A few years ago netbooks were highly popular, as light, compact and inexpensive laptops you could easily lug around to school or work. They weren’t very well crafted though and didn’t perform that well either, so eventually faded away.
These days there are still
a few successors of those netbooks still available out there, most of them targeting budget users and competing against the affordable Chromebooks in the sub-$300 segment.
The late-2017 update of the Acer Spin 1 on the other hand is different. It’s a premium built 11-incher with a fully metallic body, a nice IPS touchscreen with pen support, a convertible form-factor, a pretty good keyboard and to most ends, the hardware to handle everyday demands smoothly. It’s also rather expensive for its class though, with the higher-end configurations going for around 500-600 EUR in Europe and around $500 in the US, and at this level, such a small laptop needs to impress in order to be worth more than a look.
We spent a few weeks with the Spin 1 and gathered all our impressions below, with the nice quirks and the issues we encountered, so by the end of the article, you’ll know if the Acer Spin 1 Sp111-32N is the mini-notebook you’re looking for or not.
Specs as reviewed
Acer Spin 1 SP111-32N
Screen 11.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 px, IPS, glossy, touch
Processor Intel Apollo Lake Pentium N4200
Video Intel HD 505
Memory 4 GB LPDDR3 (Soldered)
Storage 128 GB eMMC (Toshiba G32)
Connectivity Wireless AC (Intel Dual-Band 7265), Bluetooth 4.0
Ports 1x USB-C 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, HDMI, mic/headphone, microSD card reader
Battery 36 Wh, 45 W power brick
OS Windows 10
Size327 290 mm or 11.41” (w) x 200 mm or 7.87” (d) x 14.1 mm or 0.55” (h)
Weight 1.18 kg / 2.60 lbs and 0.15 kg / 0.33 lbs power brick
Extras non-backlit keyboard, VGA camera
Acer offers the Spin 1 in a few different configurations and the one we have here is the higher end variant. The lower-end version bundles an Intel Celeron N3350 processor, 4 GB of RAM and only 32 GB of storage.
Design and first look
The Spin 1 is not like most other 11-inch notebooks available these days. It’s mostly made out of metal and is very sturdily built, as you’ll feel immediately when you’ll get it out of the box. There’s no flex in the screen, very little give in the keyboard deck and no squeaking when grabbing it firmly.
But while it shines in terms of manufacturing, it’s lacks in terms of practicality and finishing, as there are a lot of sharp edges and bits on this computer. The first ones you’ll notice are on the bottom, where the panel doesn’t attach flushly to the edges and the USB ports have sharp metallic corners. Due to the laptop’s thinness, the USBs are not entirely covered by the metallic edge and leave an open gap on the bottom, with pointy corners, as detailed in some of the pictures below.
Then you’ll notice the sharpness of the screen part when trying to open it. There’s no crease on the front lip and the hinges are very stiff, so your fingertips will suffer and you’ll still need both hands to get inside. Lastly, there are the beveled edges around the inner body and the pointy corners, but at least the Spin has a low-profile and these shouldn’t be an issue as long as you mostly use the device on a large desk. On the lap or in cramped spaces, they’ll bite into your wrists.
You’ll also feel them when using the Spin as a tablet, because as I’ve already mentioned in the beginning, this one is a hybrid with a 360-degrees convertible screen. The tablet experience is otherwise decent and the strong build and fanless hardware help enhance it. The big bezel around the screen doesn’t though and make the Spin 1 look dated for this day and age, when most tablets and even most 2-in-1s offer much nicer screen-to-body ratios. At least the panel is good though and there’s support for Acer’s active pen that we
previously tested on the Spin 5.
The laptop experience on the other hand is pretty nice, with a decent keyboard, a big enough palm-rest and a screen that can lean back as much as needed. Just don’t forget this is an 11-incher and thus not as roomy as the larger laptops out there.
Acer didn’t skim much on the IO either. There are two full-size USB slots on the sides and a full-size HDMI port, but only a microSD card-reader, yet overall the ports selection is superior to what most other 11-inchers offer.
Bottom point, the Spin 1 is well made, but not that comfortable to use due to its multiple sharp edges and stiff hinges. I would have also appreciated if Acer put a bigger screen on this one, there’s plenty of room for a 12.5-inch panel with smaller bezels.
Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard on the Spin 1 is a little shrunken from what’s available on the bigger Acer laptops, with 14 x 14 mm keys, but otherwise gets the same layout. The keys are well spaced, just a tad smaller, and those of you with large hands might struggle with this keyboard.
The typing experience is alright if you can get past the potential size issue, as the keys are responsive and travel fairly deep into the frame. They actuate a little to easily for my taste, which lead to a higher than average error rate during my tests, but typing on this laptop is fast though, and with enough exercise can get fairly accurate as well. Just keep in mind that these keys are rather noisy, so typing in a quiet office or library might raise some eyebrows from the people around.
Another important aspect to mention is the fact that this keyboard isn’t backlit, which imo is a little hard to swallow in this day and age.
The trackpad isn’t very big and is made out of plastic, but is nicely indented into the frame and works well with swipes, taps and gestures. Not much to complain about here, other than perhaps the fact that the clicks are a bit clunky.
The Spin 1 gets an 11.6-inch touchscreen with an IPS panel, a fairly good IPS panel actually, with nice colors and good contrast, as you can see below.
Panel HardwareID: Panda LC116LF3L01;
Coverage: 96% sRGB, 71% NTSC, 75% AdobeRGB;
Measured gamma: 2.1;
Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 255 cd/m2 on power;
Contrast at max brightness: 730:1;
White point: 7100 K;
Black on max brightness: 0.35 cd/m2;
Average DeltaE: 1.04 uncalibrated, 0.60 calibrated.
The calibrated color profile is
available here, in case you want to correct the default slight gamma skewage and blue tint.
The brightness levels might not allow you to properly use this laptop outdoors, especially paired with the glare of the glass layer on top of the screen, but for indoor use this is a very nice panel. I noticed some slight light bleeding around the edges on my unit, but as I’ve mentioned in many other reviews, this is unfortunately a lottery with most notebooks today.
The screen is touch-enabled, includes a digitizer and supports Acer’s Active Stylus that should come included in the pack with retail units. It wasn’t included with our sample, but you’ll find my impressions of this pen
Hardware, performance and upgrade options
As I mentioned in the beginning, our version of the Spin 1 comes with an Intel Apollo Lake Pentium N4200 processor, 4 GB of DDR3 RAM and 128 GB of eMMC storage.
The CPU is a quad-core without HyperThreading, but that doesn’t mean much as it’s a 6W processor with low clock speeds (1.1 GHz base frequency, with Turbo up to 2.5 GHz) and there’s only that much it can do in multitasking. It’s also paired with just 4 GB of RAM, which further limits multitasking, especially knowing what memory hogs browsers are these days.
As for the storage, the included eMMC is not as fast as an SSD, but not as slow as the older eMMCs we’ve seen in the past either, so overall it’s not this build’s bottleneck and won’t have as much of an impact on performance as the CPU and RAM. Just keep in mind that Acer also offers this laptop with 32 or 64 GB of storage space and Windows takes a fair chunk of it, so personally I would at least buy a configuration with 64 GB of storage, if not this one with 128 GB of space.
You can get inside this computer by removing the back panel that’s hold in place by a couple of Philips screws, but I doubt you’ll have to, as the RAM and storage are soldered and the only components accessible here are the Wi-Fi chip and the battery.
As far as performance goes, as already hinted earlier, this laptop can handle everyday activities well enough (movies, streaming, music, editing texts, browsing, etc), but you’ll want to keep multitasking at bay. Chrome with a couple of tabs running in the background is enough to send the CPU at 100% loads and at that time you’ll start noticing sluggishness. Of course, you should keep in mind that I’m used to the fast response and performance of the modern ultraportables and my expectations are set high. If you’re coming from an older laptop and especially one without an SSD, this might not feel that slow to you. Still, don’t get false expectations, this Spin 1 is nonetheless a low-power computer and it performs accordingly.
As a side note, this notebook might feel very sluggish out of the box while it performs its mandatory Windows updates. I’d recommend letting it do its thing for an hour or two and then it should work fine. If you hit CTRL+ALT+DEL and find that the CPU is still at 100% load, you’ll know it’s not yet done with the updates. Unfortunately that’s going to be an issue every time it needs to update though, which is fairly often with Windows 10.
I’ve added some benchmarks results below, in case you’re interested in the hard numbers, as well as some HWInfo logs showing the temperatures and overall performance with everyday activities.
3DMark 11: P774;
PCMark 10: 1529;
Geekbench 3 32-bit: Single-Core: 1527, Multi-core: 5052;
Geekbench 4 64-bit: Single-Core: 1613, Multi-core: 4800;
CineBench 11.5: OpenGL 13.67 fps, CPU 2.05 pts, CPU Single Core 0.65 pts;
CineBench R15: OpenGL 17.65.69 fps, CPU 148 cb, CPU Single Core 45 cb;
x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 32-bit: Pass 1 – 59.61 fps, Pass 2 – 11.95 fps.
Gaming is normally out of reach for such a computer, but if you plan to run some very old titles at lower resolutions, well, you can.
Emissions (noise, heat), Connectivity and speakers
There’s no fan inside inside this computer, no moving parts, and I haven’t notice any coil whining or electrical noise on my sample either, so as a result the Spin 1 is perfectly quiet.
As far as temperatures go, the thin metallic body can heat-up with multitasking, but never to the point where it would get hot or even uncomfortable to use on the lap or hold in hands, which is a benefit of going with the efficient Apollo Lake hardware.
*Daily Use – 1080p Youtube clip in EDGE for 30 minutes
For connectivity Acer went with an Intel dual-band AC7265 that provides wireless AC and Bluetooth. It’s a good mid-level chip and as a result the Spin performed well both near the router and at medium ranges with some obstacles in between.
For audio Acer went with a set of stereo speakers firing though small pinhole cuts on the edges. They’re fairly loud, peaking at around 80 dB at head level in our tests, and they don’t distort or vibrate at high volumes either. The sound coming out of these speakers is tinny though, as they clearly lack bass and lows are only noticeable down to about 130 Hz.
The last thing to mention here is the webcam, which unfortunately is pretty crap, with a mediocre VGA sensor.
There’s a 36 Wh battery inside this computer, which is fair-sized for an 11-incher and a good match for the hardware inside, even if the IPS panel is a little more hungry than the poorer screens that are usually bundled in this size segment and even if Acer actually had the space inside the frame for a larger one.
Still, here’s what you should expect with daily use (the screen was set at around 120 nits – 30% brightness):
6.1 W (~5 h 45 min of use) – text editing in Google Drive, Balanced Mode, screen at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
4.6 W (~7 h 30 min of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Internet Explorer, Balanced Mode, screen at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
3.1 W (~11 h of use) – 1080p fullscreen .mkv video in the Movie app, Balanced Mode, screen at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
4.8 W (~7 h of use) – 4K fullscreen .mkv video in the Movie app, Balanced Mode, screen at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
8.8 W (~4 h of use) – heavy browsing in Edge, Balanced Mode, screen at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;.
The Spin 1 is bundled with a compact and light 45 W power brick and a full-charge takes around 2 hours, as there’s no Quick Charging technology implemented.
Price and availability
The Acer Spin 1 SP111-32N is only available in Europe at the time of this update, with a starting price of 499 EUR for the Petium N4200 / 4 GB RAM / 64 GB storage configuration and about 100 EUR on top for the model with 128 GB of storage space. It’s not yet available in the US, but I’d expect it to start at around $450 – $500, and we’ll update this section once we know more.
Update: The Spin 1 is available worldwide, follow this link for updated configurations and prices.
Overall, the Spin 1 is more expensive than other 2-in-1 laptops with the same kind of hardware like the first generation Acer Spin 1 or the Lenovo ThinkPad N24, but that’s not a surprise, given its nicer screen and the premium build.
But is the Spin 1 worth that kind of money?
First of all, you’ll have to understand that this is a niche computer and should only be on your list if you’re after a premium crafted mini-laptop with a convertible form-factor and a nice IPS touchscreen, which of course come with a premium. Once you accept these, the Spin 1 is not going to feel overpriced, but you’ll still have to decide if you can live with its quirks, like the uncomfortably sharp bits and edges, the ugly large bezels around the screen, the rattly non-backlit keyboard and the limited performance of the Apollo Lake platform.
If the answer is yes, and if you don’t mind paying extra for the build and screen, like I mentioned earlier, the Acer Spin 1 could be the right pick for you. I’d also have a look at
some of the exiting 12-inch Windows tablets though, as well as the slightly more expensive Lenovo Yoga 710, which is also an 11-incher, but built on a faster Intel Core Y hardware platform, with more RAM and SSD storage. Or you can go through this selection of mini notebooks for an updated set of other options. Lastly, if you’re a bit flexible when it comes to the size and weight, you’ll find better balanced products in the 13-inch class of thin-and-lights.
Anyway, that wraps up our review of the Acer Spin 1 SP111-32N, but the comments section is open for your feedback and questions, and we’re around to help out if we can.
Andrei Girbea Andrei Girbea, Editor-in-Chief
. I've a Bachelor's in Computer Engineering and I've been covering mobile technology since the 2000s. You'll mostly find reviews and thorough guides written by me here on the site, as well as some occasional first-impression articles.
January 30, 2018 at 10:19 pm
I've read your article some time ago and among all others on this little guy yours is definitely the best and most detailed, and most importantly – only one about this exact model. So, I'd say this article was pretty much the one, that convinced me to buy it. While I've been using it for about last 3 weeks, I'd like to share some experiences with it.
Firstly, I'd have to not completely agree with you about the size of bezels – while it's true for sure, that they could've put a 12' screen, due to weight of this laptop being very different from even rather large tablets, like Apple iPad Air (which I've got in hands for a while some time ago), the bottom of the screen part makes using Spin as a tablet at least considerable comfortable experience, because you can hold it by having your thumb directed nearly vertical to screen and not horizontal, like you'd normally do (because you'd still have your thumb on screen) – this makes your grab sure.
Secondly, I was very, very surprised by the keyboard – I've been using some 15' IdeaPad everyday for last 5 years and having experience with many other laptops I've very doubted, that I'd ever find something more comfortable, but, due to having rather small hands, I must say, that the Spin make quite an impress on me, because it's comfortable as hell! Smaller keyboard allow me to type and not stretch my hands so much. Of course, there are some flaws, like non-configurable function buttons (no option for change in actual BIOS), no backlit (which can be quite annoying, if you have to work often at night) and yeah… it IS pretty LOUD. Other than that, I've found it surprisingly good and going to everyday use from standard-size laptop wasn't too hard.
Thirdly, while I'm fine with the performance (the eMMC is quite-fast responding and actually enough in size for document-editing and media-consuming usage, just make sure you delete old windows files after full actualization), being unable to play Civ VI makes me quite sad. :P Jokes aside, like you said – for consuming other than games and office work it's just enough – working with few documents opened in adobe reader, about ten cards in browser (firefox, incl. few youtube videos with one playing with background, facebook and few different sites) and editing document it behaves pretty well – maybe non-lightning fast, but still fast enough to make an usage comfortable. And about the performance, graphic and screen – even, if the screen is rather small, watching some movies in 4K on youtube is still in the range – and honestly, I wasn't that sure, if it will cope with that!
Fourthly, I was quite disappointed with the speakers – I didn't expected much, but being rather used to at least superior laptop speakers (if we can name any of them as "superior") and being a bassist doesn't help – they sound quite flat, unfortunately – and not very, very loud. Other than that, if someone is exceptionally sensible to the sound quality or use mostly headphones – then it should be rather enough (with windows sonic drivers for headphones the quality is greatly improved). Also, the audio jack didn't recognise headphones as the different device than speakers – just redirects the signal to them – which doesn't allow you to quick change of sound device and force you to disconnect headphones first – a little shame for me, but I guess I'm overly demanding.
For the screen I can just confirm what most people say – yes, it's excellent – bright, detailed, with living colours and good touch response – both with finger and stylus (which is in my opinion really, really great – but I wouldn't like to say too much, because I didn't had a chance to use any other active styluses before).
Battery work is OK, I think. While I didn't actually counted, how long it lasts, I think that infos in article is pretty accurate – I keep in mind tho, that mine lasts little less, because I'm using an USB internet modem for most of the time. There are for sure some little convertibles, that will last longer, but I think this one would be just enough, if someone is not a person, that need a non-stop half-day usage ability.
The one and only thing, which I can complain and I'm quite upset is touchpad. Why? I'll tell you why – if somebody think it's a good idea to put a touchpad in laptop and simultaneously NOT put ANY drivers (and not make any drivers available for download!) allowing you to change any freaking setting, like the god-damn palmcheck, strafes, etc. – then you are bad. And you should feel bad. And even burn in hell, maybe. I've tried to look everywhere for some compatible, install some drivers from older versions of Spin 1 (and going back to stock, because none of them was working correctly, even looking for help on the official Acer forum – aaaaand… nothing. Sometimes touchpad like to stop response for a while and I don't know even why, sometimes it respond correctly for touch just on the one half, I've got no idea, what is going on, but that's the one and only thing, that makes me quite upset and angry. If someone doesn't like to play with settings, then it wouldn't be a big issue. And if someone got a solution for this – I'd be very grateful for some message. But! Other than that, I'm not not saying the touchpad is bad, certainly not – the feeling is actually pretty good and general response is more than decent, for sure.
Phew… So, I hope maybe this wall of text will help someone in choice. Overall, I find this convertible very pleasant in use – small, light, very well-build, good looking, efficient enough for everyday academic/office usage. Cheers!
January 31, 2018 at 4:42 am
Hi Chris, thanks for the extensive feedback, much appreciated.
Most touchpads these days get very limited customization options, I don't like that either, but unfortunately there's just nothing us, the consumers, can do about that.
April 28, 2019 at 11:40 am
I had the same issue with the touchpad – it's a design issue, has nothing to do with drivers.
Found the solution below. Additionaly, I move the cable going over the touchpad (wifi antena?) above the touchpad, so it would not interfere.
No issues since.
I know, it's shame you have to do this on a brand new laptop.
June 5, 2020 at 11:55 pm
Hi. I agree with Andrei and with you, too. The touchpad drive me crazy for the first few weeks. I was ready to rip it out and skate it across the lake. And Acer's online help is sometimes less than helpful. You can set sensitivity for the trackpad through Settings > Devices > Touchpad, but it never seemed to make much difference to me. Then I discovered that the F7 key deactivates the trackpad! So I went out and bought a little rechargeable Bluetooth mouse at Amazon for $17.99, and when I'm doing any real work I just turn the silly trackpad off. Works great! I've got external keyboard, mice, earbuds, speakers, and printer/scanner all Bluetoothed to this little Acer and it never drops a bit. Aside from the trackpad, and the 4-hour battery, and the cramped, nonstandard, non-backlit keyboard (which nonetheless feels pretty good,) and the slightly sluggish performance, and the lobotomized S-mode, it's really a pretty impressive little machine. It just took some getting used to. I got it as a disposable for $249 at WallyWorld (end-of-season, bare-bones, no stylus, etc.,) as something I could toss in a backpack and jog around town with, but it has grown on me. And it's quite well-built. I'm actually considering buying a Spin 5. Get the mouse. Good Luck!
March 6, 2018 at 10:57 am
From the photos, it seems there is a m.2 slot and a screw hole for ssd.
Can anyone confirm this?
April 22, 2018 at 4:25 pm
it seems this way. im also curious about this.from the pictures i cant see precisly m2 slot so dunno if it is there or maybe it is just dummy slot. screw hole is there for sure.
April 8, 2018 at 2:35 pm
My Spin 1 has not a common Windows 10, the Intel Celeron is opearting a castrate Windows 10, the S Version, it's closed for regular Softwares, more like a Windows 10 mobil OS only for App use. But my most used aplications are custom made Softwares no Apps.
The micro SD card is disconnected after standby – the small SSD can not be enlarged by the micro SD card for Data store.
The Bios has an unknown password! The Acronisstick cann't find the SSD.
A Toy like an Android Tab – not worth the money. It was the fastest way to blow away my money. Something for the junk press
May 24, 2018 at 11:18 am
My Spin 1 SP111-32N-N17H2 does not have the M.2 connector. The slot is there but you can't use it as it is just nothing to connect the SSD.
June 6, 2018 at 8:37 pm
Right now I am looking into buying the Spin 1 for travelling, but the versions I want supposedly come with Windows 10 S. I have read that it might be possible to upgrade for free to Windows 10 Home/Pro, but the mentions were almost every single time to "Windows 10 S mode". Can anyone explain this to me, and if "S mode" and just "S" is the same thing?
Thanks very much!
June 6, 2018 at 9:13 pm
You can upgrade from 10 S to 10 Pro. Win 10 is S mode is explained here: microsoft.com/en-us/windows/s-mode . As far as I understand, it's the same as 10 S, but you might want to double check with other sources as well, I've hardly ever used Win 10 S before.
June 6, 2018 at 11:13 pm
Thanks Andrei! I think I found the answer here, saying current S systems will be updated to Win10 Pro S Mode, and can after be removed for free:
March 14, 2020 at 12:50 pm
I've been very happy with it, but after less than 2 years of use, the battery life became about an hour and it hibernates the computers without warning at the end. I tried to calibrate the battery gauge and change power settings but to no avail. The battery is charging fine, it just lasts a fraction of time than it used to.
Could it be anything else than the greatly reduced battery capacity?
If it is the battery, would anybody know what model am I looking for to replace it?
October 11, 2020 at 10:06 pm
Hi, just wanted to mention, that I use mine with Ubuntu alongside with windows 10 s.
I know this process of installation is not for everyone and can cause you a damage to your current windows or can even delete your windows.
What I can recommend you, is to set Ubuntu in a portable USB (they have explanation on their website).
And once you have a fully functional version of Ubuntu installed in you USB drive you can boot from it on the next boot of your Acer machine.
I've noticed that Ubuntu 20 supports both the touchpad and the touch screen.
And if you load it from USB you can always remove that USB drive and return to your old windows 10 s
April 29, 2022 at 5:21 pm
I was been searching all the coments and info available. You mentioned there is an internal battery. But no where I could find information how this batterie could be replaced once its capacity at zero level.
Can any one help me on rthis issue.
Many thanks for your kind assistance and support on this issue.
April 30, 2022 at 9:40 am
you open the laptop and replace the battery. If you can find the part, that is