Acer Spin 3 vs Spin 5 (2020)

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Winner
Acer Spin 5 SP515-51GN-83YY, 15.6" Full HD Touch, 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U, GeForce GTX 1050, Alexa Built-in, 8GB DDR4, 1TB HDD, Convertible, Steel Gray
Best Price
Acer Spin 3 Convertible Laptop, 14 inches Full HD IPS Touch, 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U, 16GB DDR4, 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD, Backlit KB, Fingerprint Reader, Rechargeable Active Stylus, SP314-53N-77AJ
Model
Spin 5
Spin 3
Test Result
Test Result 9.5/10 Excellent June 2020
Test Result 9.2/10 Very good June 2020
Manufacturer
Acer
Acer
RAM
8 GB
16 GB
CPU
Intel Core i7-8550U
Intel Core i7-8565U
Graphics Card
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050
Intel UHD Graphics 620
Storage Capacity
1 TB HDD
512GB SSD
Battery Time
Value for money
Weight
4.85 lbs
3.70 lbs
Pros
  • Full HD Display resolution
  • Awesome performance
  • Great battery life
  • Fast SSD storage
  • Better price than Acer Spin 5
  • Good Battery life
Cons
  • A bit more expensive than Acer Spin 3
  • Fans noisey
  • Display too dark
Winner
Acer Spin 5 SP515-51GN-83YY, 15.6" Full HD Touch, 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U, GeForce GTX 1050, Alexa Built-in, 8GB DDR4, 1TB HDD, Convertible, Steel Gray
Model
Spin 5
Test Result
Test Result 9.5/10 Excellent June 2020
Manufacturer
Acer
RAM
8 GB
CPU
Intel Core i7-8550U
Graphics Card
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050
Storage Capacity
1 TB HDD
Battery Time
Value for money
Weight
4.85 lbs
Pros
  • Full HD Display resolution
  • Awesome performance
  • Great battery life
Cons
  • A bit more expensive than Acer Spin 3
Best Price
Acer Spin 3 Convertible Laptop, 14 inches Full HD IPS Touch, 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U, 16GB DDR4, 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD, Backlit KB, Fingerprint Reader, Rechargeable Active Stylus, SP314-53N-77AJ
Model
Spin 3
Test Result
Test Result 9.2/10 Very good June 2020
Manufacturer
Acer
RAM
16 GB
CPU
Intel Core i7-8565U
Graphics Card
Intel UHD Graphics 620
Storage Capacity
512GB SSD
Battery Time
Value for money
Weight
3.70 lbs
Pros
  • Fast SSD storage
  • Better price than Acer Spin 5
  • Good Battery life
Cons
  • Fans noisey
  • Display too dark

We reviewed and compared the Acer Spin 5 versus the Acer Spin 3 in terms of Performance, Display Quality, Price, Battery Life, Portability and more.

Above you can see the Ranking with the results and below you will find the in-deph tests of the two Acer Laptops.

Ranking First: Acer Spin 5

Acer Spin 5 review

Pros

  • Full HD Display resolution
  • Awesome performance
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • A bit more expensive than Acer Spin 3

Good job. The Spin 5 offers among other things a fast SSD, an illuminated keyboard and a powerful ULV quad-core processor. Good battery life is added to this. The battery can be charged via the type C USB slot. The touchscreen can be operated with the fingers or with a separately available stylus from Acer.

Acer packs the technology of the Spin 5 SP513-52N into a chic aluminium case. The computer is driven by a ULV quad-core processor.

Both internally and externally, the device differs from its direct predecessor – the Spin 5 SP513-51. Acer avoids a few mistakes in the new device, which have caused criticism of the SP513-51. Competitors include devices like the Lenovo Yoga 720-13IKB and the Asus Zenbook Flip UX360UAK-BB351T.

Design

The housing of the Spin 5 is made of anthracite coloured aluminium. The device is well manufactured. The gap dimensions are correct and no material protrusions are noticeable. The stability is also largely correct. The base unit should turn out a bit stiffer, though.

The battery is firmly installed. The computer doesn’t have a maintenance flap. All screws on the underside of the base unit have to be removed in order to get to the insides. Afterwards, the bottom shell can be removed quite easily.

Acer Spin 5 test

There are many innovations compared to the predecessor on the interface side. The SP513-52N has an HDMI output and three type-A USB slots (2x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 1x USB 2.0). There is also a type C slot (USB 3.1 Gen 1).

This supports the Display Port over USB C function, i.e. the slot can be used as a second video output by means of an adapter to be purchased separately. The type C slot can also be used to charge the battery.

However, a USB charger must provide at least 45 watts of power at a voltage of 15 to 20 volts. We tried it with a 45 watt power supply (Inateck UCC1001DE) and can confirm the charging process. An 18-watt power supply does not trigger a charging process.

While the SP513-51 has to make do with a microSD memory card reader, Acer provides the SP513-52N with a full SD card reader.

However, it doesn’t belong to the fast representatives of its kind. A maximum transfer rate of 25.2 MB/s is achieved when copying large data blocks.

The transfer of 250 JPG image files (about 5 MB each) is completed at a speed of 23 MB/s. We are testing memory card readers using a reference card (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II).

The WLAN module carries a chip from Qualcomm (QCA6174). Besides the WLAN standards 802.11a/b/g/n, this also supports the fast ac standard.

The transmission speeds determined by us under optimal conditions (no other WLAN devices in the immediate vicinity, short distance between notebook and server PC) are average.

Keyboard & Touchpad

The Spin 5 comes with an illuminated chiclet keyboard. The flat smooth keys have a short stroke and a clear pressure point. The keyboard doesn’t yield during typing.

Acer Spin 5 screen

Overall, Acer supplies a successful keyboard that is also suitable for frequent typists. The illumination is controlled by a function key. There is only one brightness level. As usual, the illumination turns off after a few seconds.

If any key is pressed, it turns on again. A permanent activation of the lighting is not possible. Nor can the period of time until the lighting is switched off be changed. Usually you can find corresponding functions in the BIOS of a computer. This is not the case with Spin 5.

The multi-touch capable clickpad takes up an area of about 10.5 x 6.5 cm. Thus, there is plenty of space available for the use of gesture control.

The smooth surface of the pad makes it easy for fingers to glide. The pad has a short stroke and a clear pressure point. The fingerprint reader is located in the upper left corner of the click pad.

The capacitive touch screen of the Spin 5 supports 10 touch points. It has no problems ready for us and reacts promptly to input.

It can be operated with the fingers as well as with the Active Stylus (ASA630) from Acer, which can be purchased separately. The pen offers 1,024 pressure levels and is available for about $40.

Display

The 13.3-inch touchscreen display of the Spin 5 operates with a native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. The contrast (1,093:1) turns out good.

The brightness value (275.7 cd/m2) should turn out considerably higher. We expect a value beyond 300 cd/m2 here. This is dictated by both the price level and the convertible’s potential field of application.

Unfortunately, the display shows PWM flickering with a frequency of 1,000 Hz at brightness levels of 20 percent and below. At this frequency, however, even sensitive people should be spared eye problems and/or headaches.

Acer Spin 5 display 360

The color display already pleases in the as-delivered state. With a DeltaE-2000 colour deviation of 2.97, the display is within the target (DeltaE less than 3). It does not suffer from a blue cast.

The measured reaction times are average and thus possibly too slow for players.

In comparison, the devices tested by us ranged from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. “54% of all screens were faster than the tested one. Therefore the measured reaction times are average (24.7 ms).

Acer equips the Spin 5 with a viewing angle stable IPS panel. Thus, the screen can be read from any position. The convertible can only be used outdoors when the sun isn’t too bright. In addition, there are the disadvantages of the reflective display surface.

Performance

With the Spin 5, Acer delivers a convertible in 13.3-inch format. It offers more than enough computing power for office and internet applications. Our test device is available for about $960.

Acer Spin 5 test backlit keyboard

Acer equips the Spin 5 with an Intel Core i5-8250U (Kaby Lake Refresh) quad-core processor, which belongs to the economical ULV models (TDP: 15 Watt). The CPU supports hyperthreading (two threads can be processed per core). The processor operates at a basic speed of 1.6 GHz. By means of Turbo an increase up to 3.4 GHz is possible.

The use of the turbo depends on the application used. For example, the multi-thread tests of the Cinebench benchmarks are only processed at 3.4 GHz for a few seconds.

Then a throttling to 2.2 to 2.3 GHz sets in. The single-thread tests, on the other hand, are run through completely at full turbo speed. The same applies to the Geekbench benchmarks. The behaviour is identical in mains and battery operation.

We check if the turbo is also used permanently by letting the Cinebench R15’s multi-thread test run in a continuous loop for about 30 minutes.

After the first run, the results drop to about 490 points and remain at this level. A turbo speed of 2.2 to 2.3 GHz can thus be maintained permanently.

The CPU classifies itself between the Core i5-7300HQ and the Core i7-7700HQ. The more the CPU can extend its turbo and the longer the speed can be maintained, the closer the results of the ULV CPU are to those of the Core i7.

Thanks to a fast SSD and a powerful processor, the system works round and smooth. We haven’t encountered any problems. The system offers enough computing power for office and internet applications.

The good results in the PCMark benchmarks confirm this. An increase in overall performance is not possible. Acer has already exhausted everything.

A solid state disk in M.2-2280 format from Micron serves as the system drive. This SATA III model has a capacity of 256 GB. Of this, about 212 GB can be used in the delivery state.

The remaining storage space is divided between the recovery partition and the Windows installation. The transfer rates of the SSD turn out well.

Intel’s UHD Graphics 620 graphics core is responsible for the graphics output. This supports DirectX 12 and works at speeds of up to 1,100 MHz.

Acer Spin 5 display performance benchmarks

The results in the 3DMark benchmarks are at a normal level for this GPU. It benefits from the RAM running in dual-channel mode. Thus the graphics core is better exploited. As a result it delivers a higher performance.

The built-in hardware is quite capable of bringing some games smoothly onto the screen. This primarily applies to titles that don’t place high demands on the hardware. In any case, one has to be satisfied with low resolutions and low quality settings.

At this point, the RAM running in dual channel mode has a positive effect. The frame rates turn out higher than in comparable devices whose RAM runs in single channel mode.

Noise & heat levels

In idle and at low load you usually don’t hear anything of the Spin 5. The fan stands still for the most part. Even when it is running, it can hardly be heard.

The fan hardly turns up under load. During our stress test (Prime95 and Furmark run for at least an hour) we measured a sound pressure level of only 33.5 dB(A).

The reason: CPU and GPU are throttled. If only Prime95 runs, the fan works at higher speeds. The level then increases to 35.4 dB(A). We get similar values in the medium load range.

Acer Spin 5 real life

If you hold one ear close to the rear ventilation opening of the convertible, a quiet electronic crackling can be heard from inside. It is not audible at normal seating distance.

The Spin 5 passes our stress test (Prime95 and Furmark run for at least an hour) in the same way in mains and battery operation.

The processor works at 1.4 GHz. The graphics core works with 850 MHz. The computer does not heat up excessively. During the stress test, the 40°C mark is exceeded at two measuring points.

Sound

The stereo speakers have found their place above the keyboard behind a perforated cover. They produce a very neat sound which can be listened to for a longer time.

However, the sound can tolerate more bass. For a better sound experience, we recommend using headphones or external speakers.

Battery life

Our practical WLAN test simulates the load when calling up web pages by means of a script. The “balanced” profile is active, the display brightness is about 150 cd/m² and the energy saving functions are switched off. The Spin 5 reaches a runtime of 8:20 hours.

The Spin 513-52N has slightly more battery capacity than its predecessor (45 Wh) with 53.9 Wh.

Verdict

Acer has a flat, chic 13.3-inch convertible in its range with the Spin 5 SP513-52N. The computer is fired by a ULV quad-core processor. Thus, more than enough computing power is available for office and internet applications. A fast SSD ensures a fast running system.

The Full-HD-IPS touchscreen display delights with stable viewing angles and good contrast. The brightness of the display should be significantly higher. The touchscreen can not only be operated with the fingers, but also with the optionally available Active Stylus from Acer.

The illuminated keyboard has left a good impression and is also suitable for more frequent typing.

In combination with the good battery life and the optional pen operation, you get a mobile, compact work tool here. However, the display brightness restricts the usage locations.

Acer has successfully tried to avoid some of the criticism voiced on the predecessor in the new Spin 5 model.

Thus, the new model comes with a type C USB slot (USB 3.1 Gen 1), which can be used both as a display port (for which a separately purchased adapter is required) and for charging the battery.

Acer also includes a full-fledged memory card reader that can accept SD cards. The previous model only has a reader for microSD cards.

In addition, the main memory now works in dual-channel mode. As the previous model only has one memory bank, only single channel mode is available on this device.

A small downer: the new Spin 5 no longer comes with a memory bank. The memory is firmly soldered. An upgrade is therefore not possible, which is why the Acer Spin 5 is ranking first versus the Acer Spin 3.

Ranking Second: Acer Spin 3

Acer Spin 3 review

Pros

  • Fast SSD storage
  • Better price than Acer Spin 5
  • Good Battery life

Cons

  • Fans noisey
  • Display too dark

Wasted potential. The Acer Spin 3 SP314-51 features a powerful quad-core processor, dual-channel memory and a fast solid state disk. Good battery life is added to this. Unfortunately, the fan turns out unpleasantly under load.

After we already tested representatives of the Spin 1, Spin 5 and Spin 7 series, we now have a model of the Spin 3 series. To be more precise, it’s the 14 inch convertible SP314-51, which can be assigned to the middle class.

The convertible is driven by a ULV quad-core processor of the Kaby Lake generation. Among the competitors are devices like the Asus VivoBook Flip 14 TP410UA, the Lenovo Yoga 520-14IKB, the HP Pavilion x360 14.

Design

The Spin 3 cannot offer a metal housing. Acer uses plastic throughout. The top of the base unit and the back of the lid are kept in a grey tone, the bottom shell is colored black.

Acer Spin 3 360 display

The top of the base unit (brushing) and the back of the lid (linen pattern) are also provided with textures. We have not noticed any processing defects.

There is a need for improvement on the stability side: the base unit should have greater rigidity. The battery is firmly installed. The computer does not have a maintenance flap.

The Spin 3 has three USB slots (2x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 1x USB 2.0). However, all three are type A sockets. The computer cannot offer type C slots. A video output (HDMI) is available.

The built-in memory card reader allows a slow start: When copying large data blocks, a maximum transfer rate of 24.8 MB/s is achieved.

The transfer of 250 JPG image files (about 5 MB each) is completed at a speed of 20.6 MB/s. We test memory card readers using a reference card (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II).

The WLAN module carries a chip from Qualcomm (QCA6174). Besides the Wlan standards 802.11a/b/g/n, this also supports the fast ac standard.

The transfer rates determined by us under optimal conditions (no other Wlan devices in the immediate vicinity, small distance between notebook and server PC) turn out good.

Keyboard & Touchpad

Acer equips the Spin 3 with an unlit chiclet keyboard. The flat, slightly roughened keys have a short stroke and a clear pressure point.

Acer Spin 3 design benchmrks

The keyboard yields slightly in the middle during typing. This hasn’t proven to be annoying. All in all, Acer supplies a very neat keyboard here, which is also suitable for doing regular typing work.

The multi-touch capable clickpad takes up an area of about 10.5 x 6.5 cm. Thus, a lot of space is available for using the gesture control. The smooth pad surface makes it easy for fingers to glide. The pad also reacts to input in the corners. It has a short stroke and a clear pressure point.

The touchscreen supports ten touch points. It doesn’t give us any problems and responds promptly to input.

Display

The 14-inch touchscreen display of the Spin 3 operates with a native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. The display delivers a good contrast (1,222:1), but the brightness (220.9 cd/m2) turns out too low in return. We expect a value beyond 300 cd/m2 here.

Acer Spin 3 side view

Acer uses PWM to regulate the display brightness. Unfortunately, the display shows PWM flickering with a frequency of 1,000 Hz at every brightness level. Because of this high frequency, even sensitive people should be spared headaches and/or eye problems.

The screen already has a very tidy colour display when delivered. With a DeltaE-2000 color deviation of 3.98, the target range (DeltaE less than 3) is only just missed. The display does not suffer from a blue cast. We couldn’t achieve an improvement of the color representation by calibrating the display.

The measured reaction times are slow and thus probably too slow for many gamers.
In comparison, the devices tested by us ranged from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. “90 % of all screens were faster than the tested one.

Therefore the measured response times are worse than the average of all measured devices (24.8 ms). The display flickers with 1000 Hz (most likely due to pulse width modulation PWM) .

Acer Spin 3 folded

The frequency of 1000 Hz is very high and should therefore not cause any problems even for sensitive persons.

In comparison: 51% of all tested devices did not use PWM to reduce the brightness. If PWM was used, then at a frequency of 18270 (minimum 5, maximum 2500000) Hz on average.

Acer equips the Convertible with a viewing angle stable IPS panel. Thus, the screen can be read from any position. The computer can only be used outdoors when the sun isn’t shining too brightly. The reflective display surface makes the task even more difficult.

Performance

Acer has a 14-inch convertible in the range with the Spin 3 SP314-51. It offers more than enough computing power for office and internet applications. Our test device is available for about $800. Other equipment variants are available.

Acer Spin 3 pen display

The Spin 3 comes with a Core i5-8250U (Kaby Lake Refresh) quad-core processor from Intel. This is a ULV CPU (TDP: 15 watts) of the middle class.

The processor works with a basic speed of 1.6 GHz. By means of Turbo an increase up to 3.4 GHz is possible.

The multi-threaded tests of the Cinebench benchmarks are only processed for a few seconds at high speeds (2.8 to 3.2 GHz). Then the clock rate drops to 2.1 to 2.3 GHz. The single-thread tests are run at full power (3.4 GHz). The behavior is identical in mains and battery operation.

We’ll check if the turbo is also used permanently by running the Cinebench R15’s multi-thread test in a continuous loop for about 30 minutes. The results fluctuate. Thus, the turbo works with unsteady speed.

The system works round and fluid. No problems are encountered. The computer has more than enough performance for office and internet applications.

This is also confirmed by the very good results in the PC Mark benchmarks. An increase in overall performance is not possible, Acer has already exhausted everything.

Acer installs a SATA-III SSD from Micron. It is a model in M.2-2280 format with a total capacity of 256 GB. Of this, about 207 GB can be used in the delivery state. The remaining storage space is divided between the Windows installation and the recovery partition. The transfer rates turn out good.

The Acer Convertible doesn’t have a dedicated graphics core. Intel’s UHD Graphics 620 graphics core is responsible for the graphics output. The GPU supports DirectX 12 and works with speeds between 300 and 1,100 MHz.

Acer Spin 3 keyboard

The results in the 3DMark benchmarks are on a normal level for the graphics core installed here. The graphics core is better exploited due to the RAM running in dual-channel mode. As a result, it delivers higher performance than models that only have access to single-channel mode memory.

The Spin 3 can handle games that make moderate demands on the hardware. This includes titles like Rocket League, Overwatch or Team Fortress 2, but you have to be satisfied with low resolutions and low quality settings. Power-hungry hits like Far Cry 5 are at no time playable.

Thanks to the RAM running in dual-channel mode, the frame rates turn out higher than in comparable devices with RAM running in single-channel mode.

Heat & noise levels

When idling, the fan is often at a standstill and then there is silence. However, even a small load is enough to get the fan to turn up. We measured a sound pressure level of 44 dB(A) during the stress test. Acer has made a mistake with the choice of fan.

It emits a clear whirring sound. The intensity of the whirring increases with the fan’s rotation speed. Even under medium load, concentrated work is only conditionally possible.

The Spin 3 passes our stress test (Prime95 and FurMark run for at least an hour) in the same way in mains and battery mode. The processor works with 900 to 1.000 MHz. The graphic core works with 700 to 800 MHz.

Acer Spin 3 side view

The Acer Convertible doesn’t heat up excessively. The 40 degree Celsius mark is exceeded at three measuring points during the stress test.

Sound

The stereo speakers have found their place above the keyboard behind a perforated cover. They produce a voluminous sound that is largely lacking in bass.

For a better sound experience, we recommend using headphones or external speakers.

Battery Life

Our practical Wlan test uses a script to simulate the load when calling up web pages. The “balanced” profile is active, the display brightness is about 150 cd/m² and the energy saving functions are switched off. The Spin 3 reaches a runtime of 8:16 h.

Verdict

Acer’s 14-inch convertible brings with it what is required for office use: a powerful processor, a nimble solid state disk and a RAM running in dual-channel mode.

Very good battery runtimes and a neat keyboard, which is also suitable for doing regular typing work, are added to this. Unfortunately, Acer does without a key illumination.

The fan stands in the way of concentrated work. It produces a disturbing whirring sound under load.

The Full-HD-IPS screen pleases with stable viewing angles and good contrast. However, the brightness turns out too low. Thus, the convertible is usually only usable inside buildings.

Criticism is due to the fact that Acer does without a type C USB slot in the Spin 3. We simply expect such a connection nowadays.

Moreover, the memory card reader takes it very leisurely. The competition proves that considerably more would be possible, which is why the Acer Spin 3 is ranking second behind versus the Acer Spin 5.

But its still a good Laptop and quite cheaper than the Acer Spin 5, so if you need to save some bucks, get this one!


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