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Acer Spin 5 2020 review

The Acer Spin 5 is a beastly hybrid with a sweet stylus

Acer Spin 5 2020
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The Acer Spin 5 is a beastly 2-in-1 with a sweet stylus, but its battery life could be better.

For

  • Competition-crushing performance
  • Colorful display
  • Stylus included
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Thin and light

Against

  • So-so battery life

The Acer Spin 5 (starting at $999, reviewed at $1,099) is a powerful — and I mean, beastly — 2-in-1 laptop that says “eat my dust!” to other hybrid rivals on the market. The Acer convertible crushed competitors on our performance and graphics benchmarks. Plus, it has a colorful, high-definition display that’ll make watching Netflix and YouTube a treat.

Battery life, on the other hand, isn’t the Spin 5’s strong suit. But with its smooth-operating Active Pen and convenient variety of ports, the Spin 5 might be worth the splurge despite its runtime flaw.

Acer Spin 5 price and configuration

The Spin 5’s base model costs $999. It’s equipped with an Intel Core i5-1035G4 CPU, Intel Iris Plus graphics, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, a 2256 x 1504-pixel touchscreen display, and Windows 10 Home.

Our $1,099 review unit features a processor upgrade to an Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU. The $1,299 configuration keeps everything the same, but bumps your operating system up to Windows 10 Pro.

Acer Spin 5 design

If the Spin 5’s steel-gray, fingerprint-resistant chassis were personified, it’d be a clean-cut, urbane professional who loves saying, “I make the rules here!”  But its center-positioned, reflective Acer logo tells you that the Spin 5 has a mischievous twinkle in its eye, hinting at its fun, impish side.

Acer Spin 5 2020

(Image credit: Future)

Opening the lid, you’ll find that the Spin 5 has a squarish, 13.5-inch display; it is taller than it is wide with a 3:2 aspect ratio. The side bezels are slim, but the Spin 5’s large chin —  sporting a bold silver Acer logo — would make Jay Leno envious. The top bezel is thick to accommodate the 720p camera.

As I transformed the Spin 5 into a tablet, I said, “Ah, there’s your fun side!” Its 2-in-1 feature revealed the Spin 5’s entertaining personality beneath its cool, gray exterior. In between the 360-degree hinges, you’ll find the word “Spin” above the function keys. Above the word “Spin,” is a top-firing speaker grill.

You’ll find more of that steel-gray goodness throughout the deck, which features an island-style, backlit keyboard with black Chiclet keys. Beneath the spacebar is a spacious silver touchpad that has a fingerprint scanner on the top-left corner. 

Acer Spin 5 2020

(Image credit: Future)

The Spin 5 is a featherweight, thin device. This airy convertible is so lightweight that if you were to stick it inside your travel bag, you wouldn’t even notice its presence. The Spin 5 is 2.6 pounds and 0.59 inches thick. This Acer laptop is thinner and lighter than its 2-in-1 competitors: the Lenovo Yoga C940 (3 pounds, 0.6 inches thick) and the HP Spectre x360 13 (2.7 pounds, 0.7 inches). 

Acer Spin 5 ports

The Spin 5 is generous with its eight-port offering.

Acer Spin 5 2020

(Image credit: Future)

On the left side, you’ll find a DC-in jack, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one HDMI 2.0 port, a USB 3.2 Type-A port and a microSD slot. 

Acer Spin 5 2020

(Image credit: Future)

On the right side, you’ll discover one more USB 3.2 Type-A port, plus a headset jack, a Kensington lock slot and a stylus garage.

Acer Spin 5 display

The Spin 5 sports a 13.5-inch, 2256 x 1504-pixel display, which is a step up from your typical 1080p screen, but not quite 4K.

Acer Spin 5 2020

(Image credit: Future)

“Ooh!” is what I said while watching the Rogue trailer, which features Transformers star, Megan Fox. I was particularly impressed with this display because, not too long ago, I watched the same trailer on the Spin 3’s 1080p screen and my eyes were not happy.

But on the Spin 5, Fox appeared more human as I spotted her tiny pores and rosy cheeks. A helicopter explosion emitted rich, vivid colors of red, yellow and orange. The CGI lions in the Rogue trailer seemed creepier on the Spin 5’s crisp, detailed panel.

Acer may be notorious for offering dim panels, but this time, the Taiwan-based laptop maker did not skimp on the Spin 5’s display. When we tested for brightness, the Spin 5’s screen emitted 425 nits, which outshone the category average (379 nits). The Spin 5 is also brighter than the Yoga C940 (339 nits) and the Spectre x360 13 (369 nits).

Acer Spin 5 2020

(Image credit: Future)

The Spin 5 proved that its panel is quite colorful; the convertible covered 111% of the sRGB color gamut. Although this score is lower than the category average (119%), the Spin 5 bested the Yoga C940 (104%) and Spectre x360 13 (109%).

Acer Spin 5 stylus

The fast-charging Acer Active Pen is included with the Spin 5. Stick this bad boy into its stylus garage for just 15 seconds and you’ll receive 90 minutes of unfettered use. The stylus features 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, which helps the Active Pen to simulate a smooth pen-to-paper feel.

Acer Spin 5 2020

(Image credit: Future)

I played around with the Active Pen on Paint 3D. I sketched a quick comic, drew a delicious burger and scribbled a message. The Active Pen provided silky-smooth pen input as I made sweeping strokes on the digital canvas. As I tested the stylus’s latency, I observed little-to-no lag. 

Acer Spin 5 2020

(Image credit: Future)

The Active Pen may not be the most ergonomic digital writing implement on the market, but its skinny, toothpick-like dimensions help it fit snugly inside its stylus garage — a perfect solution for content creators who often lose their styli. 

Acer Spin 5 keyboard and touchpad

The Spin 5 sports an island-style, backlit keyboard with well-sized keys for a pleasant typing experience. On the 10fastfingers.com typing test, I reached 84 words per minute, which is lower than my typical 85-wpm average. The minor dip in my wpm score could be attributed to the slight mushy feel of the keys, but otherwise, I have no other complaints about the Spin 5’s keyboard.

Acer Spin 5 2020

(Image credit: Future)

The spacious 4.3 x 3.1-inch silver touchpad features a Windows Hello-compatible fingerprint reader on the top-left corner. The trackpad successfully delivered quick and accurate responses to Windows 10 gestures, including two-finger scrolling and pinch-to-zoom. 

Acer Spin 5 audio

Let’s take a look at the positive aspects of the Spin 5’s audio. Its top-firing speakers allowed for free-flowing, room-filling audio as I turned up the volume to the max. I listened to “Savage Love” by Jawsh 685 and Jason Derulo. Both crooners’ vocals sounded like sweet honey to my ears on the Spin 5’s speakers.

Acer Spin 5 2020

(Image credit: Future)

On more rhythmic songs, however, the speakers suffered from a lack of punch in the bass department. But for the most part, the Spin 5’s speakers sounded sharp, even at max volume.

Acer Spin 5 performance

Packed with an Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor and 16GB of RAM, the Spin 5 proved its multitasking muscle after enduring a flood of 35 Google Chrome tabs without stuttering.

On the Geekbench 5.0 overall performance test, the Spin 5 scored 4,289, which crushed the score of the average premium laptop (4,041). The Yoga C940 (16GB of RAM) and the Spectre x360 13 (8GB of RAM), competitors that share the same CPU as the Spin 5, lagged behind the Acer 2-in-1 with scores of 4,055 and 4,074, respectively.

Acer Spin 5 2020

(Image credit: Future)

On our HandBrake benchmark, the Spin 5 took 17 minutes and 5 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p, which is faster than the category average of 18 minutes and 39 seconds. The Lenovo Yoga C940 (19:32) and the Spectre x360 13 (21:13) were both slower than the Spin 5.

On our storage test, the Spin 5’s 512GB SSD duplicated 4.97GB of multimedia files in 8 seconds, which translates to 678 megabytes per second. This is faster than the category average (147 MBps). Comparing the Spin 5 to its rivals that also sport 512GB SSDs, the Yoga C940 (1,084 MBps) outpaced the Acer convertible, but the Spectre x360 13 was sluggish (339 MBps). 

Acer Spin 5 graphics

The Spin 5 is equipped with Intel Iris Plus graphics, but you’ll still need a discrete GPU to play your favorite graphics-intensive games.

Acer Spin 5 2020

(Image credit: Future)

The Spin 5 played Dirt 3 at 64 frames per second with the graphics set to 1080p on Very High, which matches the category average. The Yoga C940 (51 fps) and Spectre x360 13 (47 fps) couldn’t keep up with the Spin 5.

On the 3DMark Fire Strike graphics benchmark, the Spin 5 sailed past the category average (1,358) with a score of 2,772. The Spin 5 also demolished the Yoga C490 (2,138) and the Spectre x360 13 (2,615).

Acer Spin 5 battery life

The Spin 5 won’t win any awards with its ho-hum battery life, but it is thankfully longer than our preferred 8-hour runtime. The Acer 2-in-1 lasted 9 hours and 6 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Life Test, which involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits; this is shorter than the battery runtime of the average premium laptop (9:33).

Acer Spin 5 2020

(Image credit: Future)

The Yoga C940 and Spectre x360 13, on the other hand, demonstrated more endurance with runtimes of 11:46 and 13:20 minutes, respectively.

Acer Spin 5 webcam

The Spin 5’s 720p camera is alright — I wouldn’t recommend Twitch streaming or YouTube vlogging with it, but what I love about the camera is its accurate color reproduction. The camera perfectly captured my faux flowers’ pink, gold and green petals.

Acer Spin 5 2020

(Image credit: Future)

The Spin 5’s camera also picked up on facial details that revealed my sleep deprivation, including my dark circles and reddish eyes. It’s a blessing and a curse — the 720p camera, equipped with super high dynamic range, is sharp enough to render muted facial details, but on the downside, you can’t hide your blemishes.

Still, I’d recommend an external webcam. Thank me later. 

Acer Spin 5 heat

After the Spin 5 streamed a 15-minute, 1080p video, the touchpad, keyboard center and underside remained cool with temperatures of 77 degrees Fahrenheit, 84 degrees, and 86 degrees, respectively. 

Acer Spin 5 2020

(Image credit: Future)

Even the hottest location of the Spin 5 — the bottom of the laptop near the vent — hovered under our 95-degree comfort threshold at 93 degrees. 

Acer Spin 5 software and warranty

The Spin 5 has tons of preinstalled Windows 10 bloatware that takes up a lot of precious space on your SSD. You’ll find a lot of Acer-branded software, such as Acer Collection S, Acer Configuration, Acer Jumpstart and Acer Product Registration.

Acer Spin 5 2020

(Image credit: Future)

You’ll also discover a lot of games you didn’t ask for, including Candy Crush Friends, Farm Heroes Saga, Hearts Deluxe, Simple FreeCell, Simple Mahjong and Simple Solitaire.

The Spin 5 does come with the Active Acer pen, so I would have loved to see more note-taking and sketching apps for casual content creators.

The Spin 5 ships with a one-year warranty. See how Acer did on our Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Brands ranking

Bottom line

The Acer Spin 5 is undoubtedly a powerful hybrid machine — it blew its fellow 2-in-1 competitors out of the water when it comes to display quality, overall performance and graphics. And despite being a thin-and-light convertible, the Spin 5 manages to offer an abundance of ports to fulfill all your connection needs. The Acer laptop even has a microSD reader, a convenient feature for content creators that seems to be growing more obsolete among laptops.

Another aspect of the Spin 5 content creators will love is its stylus. It isn’t as cozy as a Wacom pen, but its tiny form factor makes storing the stylus simple and easy, so losing your digital pen will become a thing of the past.

One conspicuous downside of the Spin 5 is its battery life. Its 9-hour battery runtime isn’t too bad, but it pales in comparison to competitors’ runtimes. If you want a 2-in-1 that offers more battery life endurance, consider the Yoga C940, which lasts more than 11 hours on a charge.

However, if you want a robust 2-in-1 that outputs competition-beating performance scores, proving that it can manage all of your workloads without breaking a sweat, the Spin 5 is the perfect convertible for you.

Acer Spin 5 Specs

BluetoothBluetooth 4.1
BrandAcer
CPUIntel Core i5-8250U
Company Websiteacer.com
Display Size13.3
Graphics CardIntel HD Graphics 620
Hard Drive Size256GB SSD
Hard Drive TypeSSD
Highest Available Resolution1920 x 1080
Native Resolution1920x1080
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Ports (excluding USB)USB 2.0, USB 3.0, USB Type-C, SD card slot, Headphone/Mic, Ethernet, HDMI
RAM8GB
Size12.77 x 8.9 x 0.63 inches
Touchpad Size4.1 x 2.5 inches
USB Ports4
Warranty/SupportOne year
Weight3.4 pounds
Wi-Fi802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Wi-Fi ModelDual-Band 2.4GHz and 5GHz
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