Acer Spin 1 Review: Portable Windows convertible with best-in-class display

Acer Spin 1 is a good Windows machine for students and avid travelers.

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Portable notebooks are undoubtedly the most interesting products in consumer PC segment. They are just perfect for students, writers, and anyone else who is always on move and basically uses a PC for video playback, internet browsing, writing and data entry tasks.

There's no shortage of compact notebooks in the Indian market. The price range starts from as low as Rs. 10,000 and goes as high as Rs. 1.5 lacs. What makes compact notebook category even more exciting is the fact that the key players don't hold themselves from experimenting and introduce products with interesting real-world applications.

Acer, one of the leading PC manufacturers is one such example. The tech giant recently introduced Acer Spin 1 compact notebook series in the Indian market with some noteworthy features for Windows users. Spin 1 sports a crisp Full HD screen and works as a full-fledged PC and as a Windows tablet. The notebook also has a very compact design that makes it a good buy for students and Windows users who are always on the move.

Acer sent us Spin 1 to test out its features and performance. Here's what we found out.

Specifications and Connectivity ports

Acer Spin comes with an 11.6-inch multi-touch full HD IPS LCD screen sporting a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass. The notebook is available with Intel Pentium quad-core N4200 and Celeron 1.10 GHz CPU options. For multitasking and graphics, the notebook offers 4GB DDR3 RAM (Up to 8 GB maximum) and Intel HD 505 GPU respectively. There's 500 GB HDD storage and the notebook comes pre-installed with MS Office 365 one month trial. Acer Spin 1 runs on Windows 10 and is backed by a 4-cell 3220 mAh Li-ion battery cell. The compact Windows machine also offers a 1280 x 720 webcam and has two speakers to deliver audio.

As far as connectivity and ports are concerned, Acer Spin will not disappoint you. The compact Windows notebook offers microSD card slot, 3.5mm headphone jack, 1x USB 3.0 port, 2 x USB 2.0 ports and an HDMI Output.

Design: Compact and convertible

If you start looking for notebooks priced under Rs. 35,000 on e-commerce sites, you will mostly find big and bulky machines that can only be used in standard laptop mode. They might offer a snappier processing unit, but then you have to settle for a low-resolution display and very basic and unappealing design. You can also consider compact Chromebooks from Asus, iBall and even Acer; however they have their own limitations and might not match your requirements.

Then there's Acer Spin 1 which beautifully fills this gap. Spin 1 is a compact convertible that can be used a full-fledged laptop and as a tablet with full touch screen access. Spin 1 can also be used in tent mode to stream presentations and videos. The subtle Blue colored lid with a matte cross-hatch pattern gives Spin 1 a stylish and a premium look and feel. The plastic used in the construction is sturdy and does not come as a cheap material. The clean lines and neat design is also maintained once you open the lid; however the broad black bezels around the display break the symmetry.

Acer Spin 1 weighs 1.5 Kg and measures 11.4 x 7.9 x 0.56 inches. It is not the thinnest notebook around, but is certainly lightweight and compact enough to slide in a small laptop messenger bag which makes it just perfect for students, writers, and anyone who likes to work while on the move. You can also use it in tablet mode without any struggle. However, you should also know that the 11.6-inches screen and small keypad can be too small for your liking if you are quite fond of bigger screens and good travel while typing on a keyboard. But if you are in the market for a compact convertible that gets most of the everyday jobs done, Acer Spin 1 will not disappoint you.


Display: Crisp full HD screen with touch support

The key selling point of Acer Spin 1 is its vibrant full HD screen. It is by far the best display I have used on a laptop priced in this category. The screen size is 11.6-inches which combined with the 1080p resolution results in a crisp and vivid multimedia experience. You can watch movies, browse web pages with crisp text in laptop or in a tablet mode. Moreover, you can also keep the convertible in tent mode for a captivating video playback experience. The screen is also very touch-responsive which allows for comfortable navigation while using the notebook in tablet and tent mode.

The good brightness levels of IPS LCD screen make it fairly usable in daylight conditions; however it's a bit reflective. The only thing I want from Acer in Spin 1's successor is thinner bezels. The thick black borders really don't complement the vivid display and overall look and feel of the notebook. Overall, Acer Spin 1 convertible packs in one of the best displays on a notebook in its respective price-point that will certainly appeal multimedia lovers.

Performance: Good enough for everyday tasks

Like most of PC users, I have a habit of using Chrome with multiple tabs. With Acer Spin 1, I managed to get an acceptable browsing experience with very few judders. Most of the web pages worked fine; however the notebook did freeze quite often when a video was playing in the background (YouTube) and the other tab had some heavy ads on display. You can browse multiple web pages with no major performance slowdown but don't start installing heavy games or indulge in number crunching spreadsheets as you will be disappointed.

I mostly used the Spin 1 for writing, video playback, browsing and MS Office and this is exactly what Acer wants you to do with it. It is not a heavy duty machine and only works well for most of the everyday routines. Not to forget that Spin 1 is virtually silent and does not get alarmingly warm.

As far as software is concerned, the convertible runs Windows 10 Home edition and comes with MS office pre-installed. There are several preloaded apps and softwares, some from Acer that you might or might not find useful.

Keyboard and Trackpad Performance

I am currently using a 15.6-inch laptop with a keypad that offers a very comfortable travel. I thought I would take some time to adapt to Spin 1's compact keyboard but it was not at all a struggle. The keypad on Spin 1 is surprisingly comfortable; thanks to the unwanted bezels around the screen that made it possible for the design team to add a keyboard with a substantial spacing. Moreover, occasional writers will love the overall typing experience as the keys are very responsive and are not stiff.

As far as trackpad is concerned, it is also quite responsive and provides accurate navigation. It also supports multitouch gestures such as pinch-to-zoom and three-finger swipe.

Battery backup

Acer claims that Spin 1 can deliver a battery backup of up to 8 hours on a single charge, which is quite correct. We managed to get a battery backup of little over than 7 hours on one full charge, which is pretty good for this small Windows machine. The low-power CPU and small screen works in favor of Acer Spin 1 to deliver a good battery backup.

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Acer Spin 1 is not the most powerful Windows notebook in its respective price segment; however it is still one-of-its kind. It's perfect for students, writers and anyone who needs a compact yet feature loaded Windows machine for everyday routine jobs. The 1080p touchscreen is a delight and will appeal users who spend a good amount of time in watching movies or browsing web. The compact and stylish design also makes it a great buy for travelers. In a nutshell, it's not a heavy duty machine but fares well for day-to-day tasks.

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