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

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Acer Spin 5: Battery Life, Acoustics, And Thermals

In the following benchmarks we employ two very different battery life tests, Battery Eater Pro and a custom 1080p HD video loop test developed in-house, to prove out battery life with our test group of machines. In all tests, Windows 10 Quiet Hours has been enabled and the displays are calibrated with lux meters on pure white screens to as close to 115 lux as possible. For the average laptop this is somewhere between a 40-60 percent brightness setting.

Since laptop displays significantly affect power consumption and battery life, it is important to ensure a level playing field with respect to the brightness of the display for battery testing. However, since many laptop displays vary in brightness at each respective setting in Windows, this calibration with the meter is critical to ensure all displays are set to as near identical brightness as possible before testing.

Battery Life - How We Test:

Our custom HotHardware video loop test takes a 1080p HD video with a 16Kbps bit rate and loops it repeatedly, with 1-minute break intervals in between. A timer log file increments minutes of up-time every minute -- along with the grand total -- before system shutdown is stored in the log. This is a lighter-duty test that is still a bit more strenuous than many office productivity tasks, but it is not nearly as taxing as the load Battery Eater puts on a system.
bench acer spin 5 battery video loop
The Acer Spin 5 kept up the fight for just over 6 hours in our video loop test. While not an exceptional result, it is reasonably good. We typically prefer ultrabooks that can slug their way through an 8 hour workday, but 6 hours is still enough for a transcontinental US flight.
bench acer spin 5 battery eater pro
The BatteryEater benchmark works laptops significantly more than the video loop test by stressing everything from the CPU and GPU to RAM and storage. Nevertheless, the Acer Spin 5 held out for an impressive three hours. You do not need to worry about the battery level suddenly dropping when the rubber meets the road on this machine.

Overall, the strong BatteryEater benchmark indicates that the Spin 5 can probably have its power profiles optimized to further improve light-duty endurance. The Spin 5 also supports USB-C charging which can make topping the battery off a little more convenient. Keep in mind this does require 30W or higher power delivery, so a typical phone charger will not suffice.

Acer Spin 5 Acoustics and Thermals

The Acer Spin 5 did not perform as well in our benchmarks as is specifications would suggest due to apparent thermal throttling when under sustained load. As we saw inside, the CPU is cooled with only a single heatpipe and fan.

acer spin 5 clocks and thermals multi core

Under full load, the CPU temperature spikes to 95°C before it throttles back to around 2.1GHz and the fans fully kick in. From there, the temperatures settles a touch lower at 80-85C. Still, 2.1GHz is a far cry from its peak turbo boost frequency of 3.9GHz, leaving a significant amount of performance on the table. Despite these relatively high temperatures, the chassis remains mostly cool to touch with a peak reading of 90°F (32°C) just above the WASD keys according to our infrared thermometer.

acer spin 5 clocks and thermals single core

The Spin 5 throttles less aggressively in lightly threaded workloads. In our single-threaded Cinebench run - for example - the Spin 5 hits the same temperatures, but the clock speeds remain much higher. It still throttles a little from 3.9GHz to 3.5GHz, but this is far less impactfull than throttling all the way down to 2.1GHz.

We did not find any major differences in cooling between laptop and tablet modes. While folded, the Spin 5 maintains a small gap for airflow into the bottom-side vent. Users should take care not to block the exhaust with their hand while in tablet mode as well, but this is the case for any fan-equipped 2-in-1.

acer spin 5 sound levels

The Acer Spin 5's fan never gets particularly loud. For the most part, the notebook runs silently. The fan is audible when it does spin up, but only modestly so in relation to ambient noises. It typically hovers around 37dBA in our 30dBA room when pushed. We did not find the volume or tone of the fans to be in any way distracting.

Now to wrap up our final thoughts...

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