Acer Spin 3 review: A decent laptop hybrid with a nice screen

Hardware Reviews / Reviews / Tech
Acer Spin 3

Acer is touting TrueHarmony sound on the Spin 3 and I love that the speakers are located above the keyboard.

TA-ratings-82Mobility is the order of the day for this generation. For the most part, desktops have been replaced by laptops for most people’s day-to-day activities and finding the right laptop is key. On top of the desktop being replaced, users want their laptop to be multifunctional. Enter the Acer Spin 3. The Acer Spin 3 joins a line of other laptops on the market that leverage Windows 10 multi-touch interface. While the Acer Spin 3 isn’t perfect, at its price point it may be a prime choice for some. Read on for our full Acer Spin 3 review.

Specifications

The Acer Spin 3 review unit sent to us had the following features and specifications:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-6500 CPU 2.6GHz
  • GPU: Intel HD 520 integrated graphics
  • Display: 15.6″ 1920×1080 IPS display
  • RAM: 12GB DDR4 SDRAM
  • Hard Drive: 1TB HDD
  • Sound: Acer TrueHarmony sound
  • Connectivity: 802.11ac WiFi featuring MU-MIMO technology, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Built-in microphone
  • Backlit keyboard with number pad
  • Inputs: HDMI port with HDCP support, USB 3.0 port, 2 USB 2.0 ports, SD Card reader, 3.5mm audio jack
  • 9-hour battery life
Acer Spin 3

The hinges give this laptop different modes to operate in.

What’s In The Box

  • Acer Spin 3
  • Power brick
  • Power cable
  • Documentation

Design

With an all plastic build, the Acer Spin 3 feels surprisingly robust and durable. The black plastic top has a brushed metal look to it and the Acer logo rounds it out with a brushed aluminum look to it. On the bottom, you’ll find a basic plastic backplate and plenty of ventilation on the bottom and out of the back edge as well. Along the backside of the laptop are the hinges that allow this laptop to flip into tent, tablet, presentation, and laptop modes. The hinges also appear to be made of plastic, which does concern me a bit, I would have like to see these made of aluminum for more durability.

Acer Spin 3

Was not a fan of the weird trackpad placement.

Along the left side of the laptop, you’ll find the Kensington lock, power button, two USB 2.0 ports, and volume rocker. Along the right side of the laptop, you’ll find the power port, HDMI port, USB 3.0 port, SD card reader, and 3.5mm AUX input. Around the front, you have two LED indicators for power and activity. Opening up the laptop you have a full-size keyboard with number pad. The display is full multi-touch with an integrated webcam and the Acer TrueHarmony speakers are under the display.

Despite the Acer Spin 3 being made of plastic, this thing is fairly heavy, coming in at nearly 5 lbs. While this is a 15.6″ laptop, it feels more like a 17″ laptop in its dimensions. That’s not a bad thing if you like heavier and bigger laptops. The added number pad on the keyboard probably makes it feel bigger. Overall the design is pretty basic here, nothing groundbreaking but certainly not a bad looking machine.

Acer Spin 3

Glare and viewing angles aren’t great on this display, especially in bright light.

Display

The 15.6″ IPS display has a screen resolution of 1920×1080 which is more than enough for most users these days. While higher resolution displays are becoming more popular, 1080p is more than enough for most people and what they use laptops for. The display is covered in a glossy finish that tends to hurt the viewing angles of the Acer Spin 3. This same glossy finish makes bright light viewing a challenge as well as glare can get pretty bad from some angles.

Colors on this display look decent, they don’t really pop off the screen but they are acceptable. The whites are a little off, but not too bad, and the blacks are actually pretty good. The text is easy to read and looks crisp enough, it could be better but is acceptable. Brightness could be better, especially in brighter lighting conditions. The touch panel is very responsive, scrolling and gestures work as they should and I didn’t find any input errors.

Overall, this isn’t the best display on the market but it will get most people through. If you highly dislike glare and need good viewing angles, this one may not be for you.

Acer Spin 3

HDMI and USB 3.0

Software/Ecosystem

Windows 10 comes installed here and it performs just as Windows 10 should perform. Acer does include a bundle of bloatware that is disappointing to see. WildTangent Games, Amazon, SlingTV, Priceline, Dashlane, Kindle, and the worst offender: McAfee. Most of these added programs offer little to no value and we would love to see Acer (and other OEMs) just give us Windows 10 and only Windows 10.

Performance

The Acer Spin 3 sent to us had a higher end Intel Core i7 with integrated Intel HD 520 GPU. That said, do not expect this to be a gaming machine. Even with the included 12GB of SDRAM and the higher end processor, the GPU isn’t going to get you through serious gaming. For basic everyday tasks, this configuration performs well. That includes email, web browsing, streaming media/content consumption, and business multi-tasking. I did find the machine to become a little sluggish when throwing too many browsing sessions, streaming, and heavy multi-tasking at it. Overall, this should be a great performer for the average user.

Speakers/Sound

Acer is touting TrueHarmony sound on the Spin 3 and I love that the speakers are located above the keyboard. The sound is better than most laptops but isn’t all that spectacular either. While there is more depth to the sound here, the speakers are still weak. This isn’t all too surprising, given that this is a laptop. I would suggest a good pair of headphones or external speaker if you want good quality sound. The onboard speakers will work in a pinch or if you don’t care about superior sound quality.

Acer Spin 3

Speakers located at the top, great placement for laptop and tablet mode, but may not be so good in tent or presentation mode.

Camera

The webcam is a standard 720p camera with basic webcam results. It gets the job done but, as with most webcams, it’s not super sharp.

Battery Life

The advertised battery life is 9 hours. Under a heavy load of browsing, writing, streaming content, and 90% brightness. I was able to get just over 7 hours. Battery life will depend on what you’re doing and the laptops brightness settings and keyboard settings.

Price/Value

Starting at $499USD and heading up from there, the Acer Spin 3 is a decent laptop for most users. Power users may want to look elsewhere.

Wrap Up

The Acer Spin 3 is heavy but has a robust build. Viewing angles and glare need improving, and the amount of bloatware preinstalled is off the charts. This is a good laptop for the average user but power users and the tech minded crowd may want to look elsewhere.

*We were sent a review unit of the Acer Spin 3 for the purposes of this review.

Acer Spin 3

$499+ USD
Acer Spin 3
8.2

Design

9/10

    Display

    8/10

      Software/Ecosystem

      8/10

        Performance

        8/10

          Speakers/Sound

          8/10

            Camera

            8/10

              Battery Life

              9/10

                Price/Value

                9/10

                  Nailed it

                  • Price point is affordable
                  • Robust build
                  • Decent display
                  • Four use modes

                  Needs work

                  • Offset trackpad
                  • Bloatware
                  • Felt a little sluggish
                  • Heavy
                  • Doesn't have great viewing angles
                  • Quite a bit of glare
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