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Ultrabook reviews, guides and comparisons
Acer Spin 5 SP513-51 Andrei Girbea Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Acer Spin 5 SP513-51 review – the affordable 13-inch convertible you should at least consider

40 Comments

  1. Omar

    November 3, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    That was sooner than a couple of days ;D

    Can you confirm if the trackpad is a precision one? Acer's documentation say it is.

    I'm a little on the fence about this laptop, on one hand it really is good bang for your buck but the screen is indeed very dim, dimmer than Acer's claims (220 nits) even, and the single channel RAM means a hit to the performance of the integrated graphics. I still have time until holydays though.

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 7, 2016 at 3:31 pm

      I think it is, but why would you care about that? What matters is that it works really well.

      The screen is an issue, yes, but the RAM not that much. Look at the bench scores, they're solid and you're not really going to feel the difference in daily use.

      • Omar

        November 9, 2016 at 3:09 pm

        I care because I´m interested on any possible new gestures Microsoft might implement, there are new ones in the current insider builds.

        On daily use the RAM might not be a problem yes but I´m interested in casual gaming, indie titles or old games from steam so the bandwidth is really useful there, comparing the 3DMark scores you got to the Notebookcheck database, they seem to be a little below average, dual channel systems can get scores 20-30% higher and the difference is more noticiable on games than in synthetic benchmarks.

        hardwaresecrets.com/dual-channel-memory-make-difference-integrated-video-performance/

        • Andrei Girbea

          November 10, 2016 at 4:07 am

          Well, yes, the keyword there is "a little". Don't forget how much this laptop costs, some corners had to be cut to get there, and personally I don't think that having single or dual channel memory makes that much of a difference in practice. Plus, it's not like you're buying this for games anyway.

  2. Selvanis

    November 8, 2016 at 7:45 am

    Hi,

    One question – here and there I found info that this laptop is supported by the Acer Active Pen, is it true? That would mean about 256 levels of pressure and good overal sketching and drawing experiance.

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 8, 2016 at 11:09 am

      I can't tell for sure, but from what I'm reading about this pen, I think it should work with most touchscreen laptops, including this one. However that Acer pen doesn't seem to be that good, based on the reviews on Amazon

      Edited: Scratch that, it's only going to work with screens that include a digitizer, sry for the wrong advice earlier. I can't tell for sue whether the Spin 5 includes a digitizer or not though, some literature mention it does and that means it would be compatible with the Pen, but I didn't have an Active Pen to try it out.

      • Selvanis

        November 9, 2016 at 4:57 pm

        Not most touchscreen laptops, very little. They need an "active digitizer" and there are very little of those. To get levels of pressure (not like normal pens that just either click or don't, they get the ability to mesure how strong was the click).

        • Andrei Girbea

          November 10, 2016 at 4:11 am

          Hmmm, I think you're right, I was under the impression that Pen doesn't require a digitizer screen. My bad

      • Divider

        November 27, 2016 at 10:29 am

        This should be in win10 then you can try checking settings>about, there is pen/touch support information or you can try looking at device manager and see if there is anything under the HID. Wacom usually have wacom HID or something.

        • Andrei Girbea

          November 27, 2016 at 12:00 pm

          Thanks, noted, but I no longer have the unit to check that out.

    • James Case

      January 24, 2017 at 9:55 pm

      Acer has made claims (linked) that the active pen works with the Spin 5 in the US version.
      https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/press/2016/202430

      However, looking at the about in the settings on a SP513-51, not the SP513-51N mind you, only touch support is listed and further other setting involving pens are not accessible. This could be a stock software issue or other such thing.

      This community support thread suggests that only the SP513-51N has stylus support despite Acer comments to the contrary. https://community.acer.com/t5/Windows-Tablets/Can-I-use-a-pen-or-stylus-with-Acer-Spin-5/td-p/463514

      Without the specifically mentioned Acer Active Pen I can not see if installing the drivers or pairing the stylus opens these options (very unlikely) or even if the Acer comments "bright 13.3-inch Full HD IPS touchscreen display can be used with an optional Acer Active Pen with Windows Ink" are true.

      Because using windows ink was a primary factor for me in buying a "2in1" I'll keep looking into it.
      https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/17207/windows-10-use-windows-ink

  3. Derek Antosiek

    November 10, 2016 at 5:28 am

    Hey thanks for this review! I've been waiting for one. Just an FYI, you got the RAM wrong. This model uses DDR4 not DDR3.

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 10, 2016 at 8:37 am

      Thanks, I constantly forget to update the specs list properly, sry about that

  4. Santiago Del Bono

    November 15, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    Just to say that I am a huge fan of laptops review and there are only 2 sites that really perform a complete and serious review, this is one of the, AWESOME job Andrei.
    And the best thing is that you take your time to reply every comment, that is FANTASTIC!!, I love this site!!!

  5. Daniel Lopez

    November 24, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Could this laptop handle some games like Skyrim? and if so for how long do you think?

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 24, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      It will play Skyrim on 13 x 7 resolution with low to medium details. Not sure about the new version, with the improved graphics, though, but the old ones play well. And if the cooling system performs properly on the final units (not like on this test sample), I don;t see why it wouldn't be able to handle that for many hours in a row.

  6. john

    November 26, 2016 at 2:01 am

    Hi, Andrei, thank you for the nice review. It has lots of information but easy to understand even for a casual user like me. base on the value you mentioned, I just grabbed one from Costco. I will check out the lighting and heat issues you mentioned.

    Can you expand a bit more about the removal of bloatware or clean install of windows. how may I do it myself or should I bring it to Microsoft shop.

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 26, 2016 at 4:28 am

      Hi John. For the bloatware removal, there are two pictures in the Hardware section (first gallery, last two pictures) that show the programs that come preinstalled and what I've left after removing them.

      For the clean Windwos install, you'll just need a 4 GB USB stick or larger, there's a tool from Microsoft that helps you create a bootable WIndows 10 drive and some more instructions here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10 . You'll find many other articles on this topic if you'll google for "How to do a clean windows 10 install"

      If you're not comfortable doing the reinstall yourself, just go with the first option

  7. Haim

    November 29, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Thank you for this great In-Depth Review!
    It really helped us to choose a laptop relatively quickly.

    For future reference, Costco Sells the i5 Flavor online for $499 ($599 + Rebate, Taxes are on full price) – We'll wait until it arrives.

    Thank you again,
    Haim.

  8. Anil

    November 29, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    Thanks for the review. very useful. Available at Costco for $499 for the i5-6200U model. Seems like a steal. I just got the Lenovo Flex-4 and started to feel that I should have gotten a 13.3 incher with longer battery life instead and this showed up. I will get it and update my thoughts.

    Thanks.

  9. Mohamad

    November 30, 2016 at 2:50 am

    I am very happy with this review, thank you, but I noticed something when examining this kind, which that the touch screen needs more pressure to respond. Is that correct??!

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 30, 2016 at 7:00 am

      Well, I didn't notice anything special about that, it worked fine on my unit. Perhaps not as responsive as an iPad screen, but pretty decently anyway.

      • Mohamad

        December 1, 2016 at 11:51 am

        Thank you, my brother, this feeling may be caused by the use of hp screen and I felt it more responsive

  10. subbu

    November 30, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    hey awesome review.. i got the laptop yesterday from costco for the 499$. its been functioning pretty well but the only thing which gets me is the fan sound. other than that i am ok with this laptop i suppose considering i have a 4 year warranty its a steal..

  11. Joo

    November 30, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    Hi Andrei, thanks for the great review as it convinced me to get this laptop. Just curious, how did you enable lateral swiping as I was unable to locate that option after doing a clean install. In addition, I noticed that there is an audible beep when plugging and unplugging the charger. I'm wondering if you noticed this on your unit. Again thanks for the review.

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 1, 2016 at 4:04 am

      Don't remember the beep, but it might have been there and didn't notice it. The lateral swipes were enabled by default on my unit, with the drivers that came preinstaled.

  12. Biggie_22

    December 6, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    Andrei – Great reviews, I am really digging them. I have been pulling my hair out comparing holiday deals for a 13-14 inch touch screen at around $600. The Spin 5, the Acer r14, the Dell Inspiron 13 5000, and the Flex 4. I know a year ago you did not have hands-on feedback on the Flex 4 (still?), but I am leaning very heavily towards one of the Acers. It seems like the build quality is pretty good. It also seems like they share the same cons of bloatware and shallow keyboards. Other than that, is there anything you can say to compare the two and help me in my decision, other than that the R14 is bigger, heavier, and presumably sturdier? THANK YOU!!

    • Andrei Girbea

      December 7, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      Still no contact with Lenovo, sry. The R14 has been around for a while, there are plenty of user reviews and opinions online. It's been a while since I tested it, but it felt better built then the Spin. The Spin 5 is alright, except for that erratic fan and the few other details mentioned here. It's hard to pick between them, but I'd probably go with he R14 if it's not more expensive.

      • Biggie_22

        December 8, 2016 at 1:17 pm

        Thanks!

  13. Rachel

    December 17, 2016 at 9:59 am

    Thank you for the detailed review! It was one of two I could find on the internet right now. I was hoping so much that they would work the fan thing out.

    Unfortunately they didn't, for me it's still a dealbreaker :( I really dig this laptop, but I'm afraid I can't look past the fan flipping out because of a little Candy Crush … or regular use, for that matter.

  14. Steve

    January 9, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Can someone comment on the brightness? Based on the test model vs. production models is it really as low as 180nit? Some laptops have ambient sensors that detract the brightness. When turned off, you can usually get an extra 50-75 nits. Amazon reviews are looking good, with the notice of the fan noise, but one commentor suggested a bright and vivid screen.

    Dell Inspiron 13 7000 had a max brightness of around 250 nit and I found that challenging to look at on max brightness. Is the Spin 5 that bad? I'm wondering if the extra $125 for the Zenbook UX305UA (non-touch) is worth paying for 325 nits despite losing the touch capability

  15. Stefan

    January 14, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    Thank you for the in-depth review. You speak about 'final versions'. When do I know when the next version comes out?

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 17, 2017 at 6:08 am

      The final versions are what you can find in stores right now.

  16. Fabrice

    January 31, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Hi everyone,

    I am French and wanting to buy the Acer Spin 5 with a i5 Kaby Lake and a 512GB SSD, and I was wondering if some of you here had this model? I would like to know if with the Kaby Lake models Acer solved the noisy fan issue, and I'd like to know which kind of battery life I can expect, as i'm buying this laptop for class and need a long battery life. Thanks in advance !

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 31, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      I would expect the Kaby Lake models to behave very similar to the model presented here.

  17. aintic

    March 23, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Hi Andrei,

    Many thanks for the detailed review! I'm shopping for an affordable laptop to use on the go and the Acer Spin 5 sounds like a good pick.

    However, I'm a bit torn between the Kaby Lake version of this one and the Dell Inspiron 5378 Signature Edition. Both have Core i5-7200U, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD (I would need to swap out the HDD for SSD on the Dell). Even the costs are similar (the Acer is around $35 more expensive than the Dell with SSD swapped).

    What would you recommend that I choose, given the similarities between the two? I would really appreciate your help.

    Thank you!

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 28, 2017 at 6:52 am

      The Acer has better buyer reviews as far as I can tell, but if you're in the US the Dell might be a smarter option, due to Dell's support being somewhat better there.

  18. Kim

    May 26, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Hi everyone this Acer Spin 5 is the best. We bought this for a cheaper price with high quality. And i am loving it.

  19. Sankara

    June 5, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Hey Andrei
    I'm going to college this year amd I have to choose between acer swift3 amd scer spin 5. While durability is important for me, so is touchscreen (well not equally). Which one should I choose?

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