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Review: Acer Spin 3

Acer has quite a few entries in the 2-in-1 market already, and they’re still going strong. We’ve talked about a few of those, the Aspire R 14 and the Switch Alpha 12, both of which were solid.

The Spin 3 is a little less flashy than some of Acer’s other options, but that means potentially saving a few bucks. You can pick up the version we have here for $600, which is at the lower end of the full size 2-and-1 spectrum.

So it costs a bit less and it’s on the larger side, what else sets the Spin 3 apart from Acer’s other offerings?

Taking it For A Spin

The Spin 3 looks very much like a laptop; the obsidian black case is plastic, and has a pretty straight forward visual design. It’s easy to forget that it is a 2-in-1 actually, and that allows it to blend seamlessly into an office or school environment. At least until you blow everyone’s mind by breaking it in half.

The second thing you’re likely to notice is the all around largeness. The Spin 3 ain’t small, with a 15.6 inch screen and a pretty wide profile, this 2-in-1 is definitely in laptop replacement territory, not the ultraportable market.

The Spin 3 is another entry in the laptop first tablet second category, which is perfect for some people. Those who want a smaller tablet might want to go the detachable route.

It’s got a width of 15 inches and a thickness of .89 inches. It weighs in at 4.74 pounds, which isn’t super heavy, but considering some detachables weigh little more than a pound, it’s definitely on the beefier side of the spectrum.

Still though, that extra weight adds a stability that some people might appreciate in a 2-in-1, especially for people with larger hands. Seems like several aspects of the Spin 3 were designed with them in mind.

Everything Hinges on This

The case may be plastic, but the hinges definitely are not. They are constructed from a sturdy metal, and the silver stands out against the black motif for a nice visual pop.

They feel solid, though perhaps a bit loose compared to some of the competition. Some people in the office actually prefered the flexibility, as it allows for easier movement when compared to stiffer hinges.

Those looser hinges could have been a problem when attempting to use the Spin 3 in tablet mode, but luckily that’s not the case here. Something that sets apart the Spin 3 from some of its more expensive competitors is the inclusion of a magnet to keep the display from flopping around during transformation.

As simple as it sounds, a magnet is a surprisingly effective solution to floppy screen syndrome when in tablet mode, and it’s great that Acer chose to implement it even in their less expensive line.

Always On Display

The 15.6 inch 1920x1080 IPS display on the Spin 3 is awesome when you want to use it as a laptop, but do be aware that if you have small hands it might be a little tricky to use as a tablet.

Even with my rather large hands the 15.6 tablet with attached keyboard was a bit unwieldy, though I can see how the large screen could be useful for some professionals, say an architect who wants to show off blueprints.

The Spin 3 is another entry in the laptop first tablet second category, which is perfect for some people. Those who want a smaller tablet might want to go the detachable route.

Keys and Pads

Given the lower price of the Spin 3, I was surprised by how much I liked the keyboard. The white backlight is appreciated for us nocturnal typists, and the keys feel nice. Because it’s a full size laptop replacement, there’s a number pad too. The keys are spaced well and have a perfect amount of give for my personal preference. It’s rare I don’t use an external keyboard, but with the Spin 3, it didn’t seem to be necessary. That’s pretty high praise.

The trackpad is a flat black, and though there were a few minor latency issues, the face of the Spin 3 is overall pretty impressive for the price.

Specs

The brain of the Spin 3 we received is an Intel i5 Skylake CPU running at 2.30GHz. It also sports 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. Those are pretty competitive components at an entry level price.

As is to be expected, you can customize the components you want, providing you’re willing to pay a little more. You can get a better CPU and more RAM, but this particular combination could be an excellent balance of price and performance. It’s more than capable of doing what you’d expect, but at a lower price than most of the other full size laptop 2-in-1s.

From Port to Port

As far as ports go, the Spin 3 has a fairly standard assortment. There’s one HDMI for external display, two USB 3.0 ports, and a USB 2.0. Nothing super crazy here, but it should be enough ports to get the job done.

Spin Me Right Round

The Acer Spin 3 is going for discrete. It has an unassuming look, solid specs, and a remarkably attractive price for the size and functionality. While it doesn’t have top of the line internals, what is there will most likely get the 2-in-1 job done.

The main thing to keep in mind is the large size. A small, portable tablet this is not, but this 2-in-1 could be great for someone who needs a lot of screen real estate and isn’t going to utilize the tablet functionality all that often.

Photos By: Denise Damian