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Acer Chromebook Spin 13 review: Enough to make you ditch Windows?

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £709

With a fantastic display and a Wacom stylus, this slick convertible gives Windows rivals a run for their money


  • Great battery life
  • Impressive screen brightness
  • Great stylus


  • Gaming capabilities could be improved

Chrome OS might be best-known as a barebones software, but Google’s lightweight platform can certainly hold its own against Windows-based alternatives. Indeed, since Chrome OS now supports both windowed desktop-style applications and full-screen, touch-enabled Android apps, the two-in-one concept arguably works better in this particular case than it does in Windows 10.

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Acer Chromebook Spin 13 review: Features

By Chromebook standards, the Spin 13 is expensive. Last month’s Labs-winning Dell Inspiron Chromebook 14 costs just £599, and Acer’s own Chromebook 11 will set you back a mere £251. But, while the Spin 13 is priced similarly to this month’s Windows rivals, it outclasses almost all of them. As soon as you pick it up, the build quality is evident, thanks to an all-aluminium case and a tough, glossy Gorilla Glass screen.

Then there’s the display itself, a sumptuous 13.5in panel whose native resolution of 2,256 x 1,504 translates to a very agreeable 3:2 aspect ratio and an ultra-sharp 201ppi. With a peak brightness of 362cd/m2 it’s one of the brightest screens here; in our tests it delivered a great contrast ratio of 1,641:1, with 97.5% sRGB colour coverage and a magnificent average Delta E of 1.08. It’s not quite as bright as Microsoft’s devices, but for my money it’s overall this month’s best display.

The screen has another trick: as the name suggests, you can fold it round through 360° into tablet mode. At 1.43kg, the Spin 13 is heavier than the Surface Pro, but it rests happily on a forearm – and the price includes a pressure- sensitive Wacom EMR stylus, tucked away in a slot at the front, which feels beautifully precise and natural.

Acer Chromebook Spin 13 review: Performance

Inside, the Core i3-8130U CPU may be on the light side compared to this month’s Windows laptops, but it’s pretty powerful by Chromebook standards and it’s here supported by 8GB of RAM. In the Speedometer 2.0 and MotionMark 1.1 tests, these helped the Spin 13 score 85.6 and 358; for comparison, our top-rated Dell Inspiron Chromebook 14 scored 93.5 and 460. Gaming capabilities aren’t at all bad, although the high-res display drags down the onscreen scores.

Acer Chromebook Spin 13 review: Verdict

Finally, the Spin 13 also delivered a superb battery life of 9hrs 20mins in our video playback test. Factor in a nicely usable keyboard and a decent set of connections – twin USB-C ports, a USB 3 socket and a microSD card slot – and the Spin 13 might just be the Chromebook that tempts you away from Windows.

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