Acer Chromebook 13 Spin with 8th-Gen Core Is Overkill, in a Good Way

NEW YORK - How much power do you need if you’re buying a Chromebook? If you answered, "an 8th-gen Intel Core processor, up to 16GB of RAM and up to 128GB SSD," we have your machine.

I just went hands-on with Acer's Chromebook 13 Spin, which will be available later this year, and it's clearly a challenger to Google's $999 Pixelbook, both in terms of raw specs but also premium design. Pricing and availability is not yet known.

As you've likely gathered by the name, the Chromebook 13 Spin is a 2-in-1 convertible that offers multiple usage modes, complete with 360-degree hinges and a full HD+ 13.5-inch touch display. In person, the screen was bright and colorful, but the 3:2 aspect ratio was a bit too tall for my tastes, especially as someone who travels a lot that worries about reclining seats in front of me.

On the positive side, the tall display gives you 18 percent more vertical space than 16:9 panels, so there's less scrolling. I also like that you can play touchscreen-optimized games from the Google Play store on this system, though I'm not sure how long my arms would want to hold this 3.5-pound convertible aloft.

Another plus is the built-in Wacom stylus, which you can use to take notes or draw. This isn't Apple Pencil quality, folks, but I do like that the stylus is small enough to fit into a slot on the front.

The Chromebook 13 Spin certainly felt sturdy in my hands, thanks to the all-aluminum chassis, which is sandblasted to make it easier to grip. The design also sports diamond-cut effects on the edges and touchpad for a little extra flair. The touchpad itself is made of Gorilla Glass, which felt smooth in my initial testing.

In addition to a traditional USB 3.0 port, the Chromebook 13 Spin comes with two USB Type-C ports (one on each) side and a microSD card reader.

What about endurance? Acer is targeting up to 10 hours of battery life, but we'll have to see how well that claim holds up in our tests. 

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Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.