Acer Chromebook Spin 513 top down view showing display and keyboard deck.

Acer Chromebook Spin 513 review: A solid Chromebook 2-in-1

Acer Chromebook Spin 513 top view with screen and keyboard deck.

Acer Chromebook Spin 513

Recommended retail price $616.00

“The Acer Chromebook Spin 513 scores all the points as a premium Chromebook with all the bells and whistles.”

Pros

  • Solid productivity performance

  • Strong battery life

  • Excellent 3:2 IPS display

  • Comfortable touchpad

  • Affordable

cons

  • Keyboard was behind the times

  • Screen edges are large

Chromebook convertible 2-in-1s have completely overtaken their Windows competition. Active pen support, larger 16:10 and 3:2 displays, and higher resolution displays – they’re finally sniffing.

Acer’s updated Chromebook Spin 513 is a classic example, offering an efficient and fast MediaTek ARM processor and a 3:2 display that is bright and sharp. Acer wanted us to list the model number of our review unit, the CP513-2H, noting that this is the second generation of the model.

My review unit costs $615 and includes the MediaTek Kompanio 1380 8-core CPU and a 13.5-inch 3:2 2K (2256 x 1504) IPS display. I found the 2-in-1 to be a fast competitor in the Chromebook space, with enough battery life to stand out. It’s a solid offering for Chrome OS fans who want the ability to put their screen into tablet mode and write or sketch on the screen.

Design

Acer Chromebook Spin 513 back view with lid and logos.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

A combination of sandblasted and anodized aluminum in the top and bottom covers of the chassis and plastic in the keyboard deck creates a laptop that should be durable yet lightweight on the outside. I found the lid slightly bendable, the keyboard deck to demonstrate some flex and the bottom chassis sturdy.

It wasn’t blatant though, and the overall build quality was pretty robust for a $600 laptop. It’s on par with comparably priced Chromebooks like the slightly larger ones. Acer Chromebook Spin 514while it is less robust than the slightly more expensive HP Chromebook x360 14c† The hinge was loose, allowing the lid to be opened with one hand, but it was a bit wobbly in a few of the four positions: clamshell, tent, media and tablet.

Acer Chromebook Spin 513 media mode with display.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Aesthetically, the Chromebook Spin 513 is a bit plain, with a plain dark gray chassis with no embellishments and clear lines. The back is angular and there’s a flair to the front, but otherwise this is a typical laptop design. The Chromebook Spin 514 is a bit sharper in its silver color, but also minimalistic. It seems like this is the trend with Chrome OS laptops (and laptops in general, frankly), as the HP Chromebook x360 14c is another one that’s simplistic in its aesthetic.

The Chromebook Spin 513 has no minimal bezels, especially on the bottom, where the chin is huge by today’s standards. Given the slightly larger 13.5-inch 3:2 screen, it’s a lot deeper and slightly wider than other 13-inch laptops. It is 0.64 inches thick and weighs 2.83 pounds, which is thin and light enough to carry around with ease.

Ports

Connectivity is solid, with two USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 ports, a USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port, a 3.5mm audio jack and a microSD card reader. Wireless connectivity lags slightly behind Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.

Performance

Acer Chromebook Spin 513 top view with screen and keyboard deck.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Acer Chromebook Spin 513 is built around the eight-core MediaTek Kompanio 1380 CPU, paired with an Arm-Mali G57 MC45 five-core GPU. The CPU is meant to be fast enough for the lightweight Chrome OS while offering long battery life. My review unit was also configured with 8GB of RAM, a ton of memory in a Chromebook, and 128GB of slower eMMC storage.

We can’t run many of our benchmarks in Chrome OS, but I was able to test the Chromebook Spin 513 in the Android version of Geekbench 5 and the Speedometer 2.0 web benchmark. In Geekbench 5, the MediaTek CPU achieved 936 in single-core and 3,438 in multi-core. That’s pretty competitive with other ARM-based Chromebooks, like the HP Chromebook x2 11 with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c scoring 599 and 1,718.

I found the Chromebook Spin 513 to be very fast in everything I threw at it.

Of course, Chrome OS laptops with Intel Core processors were faster, including the Asus Chromebook Flip CX5 with a Core i5-1135G7 scoring 1,190 and 4,151. The Chromebook Spin 513 wasn’t far off, though, which is a solid result. In Speedometer 2.0, the Acer reached 76, well above the Chromebook x2 11’s 45 and below the Chromebook Clip CX5’s 163.

Subjectively, I found the Chromebook Spin 513 to be very fast in everything I threw at it. I was able to open multiple Chrome tabs and run a few Android apps without slowing down, largely due to the large amount of RAM. Even Android gaming was fast, with titles like Asphalt 9 play without noticeable hitches.

geekbench
(single/multiple)
Speedometer 2.0
Acer Chromebook Spin 513
(MediaTek Kompanio 1380)
936/3.438 76
HP Chromebook x360 14c
(Core i3-1125G4)
898 / 2,866 N/A
HP Chromebook x2 11
(Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c)
590 / 1,689 45
Asus Chromebook Flip CX5
(Core i5-1135G7)
1.190 / 4.151 163

Display and audio

Acer Chromebook Spin 513 front view with display.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

One of the most impressive features of the laptop was its 13.5-inch 3:2 2K (2256 x 1504) IPS display. The higher aspect ratio is great for productivity and the panel was sharp enough that I had to search for pixels. My colorimeter is not supported in Chrome OS, so the following are my subjective impressions.

First, I found the screen to be more than bright enough for all my work environments, where only outdoors in direct sunlight was unusable. Acer quotes 360 nits for the screen, and I believe it reaches that number, if not higher. Then the colors were abundant and seemed natural, without oversaturation. Finally, the contrast seemed high enough that blacks looked black, not gray, and text appeared on a white background.

Tablet mode works fine thanks to the 3:2 aspect ratio.

The screen was comfortable in tablet mode thanks to the 3:2 aspect ratio which is closer to a sheet of paper. The screen is touch sensitive and worked well, and there is optional USI pen support.

Sound is delivered through two downward-firing speakers on the front of the bottom of the chassis. It was average in volume with clear mids and highs and zero bass. You want headphones or external speakers for your Netflix bingeing and music listening pleasure.

Keyboard, touchpad and webcam

Acer Chromebook Spin 513 top view with keyboard and touchpad.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The keyboard of the Chromebook Spin 513 is a nice size, with keys that are just big enough and enough distance between the keys. The switches have a firm click and require more pressure to engage than most. There is comfortable bottom action and plenty of travel. Overall, it’s a usable keyboard that might not be among the best you’ll find on premium laptops, but it’s the equal of most laptops I’ve tried that cost less than $1,000.

The touchpad is large enough for a 13-inch laptop, although there is room for a larger version. It’s covered in Corning Gorilla Glass, which is a nice touch at this price, and it’s smooth and comfortable with precise support for Chrome OS’s full complement of multitouch gestures. The buttons have a responsive click that is just the tiniest bit too loud.

While the laptop industry is moving towards Full HD webcams, you don’t necessarily expect that from a budget laptop. Accordingly, the Chromebook Spin 513’s webcam is a 720p model, although it still offers clear and crisp images.

battery life

Acer Chromebook Spin 513 rear corner view with ports and hinge.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Chrome OS is an efficient operating system and the MediaTek CPU also promises more efficiency. That should result in strong battery life, even given the relatively small capacity of 36 watt-hours.

In our web benchmark that runs through a series of popular and complex websites, the Chromebook Spin 513 made it to just over 11 hours, a strong performance that lags behind the HP Chromebook x2 11 with its slower Qualcomm CPU. It’s much longer than the Intel-based Chromebooks in our comparison group can handle. Then in our video test going through a local Full HD avengers trailer, the Chromebook Spin 513 lasted about 12.75 hours, another strong score leading the pack.

Battery life was a real strength of the Chromebook Spin 513.

surf Video
Acer Chromebook Spin 513
(MediaTek Kompanio 1380)
11 hours, 7 minutes 12 hours, 42 minutes
HP Chromebook x360 14c
(Core i3-1125G4)
7 hours, 44 minutes 8 hours, 2 minutes
HP Chromebook x2 11
(Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c)
12 hours, 42 minutes 10 hours, 59 minutes
Asus Chromebook Flip CX5
(Core i5-1135G7)
9 hours, 25 minutes 8 hours, 50 minutes

Our opinion

The Acer Chromebook Spin 513 strikes a convincing balance between performance and battery life. It’s not the fastest Chromebook you can buy, nor the most durable, but it’s a Chrome OS 2-in-1 that doesn’t force you to compromise.

The laptop had few obvious weaknesses, with good enough build quality for its $616 price tag, a really nice display, and an attractive, if somewhat plain, aesthetic. It’s a great option for anyone looking for a Chrome OS 2-in-1.

Are there alternatives?

I don’t know of any Chromebook 2-in-1s in the same price range and with the same high-resolution 3:2 display. Acer’s Chromebook Spider 713 is an option, even if it’s a bit older, more expensive, and stuck to Intel’s 1oth-gen CPU.

The HP Chromebook x360 14c is another option, available for about the same price with decent performance, but with a shorter battery life, and it still works with a 16:9 Full HD display.

Finally, if you want to go the detachable tablet way, consider the HP Chromebook x2 11. It’s less expensive, has a smaller and sharper 11-inch 3:2 2K display, and also has good battery life. However, the performance can’t quite keep up.

How long will it stay that way?

The Acer Chromebook Spin 513 was rugged enough to withstand years of normal use, and the components should keep up with Chrome OS. The one-year warranty is typical and fine for a laptop in this price range.

Should you buy it?

Yes. The Acer Chromebook Spin 513 offers an attractive combination of speed, longevity and value.

Editor’s Recommendations






Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.