AT THE END OF THE DAY
Despite its high price, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is a world-class alternative to Windows convertibles.
- Touch screen with a tall, high-resolution display
- fascinating performance
- HDMI, Thunderbolt 4, and USB-A connectors are all available.
- Instead of eMMC flash storage, a large 256GB SSD is used.
- For a Chromebook, it’s a bit pricey.
- Overweight by half a pound
- There isn’t a stylus or a fingerprint reader.
ACER CHROMEBOOK SPIN 713 (2022) SPECS
|Laptop Class||Convertible 2-in-1, Chromebook|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-1135G7|
|Processor Speed||2.4 GHz|
|RAM (as Tested)||8 GB|
|Boot Drive Type||SSD|
|Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested)||256 GB|
|Screen Size||13.5 inches|
|Native Display Resolution||2,256 by 1,504|
|Variable Refresh Support||None|
|Screen Refresh Rate||60 Hz|
|Graphics Processor||Intel Iris Xe Graphics|
|Wireless Networking||802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6)|
|Dimensions (HWD)||0.67 by 11.8 by 9.3 inches|
|Operating System||Google Chrome OS|
|Tested Battery Life (Hours: Minutes)||11:10|
The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 soared to the top of our Chromebook rankings when we tested it in August 2020 because of its snappy performance, ample ports, sleek and robust construction, and 13.5-inch touch screen with an excellent 3:2 aspect ratio. The Spin 713 is now $699.99, which is $70 more than before, but it’s still a charming convertible that easily earns an Editors’ Choice award among premium Chromebooks. It has the 11th Generation Intel Core i5 CPU instead of a 10th Generation Intel Core i5 CPU and a 256GB solid-state drive instead of a 128GB solid-state drive.
Thunderbolt 4 is now available.
This year’s Chromebook Spin 713 (model CP713-3W-5102) features the same Steel Gray aluminum chassis that’s passed the same MIL-STD 810H testing for shock and vibration as its predecessor; there’s scarcely any flex if you hold the screen corners or press the keyboard deck. It measures 0.67 by 11.8 by 9.3 inches, slightly larger than the 13.3-inch Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 Chromebook (0.67 by 12.2 by 8.4 inches). Still, at 3.2 pounds, it falls short of the ultraportable threshold—the 14-inch Asus Chromebook CX9, for example, weighs 2.31 pounds.
The Acer features a 2.4GHz quad-core Core i5-1135G7 processor with Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB NVMe solid-state drive. One of the few Chromebooks that supports Thunderbolt 4—the two USB Type-C ports on the left flank (either of which may fit the tiny AC adapter) follow the current Thunderbolt criteria.
Another feature on the left edge that is uncommon among Chromebooks is an HDMI video output, which eliminates the requirement for a USB-C adaptor when using an external monitor. There’s also an audio jack nearby. The right side has a USB 3.2 Type-A port, a microSD card slot, a power button, and a volume rocker in tablet mode.
The Spin 713 is missing a few extras found on higher-end Chromebooks despite all of these features. There’s no fingerprint reader (or face-recognition webcam, though we haven’t seen the latter on any Chromebook too far). There is no privacy shutter on the webcam. Because there are no genuine Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys, you’ll have to match the menu and Alt keys with the cursor arrows.
As good as an IPS Display Can Get
Because it shows more webpage or word processing material or spreadsheet rows without scrolling, Acer calls the squarish 3:2 aspect ratio screen a VertiView display. The Chromebook’s natural resolution is 2,256 by 1,504 pixels, which makes text and screen elements small but legible; like most Chromebooks, the Settings/Device tab includes a selection of faux or “looks like” resolutions (the default is 1,410 by 940 pixels) so you may pick a size that matches your eyes.
Brightness is sufficient, but I was never tempted to lower it from its maximum setting, and contrast is adequate. Viewing angles are vast and white backgrounds are clean, not dingy. Both still photos and YouTube videos have vibrant colors. When touched in laptop mode, two hinges hold the screen in place with a minimum wobble and make it simple to fold back into tent or tablet configuration. The convertible kept up with my swiping, swooping fingertip in Chrome Canvas, but that was all I had to work with—no stylus is included.
The webcam has the standard 720p resolution and captures soft-focus images with a lot of static; it’s downright wrong in low-light situations. Speakers situated on the bottom generate a loud but hollow or tinny sound. Still, there’s more bass than I expected, and overlapping tracks can be heard.
The keyboard boasts bright backlighting and a comfortable if shallow, typing experience. The buttonless, square touchpad is a good size and glides and taps effortlessly, requiring only light pressure for a silent click. A two-finger tap on any Chromebook equals a right-click.
The Spin 713 comes with software that some may associate with the bloatware plagues Windows PCs, but others may find beneficial. The Explore menu icon offers several extras, including a year of Google One cloud storage and trial deals for YouTube Premium, SoundCloud Go+, Clipchamp, and DocuSign.
The Spin 713 is being put to the test to see if it can perform at the front of the pack.
We compared the 13.5-inch Acer’s benchmark results with those of two 13.3-inch systems that combine deluxe displays—QLED for the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 and OLED for the detachable Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook—with low-octane processors (an Intel Celeron and a Qualcomm Snapdragon, respectively). The table below shows their fundamental specifications.
Configurations of the System for Testing
|Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (2022)||Intel Core i5-1135G7 (2.4GHz)||Intel Iris Xe Graphics||8GB RAM||256GB SSD|
|Asus Chromebook CX9||Intel Core i5-1135G7 (2.4GHz)||Intel Iris Xe Graphics||16GB RAM||256GB SSD|
|Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook||Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 (2.55GHz)||Qualcomm Adreno GPU||8GB RAM||128GB eMMC|
|Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 Chromebook (2021)||Intel Core i3-1115G4 (3.0GHz)||Intel UHD Graphics||8GB RAM||128GB SSD|
|Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2||Intel Celeron 5205U (1.9GHz)||Intel UHD Graphics||4GB RAM||64GB eMMC|
We put Chromebooks through their paces with three different performance benchmark suites: one for Chrome OS, one for Android, and one for the internet. The first, Principled Technologies’ CrXPRT 2, assesses how rapidly a system can complete everyday tasks such as applying photo effects, charting a stock portfolio, analyzing DNA sequences, and building 3D shapes using WebGL.
The Acer and Asus battled it out for benchmark supremacy, which is unsurprising given that they share the same CPU, but the Core i3 Lenovo Flex 5 kept up with the Core i5 systems admirably. All of them are excellent Google Workspace collaborators. The Samsung with the Celeron processor was a laggard.
The CPU and GPU are the focus of two more Android benchmarks. Primate Labs is a company that specializes in primate research. GFXBench 5.0 stress-tests low-level routines like texturing and high-level, game-like image rendering that exercises graphics and compute shaders. At the same time, Geekbench uses all available cores and threads to simulate real-world applications ranging from PDF rendering to speech recognition to machine learning. GFXBench counts frames per second, while Geekbench gives a numerical score (fps).
Finally, we loop a 720p movie file with screen brightness set to 50%, volume set to 100%, and Wi-Fi and keyboard backlighting off until the device shuts down to evaluate a Chromebook’s battery. The video had to be played from an external SSD plugged into a USB port occasionally, but the Acer had plenty of internal storage to retain the file.
The Spin 713 came in second place in the Geekbench processor competition. While we’ve never seen a Chromebook that we’d label a gaming laptop (though its Thunderbolt 4 connectivity suggests you could conceivably connect the Acer to an external GPU if driver support existed), its class-leading GFXBench score means it might suffice for the occasional Android game. Although the IdeaPad Flex 5 won our battery test, the Acer will get you through a day of work or school plus a Netflix movie.
It’s Difficult to Find a Better Chromebook
Because of the $70 price increase and minor heaviness, we contemplated dropping the Chromebook Spin 713’s rating from 4.5 to 4 stars. Still, we determined improved performance, doubled solid-state storage, and Thunderbolt 4 capability merited the half star’s preservation.
Its reputation as a near-perfect Chromebook choice precedes it. Aside from being a tad overweight, it’s a first-class convertible for productivity, creativity, and media enjoyment, with a 3:2-aspect-ratio display that will make you long for the days of 16:9 presentations. The Acer isn’t inexpensive, but there aren’t many Chromebooks.
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