9
Expert Rating

The Acer Spin 3 manages to stand out from its budget-priced brethren thanks to the inclusion of a Thunderbolt port and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, but it is ultimately hampered by middling battery life and dim screen. Even though this doesn’t make the top of our list for the best travel laptop and the best laptop, it’s still a moderate choice for the budget-conscious student or content creator.

Why We Like It – Acer Spin 3

The Acer Spin 3 is a budget-priced laptop that offers enough performance for most casual users. It’s especially nice to see Acer utilizing top-quality additions like a Thunderbolt port, Wi-fi 6 connectivity, and a fast-charging active pen.

Pros
  • Includes a Thunderbolt USB C port
  • Wi-Fi 6 connectivity
  • Fantastic value
Cons
  • Screen is too dim for a bright room
  • Battery life is far less than advertised

Power/Performance

In a market bloated with budget-priced, mid-ranged 2-in-1s, the Acer Spin 3 is good but doesn’t do much to stand out from the crowd. This model is outfitted with a 10th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, though Acer also sells a model with an Intel Core i7. Performance-wise, the Acer Spin 3 performs adequately, but it doesn’t do so quite as well as the similarly-priced Lenovo Flex 14 or Lenovo Flex 5 14 with a Ryzen AMD CPU. One major downside many reviewers note about this laptop is its dim screen, which makes it impossible to enjoy the Full HD graphics from the Intel UHD graphics card.

Battery

It seems fairly common for laptop developers to oversell the battery life of their machines, and the Acer Spin 3 is, unfortunately, no exception. Acer claims the battery will last up to 11 hours, however, user tests fell short, with most reporting anywhere between six to eight hours. While this might be enough for some to forgo bringing the charger along, anyone with a slightly longer day at school or the office will probably want to stuff it in their bag before leaving.

Ports/Expandability

Acer didn’t skimp on the ports on the Acer Spin 3: this unit has one HDMI port, one Thunderbolt USB C 3.1 port, two USB 3.1 ports, an audio jack, and a microSD card reader. While more expensive laptops like the Lenovo Yoga C940 and the HP Spectre x360 13t offer two Thunderbolt ports, it’s a nice surprise to see one on a budget-priced laptop. Thanks to the variety of ports on the Acer Spin 3, storage can be expanded with a microSD card or external hard drive.

Build Quality

Due to the broad selection of ports on the Acer Spin 3, it’s no surprise that the chassis is itself a bit broader than its budget-friendly competition. Still, at just over three pounds, this laptop is easy to carry around with you, though may grow tiresome as a tablet. The silver aesthetic feels a little bit dated, but that look belies the quality of this laptop’s construction: this is a highly durable laptop that is easy to travel with and use on-the-go. Tablet mode does reveal a flaw in the construction, though, in that the dim screen is an absolute fingerprint magnet.

Value

Companies continue to churn out budget-priced laptops as the need for them grows, and the Acer Spin 3 is a good deal considering what you get. What truly makes this stand out in the budget-priced crowd is the solid lineup of components, including a Thunderbolt 3 USB C port and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity. It’s just gravy that this laptop also comes with a carrying sleeve and Wacom-developed active pen.

Acer Spin 3 Wrap Up

It’s no surprise that a budget laptop like the Acer Spin 3 isn’t the greatest performer when it comes to raw power, but it is surprising that Acer included some high-quality components. The Thunderbolt USB C 3.1 port is a welcome addition, as is the Wi-Fi 6 connectivity. Unfortunately, this laptop isn’t without its flaws: the battery life, while average, doesn’t come close to the advertised 12 hours, and the screen is far too dim, even at max settings, to see the screen well in a moderately-lit room.

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Zoe Dumas

Zoe is a digital native who cannot remember a time when she didn’t have access to some type of computer. When she’s not busy researching the latest innovations in technology, Zoe loves playing video games, watching movies and TV, reading books, and playing with her two cats.

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