Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (2021) review: Still one of the best

Acer’s Chromebook Spin 713 is something of a Chromebook classic. Like Google’s Pixelbook Go or Asus’ Chromebook Flip series, it’s a great example of a premium Chromebook, combining good performance, thoughtful design, and a great display at a reasonable price. Now that it’s back with a processor upgrade and a connectivity upgrade, is it still one of the best Chromebooks out there?

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Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (2021) review: what you need to know

The new Chromebook Spin 713 has a definite sense of ‘If it ain’t broke’ – the changes seem subtle. Most notable is Intel’s switch from 10th generation to its 11th generation Core processors, and the replacement of older USB 3.1 Type-C ports with Thunderbolt 4. Add Wi-Fi 6, an M.2 SSD of 256 Go and a fingerprint reader, and it’s one of the best-equipped Chromebooks out there.

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Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (2021) review: price and competition

That’s not to say there isn’t fierce competition. The Chromebook Spin 713 starts from £ 599, which puts it right up against the Asus Chromebook CX5, which has a similar specification and convertible form factor, but also a larger 15.6-inch screen. The smaller 14-inch CX3 is another stunning 2-in-1, although we haven’t seen any in the flesh yet.

Meanwhile, the PixelBook Go remains a very solid alternative. It has an outdated processor and a higher price tag – the cheaper variants are nearly impossible to find – but the design and ergonomics are still at the top of their class.

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Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (2021) review: design

If you’ve seen previous versions of the Acer Chromebook Spin 713, the new model will look very familiar to you. The dimensions are almost identical, and the biggest change we noticed was a simple 7g weight reduction. The all-metal chassis, with its MIL-STD 810H rating, still feels solid and maintains the same square form factor, thanks to the 3: 2 aspect ratio screen. It’s a design that’s starting to lose some of its wow effect, but it’s still one of the prettiest Chromebooks out there.

It’s also one of the most practical models we’ve come across, in part because it’s one of the few convertibles that performs well in all modes. The squarer screen is better for tablet mode and tent mode, and while the size and weight means you won’t confuse it with an iPad, it’s great for couch surfing or a Netflix frenzy.

In normal clamshell mode it can be a real productivity jerk, and in stand mode (keyboard down, screen tilted up) you can use it with an external keyboard and mouse as a mini all-in-one. a.

In addition, the connectivity is excellent. You get Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 in addition to two Thunderbolt 4 ports on the left side and a USB 3.0 port on the right. There’s also an HDMI output and a useful microSD card slot. Whether you need inexpensive storage, high-performance storage, a network card, or a full docking station, you’ve basically got you covered. In fact, there’s an argument that, given the way we tend to use Chromebooks, Acer might have even gone too far.

Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (2021) review: keyboard and touchpad

If there’s one area where Acer could make some improvement, it’s the keyboard. It’s not bad, with a spacious layout and good-sized flat keys, but it lacks a feel. There isn’t much travel, the action is slightly loose, and there is just a hint of side-to-side wobble in the keys. There’s nothing here that you can’t get used to, but the Pixelbook Go and Asus’ Chromebook Flip CX5 both do better on this point.

Still, we don’t have such reservations about the touchpad. Measuring 4 ” by 3 ”, it fits the 3: 2 screen perfectly and responds perfectly to startup.

The new Chromebook Spin 713 also has a slim fingerprint reader just below the keyboard on the right side. However, this only works when you wake the Chromebook from sleep, rather than when you turn it on or sign in. This can make the Spin 713 safer, but it’s also more than a little boring.

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Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (2021) review: display and sound

Throughout its incarnations, the Spin 713 has had a brilliant 13.5-inch 2,256 x 1,504 resolution display. It is bright, crisp, and the color reproduction and contrast are superb to the naked eye. In our testing, it produced a peak brightness of 386.5 cd / m² and reproduced 99.3% of the sRGB gamut, even managing to cover a respectable 83.1% of DCI P3. These numbers are very slightly lower than what we measured for last year’s model, but that’s likely more due to panel-to-panel variation than any kind of downgrade. Colors are crisp, with a Delta E below 2, and everything from photos to movies to Stadia games is spectacular. You’ll be hard pressed to get such a good screen on anything else at this price point.

The audio quality is equally impressive. The Spin 713 can be quite loud when it needs to be, but the sound is still clear and rich, with few signs of ringing and a great feeling of space when playing games or watching videos. The front speakers also do a great job no matter what mode you use them in.

Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (2021) review: performance and battery life

The Chromebook Spin 713 comes in both Core i3 and Core i5 variants, but for most of us, the cheaper version will be more than fast enough. The Core i3-1115G4 is a modest dual core, four-thread processor running at 3-4.1 GHz, but our benchmark performance is among the best of any Chromebook we’ve seen. Geekbench scores (1,161 single-core and 2,600 multi-core) are poor by most laptop standards, but scores in browser-based benchmarks like BaseMark, MotionMark, and CRxprt see the Spin 713 actively outperform all Chromebooks. 10th gen Core i5 we’ve tested.

What does this mean in practice? Well, demanding web image editing apps work fine and you can open a ton of browser tabs without any serious slowdowns. The web pages load in a flash and everything is fine. You’ll need more 3D power for any serious game, but otherwise it’s a very smooth experience.

Battery life is just a disappointing mite. We’re used to seeing Chromebooks hit 12 hours or more of battery life, which makes the nine hours and 11 minutes of the new Spin 713 a bit of a letdown. To put it in context, however, that’s still enough for a good day’s work, and therefore hardly a fatal flaw.

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Acer Chromebook Spin 713 review (2021): verdict

Acer hasn’t reinvented its flagship Chromebook here, but I’m not sure that matters. The Chromebook Spin 713 remains a superb Chrome OS convertible and there’s nothing to complain about – especially now that the big screen is now paired with improved connectivity and improved performance. In short, it’s still a classic. If you’re looking for the latest and greatest Chromebook, it must be right at the top of your list.

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