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Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N Andrei Girbea Rating: 4 out of 5

Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N review – KabyLake-R Core i5-8250U hardware in a modern convertible

31 Comments

  1. A.

    August 30, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    I have just read about the Acer Switch 7 presented at the IFA:

    notebookcheck.net/The-Acer-Switch-7-is-the-first-fanless-2-in-1-with-an-MX150-dGPU.245838.0.html

    It has an 8th generation Core i7 CPU and an Nvidia MX150 GPU, yet it is only passively cooled, having no fans. I find this delicious, and I'd love to read about it on your blog if you ever get your hands on it and have the time to share your impressions with us.

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 31, 2017 at 2:38 pm

      Will happen, but this product is scheduled for the end of the year, so it will be a while.

  2. Kyle

    August 31, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    "large battery"
    No, I don't think so. 54 WHr is absolutely unacceptable for a 13" laptop with a ULV processor. Especially now since they've raised the core no. and reduced the base clock. Which means more power draw while performing everyday load and multitasking, as also confirmed by numbers in this review.
    For reference, my 2015 MBP13 had a much bigger 75 WHr battery and I only got 8 hours at most when browsing the web at 150 nits. And my current Lenovo Yoga 910 (14"FHD) that has a bigger 78 WHr battery and a much less powerful 15 watt CPU also gets the same 8 hours, doing the same job on the more poorly optimized Windows 10.
    To get 8 hours of full work/school day battery life on these new 13/14" quad-core U series laptops, OEMs need to put in at least 75 WHr capacity cells and maybe more with optional >FHD screen resolutions and dGPUs.

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 31, 2017 at 2:44 pm

      Yes but this Spin is a mid-tier laptop and most devices in this range have 48-52 Wh batteries or even smaller. Those you are mentioning are higher tier devices with a higher price. so although I'm with you on laptops with a big battery, I'd expect most buyers would prefer well balanced products that get a big-enough battery, the right weight, the right construction and a price that's not prohibitive. And this Spin 5 is fairly well balanced in its class and segment.

      • Kyle

        September 4, 2017 at 11:36 am

        I know. Forgive me for sounding harsh, it's just that Acer has poor track record when it comes to laptop engineering. Bad power management on top of already small batteries, weak chassis, QC, and little regard for many other minor details. Yes they've gotten much better, but so have Dell Inspirons, Lenovo Yoga/Miix/Ideapads, HP Envy/Pavillions, Asus, and other mid-tier laptops that've been consistently better than Acer in my experience.
        And for its weight + price class, 54 WHr isn't really enough. I got my 12" Thinkpad X260 for US$700. Like this acer unit, it too was heavy for its size at 1.5 kg but lasted 18 hours on its good 95 WHr battery. Contrary to what people may argue, I never consider it higher tier due to its weight and other various issues. You could argue that they're different machines aimed at different market segments but at the end of the day, who's gonna care when simply one's better than the other for a similar cost?

        • Andrei Girbea

          September 5, 2017 at 3:24 pm

          Well, yes, you're mostly right, but Acer's products are also fairly affordable and somewhat compensate for the lacks by selling for less. Also, it's not really fair to generalize, they have some bad, some decent and some good series, but I wouldn't put all of them in the same basket.

          As for the X260, while it's a very nice laptop for what it is (I've been using 12-inch ThinkPads for a long while in the past too, btw), it's different from this Acer Spin: smaller and non-convertible screen, older CPU. So while the x260 might be the better pick for buyers like yourself and others, it's not going to be for someone who wants a bigger touchscreen or the KabyLake-R processor. I'm not saying this Acer is necessarily the answer for those needs, but it's one of the more affordable options. These days there are so many SKUs available that pretty much all needs and particularities should be met and even the pickier buyers would find something that would meet their requirements.

          BTW, I switched from the X200 line because I wanted a larger screen, lighter body and quieter fans. I found that in the XPS 13 and I've been using it for more than 2 years now. My next main-laptop would have to be light, long-lasting and fanless, plus have decent IO, excellent keyboard/trackpad, preferably a good 14-inch matte screen. There's no such thing yet :)

          • A.

            September 8, 2017 at 12:25 pm

            I'm looking for precisely the same qualities in a laptop, so as soon as you find it please post your review under the title "Found my ideal laptop!" and pin it on the home page of your site so that I see it at a glance.

            To your requirements I would add: camera in a "sane" position (not looking into my nostrils), equal and sufficiently large arrow keys (I use them a lot), decent speakers. The CPU and GPU power almost don't matter anymore since even the weakest of them are powerful enough for my needs.

          • Andrei Girbea

            September 11, 2017 at 5:02 pm

            Noted.

  3. Max

    September 4, 2017 at 10:43 am

    Hi, which spin 5 has louder fan? With core i5 8250u or 6200u?

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 5, 2017 at 3:15 pm

      See both our reviews on the site. If I remember correctly, this newer spin is quieter.

  4. MOFO

    September 5, 2017 at 1:55 am

    Nice review, would love to see the 15'' model with gtx 1050 reviewed , pretty sure they make a nitro model that has red trim but also a non-gamer version with the same specs.

  5. Pavan

    October 5, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Hi,
    I am planning to buy a laptop with 8th gen i7 by mid October. My budget is below $1100. I was planning on buying Hp envy 13t or acer spin 5 or swift 5. It is better to avoid spin 5 after the review as it doesn't deliver much on performance.
    The new Hp envy 13t is offering 8th gen processors, fast charging ,4K display and fingerprint scanner. Only problem with envy 13 t is that it is coming with ddr3 ram. How much effect does it have on performance? Now it is currently available for $1050 after $150 discount. Will you be doing a review on it? Do u think It is better to wait till December and buy acer swift 5 which starts at $999?

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 8, 2017 at 3:55 am

      HI, sry for the late reply. I don't think I'll get to review it, HP and Dell laptops are hard to get over here.

      I wouldn't worry that much about DDR3. Yes, the DDR4 is faster in certain apps, but the differences are pretty small with the kind of tasks you'd be running on such thin and light laptops.

      As for waiting for the Swift 5, I don't know, we'll have to see it in action first and later conclude if it's worth the attention or not.

  6. besweeet

    October 11, 2017 at 10:12 am

    I have some questions about the trackpad:
    1) How loud is the rattle?
    2) Can you hear the rattle with light taps?
    3) Is the top of the trackpad harder to press than the bottom half?
    4) Can you record a short audio sample of the trackpad noise?

    Trackpad noise really bothers me with all non-Apple laptops where those are very solid and make no tapping noises (even older models that relied on physical clicks).

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 14, 2017 at 12:34 pm

      I've returned the laptop and unfortunately I can't remember anything else besides what I noted in the article. I'd say it doesn't rattle with light taps, otherwise I wouldn't have mentioned it. I too am very sensible to this particular aspect. Also, yes, the upper part is harder to press as far as I remember.

  7. Amaan Arif Merchant

    October 20, 2017 at 4:27 am

    Hello,
    Any idea on how to buy this Canada and when? The only place this seems to be available if costco.com w which doesn't deliver to Canada.
    Really good review. Very helpful.

    Thanks

  8. Steve

    November 2, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N with kaby lake r i5 8250u. This is probably the worst laptop I've ever tried. Ever. My girlfriend and I read a couple of reviews and said ok, this sounds like a pretty sweet deal, it could be cool. Ordered it a week ago, picked it up in the store today.

    In two hours the following happened:

    27% of battery drained during 25 minutes of playing Life is Strange.
    CPU temperature by cores from one to four: 93c, 90c, 87c, 85c. It's ULTRAHOT.
    After realizing how hot the computer is, we turned it off and left it to cool down for about fifteen minutes. When we booted it up again, the trackpad didn't work.

    Holy. Shit.
    This is a rare occasion of an ultra shitty product, returning it to the store tomorrow and asking for a refund, as I don't believe it's built right.

    Really guys, steer clear.
    After numerous restarts, the trackpad is still not working. It's a bad product and I don't think anyone should risk it.

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 2, 2017 at 4:40 pm

      Well, it gets hot, that's for sure, and it's mentioned in the article. That could be tweaked with undervolting and it's not like other ultraportables with similar hardware run cooler, though.

      As far as battery drain goes, not sure how demanding Life is strange is, but you shouldn't expect to get more than 1.5 to 2 hours of gaming on such a laptop anyway. 25% in 25 minuted sound about right to me, not sure why you expected different.

      I understand your frustration and I'm definitely not the Devil's advocate here, but you're complaining about things that are just normal with this kind of computers, not sure what you were expecting…

      • Steve

        November 2, 2017 at 5:17 pm

        Wait, you got 46c tops under game load, and I just got 98c on a pause screen of Life is Strange, how is that even similar? I can get the battery drain, but 98c on one of the cores on a pause screen?

        • Andrei Girbea

          November 3, 2017 at 4:54 am

          Mine actually topped at 87 C with games: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/perf-temps-gaming-battery-4.png . And then throttled fast, as you can see in that pic, otherwise it would have probably got hotter. Perhaps yours doesn't throttle as badly and hence the higher temps.

          I agree high 90s is unreasonable and wouldn't accept those temp either, but I would still try undervolting first and see if it helps. And btw, did you get yours with the i5, or the i7?

          • Steve

            November 3, 2017 at 7:35 am

            Yeah, I didn't see for how long it actually peaked. I took the i5 version, the difference in price was 200€, and according to benchmarks, it's only a 5-6% difference in speed. I tried Ori and The Blind Forest and Skyrim as well, and they peaked at 70/80c, so that's a big difference. My girlfriend fell in love with the laptop, and we took the 4 year no matter what thingy, so it seems it will stay in the house. She said she's just not gonna game. I started restoring her old and superbulky 17" HP 6830s, and after giving it a good clean and fitting it with an ssd, it's working unexpectedly fast, so it's her decision whether we're keeping the Acer or not. I'm typing this on it now, and man, I have to admit it's a sexy piece of hardware. Temp at 34c right now, and unlike in your review, the fan actually shuts off when it's not under load, so it's noiseless. But it gave me a good scare with 98c, I must admit.

          • Andrei Girbea

            November 3, 2017 at 9:08 am

            Well, good to hear it worked out for you, I do consider this a good buy for its price and I still encourage you to undervolt that CPU to get temps and even noise lower. This article explains how to do it, it's simple, just don't go down too much: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/10167-laptop-undervolting-overcloking/

  9. Steve

    November 4, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Thanks, man. As soon as I get some free time, I'll do it and check back with the results. :)

  10. Mike

    November 4, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    Buyers beware: this laptop doesn't support HDMI 2.0 (i.e. no 4K@60Hz).

  11. Parth Katare

    November 5, 2017 at 11:13 am

    can you provide a complete review of Acer Nitro 5 Spin i5-8th gen variant.i'm looking forward to buy that laptop.
    Thank you..

  12. Hari

    November 6, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    Thanks a lot for a very detailed review, it looks like yours is the only one that I can find using Google right now. I am convinced that this is suitable for my needs, but I am worried about the build quality, especially after seeing feedback on the older models in this series. I understand that the older models used plastic while this is all metal, but does it really translate to a better feel? What about the hinge, do you think it will last a few years?

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 6, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      The build quality seems pretty good, but I can't really tell how well the hinges will age. I'd say they should be OK with proper use, but I haven't open every part of the mechanism and I don't know if there aren't any potential weak points.

  13. Steve

    November 15, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    2 weeks in:

    – Multiple blue screens for no reason
    – Overheating when using only 2 tabs on Chrome
    – Sometimes it won't restart, just turns off with vents going berzerk, frequently
    – Battery got drained while on a charger during an overnight "update" (it didn't update anything)
    – Sound doesn't work every other time
    – Acer folks told me to update bios, when I did, it did the same "won't restart" thing, and was like that for about 10 minutes, not responding to ANYTHING

    Now, I somehow make it work each time, but this is my girlfriend's laptop and it should be fully operational out of the box. It is not, not by a long shot. It's a faulty product, and I'd never ever purchase it again. Ever.

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