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Hands on: Acer Chromebook Spin 513 Review

Acer has revealed a new Chromebook running on Arm architecture

First Impressions

The Acer Chromebook Spin 513 is a very promising laptop, featuring the revolutionary Arm processor technology which enables a super-slender design, long battery life and 4G connectivity. What's more it's available from £399/$399, and so could well be one of the leading budget options once it launches.

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £399
  • 13.3-inch 1920x1080 IPS display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c processor
  • Qualcomm Adreno 618 graphics
  • ChromeOS
  • Optional 4G LTE
  • Weight: 1.2kg

Acer has jumped aboard the Arm bandwagon with the Acer Chromebook Spin 513, joining the likes of Apple, Microsoft and Samsung in creating a device that snubs AMD and Intel processors.

For those not familiar with ‘Arm’, it is a processor technology that allows for smaller laptop designs, long battery life and 4G connectivity. 

It’s undoubtedly going to have a big impact on future laptops, although Windows 10 compatibility issues have hampered Arm’s computing potential so far. However, the upcoming Spin 513 is a Chromebook, and so will be running on ChromeOS instead. 

As Acer has pointed out, Google has long been developing software to accommodate Arm architecture with its Android smartphones and tablets. This makes Chromebooks a natural fit for Arm architecture.

Related: What is Arm?

Acer Chromebook Spin 513

Acer Chromebook Spin 513 release date – When will it launch?

Acer has confirmed the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 will be available to buy from November / December in the UK, with an exact launch date still up in the air. 

Those in North America will have to wait until February 2021 for the Chromebook. 

Acer Chromebook Spin 513 price – How much will it cost?

The Acer Chromebook Spin 513 will have a starting price of £399 in the UK, which is surprisingly very cheap.

It will cost $399.99 over in North America, and €429 in Europe. 

Related: Best Chromebook 2020

Hands on: Acer Chromebook Spin 513 review

Arm processors are just as trendy as avocado and Tik Tok these days, with Apple declaring it’s transitioning its entire Mac range over to the architecture and Nvidia spending a whopping $40 billion to acquire Arm Limited. 

It’s no surprise, then, that Acer is the latest company to make use of the Arm technology, adopting the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c processor for its upcoming Acer Chromebook Spin 513. 

The choice of processor typically has a minimal impact on a Chromebook outside of performance power and battery life, but the Snapdragon’s inclusion has altered the laptop’s entire DNA. 

Firstly, it’s incredibly thin, to such an extent that it’s no exaggeration to say that some of the chassis is thinner than my finger. Since Arm processors aren’t as prone to overheating as Intel x86 chips, there isn’t a need for a space-invading cooling system. In fact, Acer could clearly reduce the size of the Chromebook even further, if not for the USB-A, USB-C and headphone jack on the sides. 

Weighing just 1.2kg, the Chromebook Spin 513 is an extremely portable device, especially considering it boasts a convertible design, allowing you to flip it into tablet mode or prop it up like a tent. It also feels surprisingly premium, with a aluminium top instead of the cheap plastic Chromebooks have previously been renowned for. 

Related: Best Laptop 2020

Acer Chromebook Spin 513

Arm architecture typically allows for better battery life than what you get on Intel machines. Acer claims the Chromebook Spin 513 can last for 14 hours on a single charge. Given my limited hands-on time, I haven’t been able to put this figure to the test, but it’s certainly plausible considering the incredible battery efficiency of the Snapdragon 7c.

I also haven’t been able to test the performance or run any Chrome-based apps. The Spin 513 is unlikely to be a productivity powerhouse, but that’s not expected in a Chromebook. I’m hopeful that it will offer nippy speeds when browsing the web or scrolling through social media, but I’ll have to wait until the review unit to see for myself.

Acer also revealed to me that it will be offering a 4G model for on-the-go connectivity. You will of course need to stick a 4G Sim card inside in order to use this feature, but I personally found it very useful to plug my smartphone’s Sim inside the Galaxy Book S whenever I needed to work out of reach of my Wi-Fi network – it’s good to hear the Chromebook Spin 513 will offer the same functionality. 

Early impressions

It’s bizarre to see so many cutting edge features in a Chromebook that costs £399, but the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 looks to be the real deal.

Of course, I’m yet to test the likes of performance and whether ChromeOS does play nice with the Arm architecture as Acer claims, so I’m going to remain sceptical until I get to test the Chromebook properly. 

But on first impressions, the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 looks very promising and is yet another example of Chromebooks finally coming of age. Stay tuned for our full review on Trusted Reviews. 

A ’hands on review’ is our first impression of a product only - it is not a full test and verdict. Our writer must have spent some time with the product to describe an early sense of what it’s like to use. We call these ‘hands on reviews’ to make them visible in search. However these are always unscored and don’t give recommendations. Read more about our reviews policy.

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