not feel cramped at all. It is more comparable in feel to a 14” or particularly petite 15.6” model.
acer spin 5 lid
The Spin 5’s lid has a brushed finish we really like. While still smooth to touch, it helps add visual interest to the design in a subtle manner. The rest of the exterior is made from the same milled aluminium, albeit without the brushed finish. All edges on the Spin 5 are beveled and any seams have tight tolerances, fit and finish.
acer spin 5 left ports
The Acer Spin 5 also offers an expansive I/O selection for a modern ultrabook. The left edge provides two USB-A 3.0 ports, a USB-C 3.0 port, an HDMI port, and the power port.

acer spin 5 right ports
The right side offers a USB-A 2.0 port, a full size SDXC card slot, a headset jack, a lock slot, the power button, and a volume rocker. This arrangement keeps the power and volume buttons accessible regardless of how the Spin 5 is being used.
acer spin 5 hinge and speaker

The lid opens smoothly with a pair of dual-torque hinges. We found that we could open the notebook with a single finger, which is always a good sign of design quality. The hinges also hold their position well at all angles even while the machine is jostled around.
acer spin 5 display
Once open, we get our first look at the display. It is surrounded by not-insignificant black bezels. This gives the Spin 5 a little bit of a dated look, but competing machines with minimized bezels often cost several hundred dollars more. Conversely, the larger bezels do provide a little extra real estate to grip in tablet mode. Honestly, we can't complain too much at this price point in this regard.

Acer Spin 5 Display Quality And Setup

The display provides a very nice image. Colors are punchy and vibrant while brightness is sufficient for work in direct light. We still feel like a 1080p display is an optimal resolution for a 13”-class laptop. Higher resolutions tend to require a significant amount of display scaling to maintain readability while also sucking up precious battery life, but some do appreciate the additional sharpness and screen real estate they can provide. The Spin 5’s display also handles off-angle viewing very well. It only loses a small amount of brightness and contrast, even at its extremes, and glare is well controlled.

The integrated webcam is positioned above the display in the center. It offers a basic 720p image and is serviceable, provided you have enough basic lighting. Users who require a high quality or depth-sensing webcam will need to look elsewhere or else provide their own external camera.

acer spin 5 speaker grille

There is a large top-facing speaker grille just below the fold. It employs Dolby Audio to create a satisfying auditory experience. The Spin 5 may actually have some of the fullest-sounding speakers we have tested in an ultrabook - while in laptop mode. When folded into a tablet, the speakers instead fire out the bottom between the hinges. It still sounds good in this orientation, but it does become a bit more muddled by not having a direct path to your ear.
acer spin 5 keyboard
The Spin 5 utilizes the same inoffensive chiclet keyboard from the Swift 3 units we reviewed. Key travel is minimal and it will bottom out, but there is also enough tactile feedback to promote efficient and comfortable typing experiences.

acer spin 5 fingerprint reader

The Spin 5's trackpad is similarly solid. It is a good size for this format of laptop. We found it is wide enough to be useful without being so wide that it interferes with our palm rests. Accidental presses are unlikely to be an issue for most users as well. The left and right buttons are seamlessly integrated while the top left corner houses the fingerprint reader. It sticks out visually more than we would like, but it works quickly and accurately.

Each corner around the keyboard features a small rubber pad. These unobtrusively serve as non-slip feet for when the Spin 5 is in tablet mode. Speaking of tablet mode, the keyboard does not physically lock up as we have seen in some other convertibles. That is to say, the keys can still be pressed but their input is disabled along with the trackpad, once the screen is folded back beyond 180-degrees.

Let’s pause and take a quick look at the software side before tearing the Spin 5 down to reveal its innards…

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