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

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Acer Spin 5: Final Thoughts and Conclusion

The Acer Spin 5 is an attractive 2-in-1, which straddles the boundary between premium and more mainstream notebooks. It juxtaposes a sleek and durable milled aluminum chassis with a slightly dated-looking design. However, it sports capable hardware including the latest Intel Whiskey Lake processors, but the cooling constraints of the form factor keep it from performing at its absolute peak potential. The Spin 5 also has a bright and vibrant 1080p full-HD display, but it is surrounded by relatively large bezels.
acer spin 5 tablet mode

Despite its faults, we cannot help but like the Acer Spin 5. Its most compelling feature is its price tag. For about $800 with the Active Stylus included or $750 without, the Spin 5 as configured here rings in much cheaper than Dell's premium XPS 13 2-in-1. The Dell weighs in at $1,100 for a similar configuration, trading the Spin 5's Core i5-8265U for a low-power Core i5-8200Y, and its Active Pen is still sold separately. The Spin 5's design is not as refined and it does lack Thunderbolt 3 support, but for many consumers that may be worth $300+ in savings.
The bigger question for many consumers may be about the form-factor itself. If you do not need a convertible 2-in-1, Acer's own Swift notebooks may be a better buy. We found the Swift 3 model better at powering through intensive workloads thanks to a superior cooling configuration. The Swift 3 is a little larger at 14", though it still maintains portability. We also would not hesitate to spec out a Swift 3 with the optional NVIDIA GeForce MX150 discrete GPU for some light gaming, but we would be concerned about doing the same with the Spin 5 from a thermal standpoint.
acer spin 5 laptop mode

As our benchmarks show, the Spin 5 is not a gaming oriented computer but you probably knew that. On the other hand, it is more than capable of handling mixed productivity tasks. Users tackling web browsing, email, document writing, and spreadsheets are unlikely to tax the Spin 5 to the point of thermal saturation. These users can take advantage of the Core i5-8265U's higher boost clock over the Core i5-8250U for a more responsive experience. If heavy photo editing is on the menu, the soldered 8GB of RAM may be lacking. Acer, however, also offers a Core i7-8565U equipped variation with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB NVMe SSD for about $1,200. That is still a great price for that kind of horsepower.

The mid-range market is a churning sea of compromises, but nevertheless the Acer Spin 5 is a highlight. Provided its limitations are understood, we believe it is worthy of consideration.
approved hh
  • Bright 13" 1080p IPS Screen
  • Solid Aluminum Chassis
  • Flexible Form-factor
  • Active Stylus Included
  • Comfortable Chicklet Keyboard
  • Full-sounding Speakers
  • Lots of I/O
  • Aggressive Pricing
  • Large Display Bezels
  • No Thunderbolt 3 or Wired Ethernet
  • Soldered Memory Cannot Be Upgraded
  • Prone to Thermal Throttling Under Load

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