Acer Spin 3: BOTTOM LINE
Using a fast-charging bundled stylus and a full-flex rotating screen, the 2020 Acer Spin 3 is a solid convertible laptop choice for users who would like to dabble in drawing or handwriting.
Selling for $649.99 as analyzed, Acer’s most up-to-date revision of its own Spin 3 would be a good value even if it did not have a carrying sleeve and a stylus pen.
This 14-inch semi automatic 2-in-1 notebook combines an Intel 10th Generation Core i5 CPU with an adequate 8GB of memory and 256GB solid-state drive.
It is a fine design, if in 3.3 pounds a little heavy to hold in your hands rather than resting in your lap into tablet mode. If you’re trying to find a flip-and-fold laptop/tablet/kiosk/easel layout on a strict budget, the Twist 3 deserves a place in your short listing.
Good-Looking, at a Generic Way
The Spin 3 is a silver-gray slab with an Acer logo centered in the lid. (My test unit is the Costco version SP314-54N-58Q7; additional e-tailers have similar configurations.)
Two chrome hinges hold the touch display; there’s a little quantity of flex if you grasp the display corners or press on the keyboard deck. It is no burden in a briefcase or backpack.
The black bezels around the screen are medium-size on both sides and thick on the top and bottom, where they accommodate a webcam and an Acer emblem, respectively.
The webcam lacks face recognition, however you can still use Windows Hello to bypass password input thanks to a fingerprint reader in one corner of the touchpad. A speaker grille crosses the top of the keyboard between the hinges.
On the laptop’s left side, you’ll discover the connector for your compact AC adapter, a Thunderbolt 3 port, an HDMI video output, a USB 3.2 Type-A port, and a microSD card slot…
A security lock slot, an audio jack, a second USB-A port, and also the power button are on the right, as is the parking and charging”garage” for the busy stylus…
Acer states that 15 seconds in its slot is sufficient to charge the pen for 90 minutes of usage.
Oddly, the Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) adapter didn’t work from the box; I used another laptop to get the Intel driver and moved it to the Acer with a flash drive.
After installing the fresh driver, the wireless worked flawlessly. Just under five inches long, the one-button stylus supports 4,096 amounts of pressure with good palm rejection; it kept up with my speediest swoops and scribbles as I wrote and drew on the touch display.
Display and Audio: Nothing to Complain (or Write Home) About
The onboard speakers produce loud but slightly muddy sound. Highs and midtones are apparent, but there is no bass to speak of, and overlapping paths become consumed.
The keyboard is backlit and contains Page Up and Page Down keys packed from the cursor arrows. (You want to use the Fn key for the Home and End functions.)
Top-row keys including Escape and Delete are small. The total typing feel is satisfactorily snappy, kind of flat without much tactile feedback but a satisfactory tapping noise. The buttonless touchpad pops and slides smoothly, but right-clicks feel obscure.
I found myself pressing F4 a lot of extra instances in hopes of becoming more brightness from the 1080p touch display. It is not an outright dim panel, although not a particularly sunny one, either, so white wallpapers are just a touch off-white.
Contrast is good, and viewing angles are broad. Colors are a little bit on the bland side but reasonably clear; fine details are sharp rather than pixelated.
Past an Acer Collection app shop, bloat offenders include promotions from Amazon, Booking.com, ExpressVPN, and Dropbox, as well as game advertisements in the alarms panel. Acer backs the Twist 3 using a one-year warranty.
Testing the Twist 3: Good Enough for Getting Stuff Done
Using its small 1GHz clock rate and integrated graphics, the Spin 3’s Core i5-1035G1 isn’t a barn-burner of a chip, but it’s a favorite option in the 14-inch section, as seen by its addition in the HP Pavilion x360 14 LTE currently from the review pipeline and the Dell Inspiron 14 5000 (a non-convertible included here for reference, and to round out the benchmark results).
Two 14-inch Lenovo convertibles, the AMD-based IdeaPad Flex 5 14 along with also the Intel-powered Yoga C740, finish today’s competitors. You can watch the contenders’ specs in the table below.
Productivity and Media Tests
PCMark 10 and 8 are holistic performance suites developed by the PC benchmark experts at UL (formerly Futuremark). The PCMark 10 test we run simulates distinct real-world growth and content-creation workflows.
We use it to assess overall system functionality for office-centric tasks such as word processing, spreadsheet function, internet surfing, and videoconferencing.
PCMark 8, meanwhile, has a storage subtest that we utilize to appraise the rate of the system’s boot drive. The two yield a proprietary numerical score; greater numbers are better.
The Acer trailed the field at PCMark 10; its own score of 3,612 points indicates perfectly commendable productivity but falls short of the 4,000 we believe excellent. All five notebooks’ speedy solid-state drives acquitted themselves admirably in PCMark 8’s storage subtest.
Next is Maxon’s CPU-crunching Cinebench R15 evaluation, which is fully threaded to make use of all available processor cores and threads. Cinebench worries the CPU rather than the GPU to render a intricate image. The result is a proprietary score suggesting a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads.
Cinebench is often a fantastic predictor of our Handbrake video editing benchmark, where we put a stopwatch on systems as they transcode a brief picture from 4K resolution down to 1080p. It, too, is a challenging test for multi-core, multi-threaded CPUs; lower times are better.
The IdeaPad’s Ryzen 5 dominated these CPU-intensive applications, although the Pavilion lagged behind even its Core i5-1035G1 cousins. The Twist 3 finished in the middle of this bunch.
Employing an early 2018 launch of this Creative Cloud edition of Photoshop, we apply a collection of 10 complex filters and effects to some standard JPEG test image. We time each surgery and accumulate the total (lower times are better).
The Photoshop test emphasizes the CPU, storage subsystem, and RAM, but it could also take advantage of most GPUs to hasten the procedure for employing filters.
The Yoga C740 edged its IdeaPad stablemate for the win, while the Acer and HP brought up the rear. The Twist 3’s screen and microSD card slot also make it a fair selection for managing a photograph collection, however tilted toward small touch-ups instead of comprehensive image editing.
3DMark measures relative graphics muscle by producing sequences of exceptionally detailed, gaming-style 3D images that highlight lighting and particles.
We conduct two distinct 3DMark subtests, Sky Diver and Fire Strike. These two are DirectX 11 benchmarks, but Sky Diver is much more suited to notebooks and midrange PCs, whilst Fire Strike is tougher and allows luxury PCs and gaming heaters strut their stuff.
Even the winning IdeaPad is ignored by notebooks with dedicated GPUs. As we have seen a hundred times, incorporated gaming and graphics simulations don’t mix.
Next up is another synthetic graphics test, now from Unigine Corp.. Like 3DMark, the Superposition test pans and leaves through a detailed 3D scene, this one rendered in the eponymous Unigine engine for a second opinion on the machine’s graphical prowess.
The Acer has been the second-best celebrity here, but each of those machines are suitable only for casual or browser-based matches, not hard 3D titles.
Battery Rundown Evaluation
After fully recharging the laptopwe set up the device in power-save mode (rather than balanced or high-performance mode) where available and also make a few additional battery-conserving tweaks in preparation to our unplugged video rundown test. (We also turn off Wi-Fi, putting the laptop into plane mode.)
In this test, we loop a movie –a locally saved 720p file of the Blender Foundation brief film Tears of Steel–with screen brightness set at 50 percent and quantity at 100 percent before the system quits.
The Spin 3 landed in the middle of the group, revealing solid stamina. A full day’s work or college, and a day’s streaming sound or video, should not be any issue.
A Capable Convertible
The display isn’t amazing and the webcam is inferior, but the Acer Spin 3 assesses all the semi automatic boxes, offering decent performance and battery life at a bargain price.
We wouldn’t call it a standout, but we frankly can’t find much to gripe about, and if you anticipate doing any drawing or handwriting in tablet mode, it outranks hybrids that lack a stylus.
The Spin 3 drops short of Editors’ Choice standing, but Costco shoppers will be satisfied.
Acer Spin 3 (2020) Specs
- Laptop Class: Convertible 2-in-1
- Processor : Intel Core i5-1035G1
- Processor Speed: 1 GHz
- RAM (as Tested): 8 GB
- Boot Drive Type: SSD
- Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested): 256 GB
- Screen Size: 14 inches
- Native Display Resolution: 1,920 by 1,080
- Touch Screen: Yes
- Panel Technology: IPS
- Variable Refresh Support: None
- Screen Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
- Graphics Processor : Intel UHD Graphics
- Wireless Networking: 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6)
- Dimensions (HWD) : 0.67 by 12.8 by 9.1 inches
- Weight: 3.31 pounds
- Operating System: Windows 10 Home
- Tested Battery Life (Hours:Minutes)12:58