Verdict : If you want an inexpensive laptop for the student, but aren’t looking for frivolous features and a high-res panel, the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 is a great choice. However, you should pay attention to the battery life, which is below average.
- Pros : Affordable price | Robust case | Stylus included;
- Cons : Dim screen | Opening hours | Poor performance;
It’s not that easy with Chromebooks. In the past, they were viewed as cheap laptops that were only good for surfing the net and watching videos. However, in the post- Pixelbook world, the role of this class of laptop has changed. Well, as the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 proves, Chromebooks deserve it.
The Acer Chromebook Spin 11 is not at all a terrible device, it’s just that this machine is designed for a specific audience – parents with young children who need a laptop for school. It’s durable, has decent specs, comes with a stylus and sleeve to carry your laptop – and it’s not expensive considering everything you get in the box.
ACER CHROMEBOOK SPIN 11 FEATURES
Here is the configuration of the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 that came to us for review:
- Processor : Intel Celeron N3350 1.1 GHz (2-core, 2 MB cache, up to 2.4 GHz);
- Graphics : Intel HD Graphics 500;
- RAM : 4GB LPDDR4;
- Screen : 11.6-inch HD (1366 x 768), IPS, touch
- Physical memory : 32GB eMMC;
- Ports : x2 USB Type-C, x1 USB 3.0, x1 microSD, combo audio;
- Connection : Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2;
- Camera : 720p webcam;
- Weight : 1.36 kg;
- Size : 295.91 x 205.99 x 20.07mm (W x D x H)
PRICES AND CONFIGURATIONS
Only one configuration of Acer Chromebook Spin 11 is available for purchase. For only $ 349 (25,000 rubles + VAT) you get a laptop with the characteristics you see above. That’s a pretty average spec for its category, and the Spin 11 solidifies the offering by including a decent stylus and laptop sleeve.
Compared to similar Chromebooks of similar configurations, the Dell Chromebook 11 3180, for example, costs $ 319 (Rs 22,500 + VAT) with a slightly less powerful processor and the same memory. Likewise, an Acer Chromebook R11 with a 4-core Intel Celeron processor will set you back $ 329 (RUR 23,000 + VAT).
So, the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 is broadly in line with similar devices. But when you factor in the included stylus and laptop carrying case for an extra $ 20, the Spin 11 is a bargain. For the money, you won’t find a better deal when it comes to Chromebooks.
However, if you consider the $ 150 (£ 10,000 + VAT) ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 more, you get a huge performance boost from Intel Core m3 processors with double the memory – you also get a Full HD display. If you are buying a Chromebook for tasks that go beyond school, we advise you to choose ASUS, as the increase in performance and resolution is worth the additional cost.
Then look at the iPad (2018). It sells for a similar $ 329 (RUR 23,000 + VAT) price but offers a better screen, better speakers, a more powerful processor, less RAM and no keyboard at all. The choice depends on what you are looking for, but if you need a multimedia device, the iPad promises to be the best choice, however, you lose a comfortable keyboard and a solid construction.
Like the Acer Chromebook R 11, the Spin 11 is housed in an all-plastic case. Don’t let the simple design fool you, as this is one of the most durable Chromebooks we’ve ever tested. We were unable to get the laptop to flex even slightly during our tests. Even the screen is reliable – it only rocks when you forcefully swing it with your hand.
For the target audience (schoolchildren), this laptop promises to survive almost all adversity that will fall on its lot.
The build appeal doesn’t end there. Looking at the specs on paper, the keyboard may seem insignificant, with a key travel of no more than 1.1mm, but it is comfortable, and there is enough feedback to make you feel the key bounce off the bottom. We would have preferred a larger keyboard, but that’s a natural limitation of the 11-inch form factor.
However, it is not the lightest Chromebook on store shelves: it weighs 1.35 kg, much more than the ASUS Chromebook Flip. However, the slim 19.8mm profile and rounded corners make it incredibly comfortable in the hand, again, it’s hard to make it lighter without sacrificing strength.
The ports are the next big thing – you have two USB-C ports that can handle data and charge your Chromebook. For Chromebooks in this price range, we’d be happy with one of those ports. You also get two USB 3.0 ports, a microSD card slot and a headphone jack. This is a good deal in terms of port selection, and is vastly larger than most Chromebooks in this category.
The screen continues the history of the Acer Chromebook Spin 11’s durability as it is covered in Corning Gorilla Glass, so it should be resistant to cracks and other forms of damage – probably not something you should be testing.
However, the touchpad becomes a disadvantage. The surface of the touchpad is not bad, but extremely responsive, not to mention the plastic finish and hard center click. It does support gestures, however, so it’s not all bad.
SCREEN AND SPEAKERS
When you look at the screen, everything starts to change. It is equipped with an IPS panel with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. And while the viewing angles are, well, not bad – it’s not very bright, which forces us to squint in bright conditions. Even on an 11-inch panel, the screen appears grainy and pixelated. And, yes, at this price point and form factor, the HD panel does not look ordinary, but we would appreciate the extra brightness as well as the Full HD resolution.
The speakers aren’t very good either. While they are capable of filling a small room with sound, the sound detail is poor. We listened to Papi Pacify by FKA Twigs, where we could hear a hint of bass, but very subtle. Most of the details were frankly lost in the muddy sound.
So the Spin 11 is good for watching a couple of YouTube videos in between lessons, just don’t expect a great music or movie experience. If you are going to enjoy multimedia, we recommend the iPad 2018.With a tablet, you get much better sound and picture quality.
The Acer Chromebook Spin 11 isn’t a powerful laptop, which is to be expected. However, even with very modest components, Chrome OS continues to prove its worth: web browsing and word processing.
Here’s how the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 performed in benchmarks:
- Octane : 10238;
- Mozilla Kraken : 3843 ms;
- JetStream : 52.81;
- Battery life (video test): 7 hours 34 minutes;
While the Chromebook can’t keep up with machines like the Google Pixelbook, as it is equipped with Intel Celeron processors, its performance is sufficient for reasonable workloads. We wrote this review with 10 Chrome tabs open and Spotify active in the background. And, frankly, this is exactly the kind of performance we’ve come to expect from such a Chromebook.
In terms of initial benchmarks, the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 performed excellent, though not the most impressive. We have no doubt we’ll see much better numbers with a faster processor, but such a processor will undercut the price tag.
After all, as long as you don’t expect high (or even average) performance, the Spin 11 will perform exactly the way you want it to, given the price of the Chromebook.
AUTONOMOUS OPERATION TIME
However, one of the main aspects of a Chromebook is battery life, and unfortunately the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 disappointed us a little. As long as you don’t have to worry about charging in your day-to-day work, it did not perform well in testing.
In this test, we run a 1080p local video loop in the VLC media player until the charge runs out – the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 only lasted 7 hours 34 minutes. For a Chromebook, this is well below the category average. For example, a very similar (albeit older) Dell Chromebook 13 twisted almost twice – about 14 hours.
One of the main advantages of the latest Chromebooks lately is the inclusion of the Google Play Store, and the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 is no exception. This is actually a great idea from Google, as the capabilities of the Chromebook are growing significantly with Android apps.
It’s easy to go to the Play Store, we were able to download almost every application we could think of. We downloaded Super Mario Run, and while playback was not as smooth as on the iPhone X (not to mention blurry graphics), the game remained easily playable.
But fun and games aren’t everything. Thanks to the included stylus, you can draw on this thing, so we downloaded Adobe Sketch and painted a little. And while you’re sure to get the best experience out of an expensive tablet, being able to stick on a Chromebook is a rewarding experience. We just don’t recommend trying to write, as there is a noticeable delay.
ACER CHROMEBOOK SPIN 11: SUMMING UP
If you’re looking for an inexpensive laptop for school and study, the best Acer Chromebook Spin 11 won’t be found, especially considering its price. When you add the keyboard and stylus, you get a heck of a deal – you pay less than $ 400 for a 2-in-1 laptop with stylus included, nothing like the Surface Pro .
It’s not going to impress you with performance, nor is it going to run all day on a single charge – but in return you get a Chromebook that will last you for many years. These days, when all devices are becoming fragile, we feel that some performance tradeoff makes sense to increase durability.
If you are not studying but need a multimedia device, we recommend buying the 2018 iPad or setting aside a little more for the ASUS Chromebook Flip. However, for the money, you won’t find a better Chromebook than the Spin 11.
If you want an inexpensive laptop for the student, but aren’t looking for frivolous features and a high-res panel, the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 is a great choice. However, you should pay attention to the battery life, which is below average.