Acer Spin 3 2020 Practical Review: More for the Money

  • Solid build quality

  • Nice 16:10 QHD + display

  • Thin and relatively light

  • Docked rechargeable pen included

  • Tiger Lake promises good performance

  • Keyboard keycaps were a little slick

  • Large top and bottom bezels look old-fashioned

Acer & # 39; s Spin 3 is the company's mid-range entry into the 360-degree convertible 2-in-1 market. The previous iteration was well received as a 2-in-1 version with some interesting features, such as: B. a pen that charged while docked in a convenient slot on the side, plus solid performance and build quality.

However, this wasn't good enough for Acer as it announced an updated version that changes the design of the laptop while promising to keep the best of the previous version. I used a hands-on pre-release device of the Acer Spin 3. Here are my first impressions.

design

The most important update for the Spin 3 is the switch to a display with an aspect ratio of 16:10 instead of the usual 16: 9. This makes the display larger, offers more information and has to scroll less. A 16: 9 aspect ratio is becoming more common as laptops like the Dell XPS 13 have led the charge, but Acer's approach is different.

While Dell used nearly the same size display case and just filled everything with a 16:10 panel, leaving behind some tiny bezels and a screen-to-body ratio of 90%, the Spin 3 has a large bezel on top and one surprising big chin on the floor. The screen-to-body ratio is only 79%, which means the Spin not only looks less modern than the XPS 13, but it also looks bigger than it could be. One benefit of Acer's approach is that the palm rest remains large and comfortable, unlike some laptops with tiny bezels that run out of space.

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The Spin 3 feels far more solid than its price suggests. The lid is twist-proof, the keyboard deck has no bend and the underside of the case does not move when handled roughly. This time it's an all aluminum design where the previous version had some plastic parts in it and I can tell. I like the way the Spin 3 feels.

Speaking of how it feels, the Spin 3 weighs about 3.08 pounds and is 0.62 inches thin. That makes it heavy, but also thin compared to the HP Specter x360 13 at 0.67 inches and 2.88 pounds. Even so, I found the Spin 3 comfortable to wear and use in all of its different modes. Tablet mode was a bit clunky, but that goes for all non-tablet 2-in-1 devices (including the Specter x360 13).

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The Spin 3 is an attractive, if not surprising, 2-in-1. My device came in the usual semi-gloss silver that was found on so many laptops and had few chrome parts, including the Acer logo on the lid and hinge.

The hinge is well tuned so that the lid can be opened with one hand while holding the display in place in all four modes – clamshell, tent, media, and laptop. This is an attribute usually found on more expensive machines.

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Connectivity is another strength. On the left are two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 ports, a full-size HDMI port, a USB-A 3.2 port, and a miniSD card reader. On the right side you will find another USB-A 3.2 port, a 3.5 mm audio jack and a Kensington lock port. The wireless connection is provided via Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.

performance

The Spin 3 looks great on paper. It offers up to a quad-core Intel Core i7-1165G7 of the 11th generation with Intel Iris Xe graphics, up to 16 GB LPDDR4X RAM and two PCIe SSDs with 512 GB or 1 TB. For example, the computer I'm looking at has a Core i5-1135G7, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD.

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

We haven't tested enough Tiger Lake machines to draw strong conclusions, but what we've seen from the Intel reference machine gives us hope of solid performance. At the very least, Tiger Lake should help reduce the distance with AMD's Ryzen 4000 series, which so far has proven to be significantly faster than Intel's 15-watt CPUs.

display

The Spin 3's display is a beauty. The 16:10 display is available in either FHD + (1920 x 1200) or QHD + (2560 x 1600), and my device included the latter.

I found it to be very sharp (although I prefer 4K displays) with a lot of contrast. The colors were natural and bright, and I found the display to do a wonderful job of whatever the job I did.

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The 16:10 aspect ratio is great too. It offers more vertical space, which is useful as documents and web pages are designed to scroll vertically. You can easily see more on a 16:10 display than you can on a 16: 9 display.

The sound was competent and, thanks to the upward facing speakers, offered a lot of volume without distortion. Highs and mids were prominent and as usual the bass was minimal. I can use the speakers for the occasional YouTube video and solo Netflix shows, but for music and action movies I would recommend headphones.

Keyboard and touchpad

The Spin 3 uses the usual island keyboard with black keycaps and white letters. I don't know if the keyboard is backlit. I couldn't find a button to turn it on. I found the keycaps themselves a bit small and that affected the spacing, and they were a bit slippery too. The mechanism was comfortable, however, with a light touch and a soft ground movement that isn't as sharp as I like, but still allowed me to type at almost full speed.

Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The touchpad was moderately large and coated with plastic. It's a Microsoft Precision touchpad that is quick to respond when swiping and using multi-touch gestures. The display is of course touch-sensitive and the included Wacom AES 1.0 pen works well with Windows inks.

Interestingly, my device didn't have Windows 10 Hello support, neither a fingerprint reader nor an infrared camera for facial recognition. I understand that while this will be the case with the base model, updated machines will come with a fingerprint reader.

Battery life

I was unable to do our usual battery tests and so cannot report on the longevity. The Spin 3 has a 56 watt hour battery, which is average for a machine with this screen size. I envision that the Core i5 and FHD + versions will have very good battery life, while the Core i7 and QHD + versions will suffer thanks to the extra performance and higher resolution.

Prices and availability

The Acer Spin 3 starts at $ 850 for an 11th generation Intel Core i5, 8 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB solid-state drive (SSD). Further prices and availabilities will be announced shortly.

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