Acer TravelMate Spin review

Acer TravelMate Spin P414RN-51 review

The Acer TravelMate Spin is a business, convertible ultraportable that aims to do it all in a stylish and robust manner. In a crowded market, where should it be on your list?

Key Specs of the Acer TravelMate Spin P414RN-51

Display: 14-inch, glossy, 60Hz, 1920 x 1080, touchscreen, IPS
Processor: 2.4-4.2GHz Intel Core i5-1135G7 CPU
Memory: 8GB DDR4-3200 RAM
Hard drive: 256GB
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe GPU
Battery: 56Wh
Dimensions (WxDxH): 325 x 236 x 17.9mm
Weight: 1.58KG
SKU: P414RN-51
Full specs here

Handling and Design

The Acer TravelMate Spin is a robust, business-focussed, premium, convertible laptop. The dark-blue, metal chassis suits its corporate audience and it feels bombproof despite weighing just 1.53KG. The screen barely budges when a twisting force is applied to it. The (white backlit LED) touch-type keyboard is very comfortable and accurate to type upon for extended periods but we’re not fans of the squished arrow keys – even more than normal as they’re placed right up against the Page-Up and Page-Down keys. We’re happy to see that it’s spill resistant, though.

Acer TravelMate Spin front
A great keyboard (except for the navigation keys) and the screen is good – just note the reflections.

The Acer TravelMate Spin’s trackpad is generally smooth and comfortable but if you have clammy hands it can stick a bit. The buttons are robust but simple to click.

The glossy, Full HD screen has a thick bezel around it. At the top is a Windows Hello-compatible, HD webcam with a hardware, privacy slider. On the side there’s a Windows-Hello compatible fingerprint reader which utilises a TPM 2.0  module for additional security.

The screen itself feels a little small considering the resolution. Particularly large windows and spreadsheets can feel limited in coverage so we regularly zoomed out. However, we’re impressed at how the glossy display repels reflections(ish) and fingerprints under general usage. It still acts like a mirror when displaying dark content though.

It’s made from toughened, Gorilla Glass and has anti-microbial protection to boot. The touchscreen is responsive and works well when folded round into tablet configuration. The low-travel keyboard instantly turns off and the stiff hinge keeps it feeling like a proper tablet and not just a folded-up laptop.

The Acer TravelMate Spin’s screen itself is bright and well-lit. Colours are somewhat muted but only multimedia enthusiasts would complain and this isn’t a laptop for them. Even so, multimedia videos run bright and smooth and contrast is good with details evident in both highlights and shadows. Colour gradients are impressively smooth and monochromatic transitions are relatively impressive too. If you fancy your hand at some low-powered, fast-and-frantic competitive gaming, note that the 60Hz screen isn’t very fast but neither is the pixel response time – there’s noticeable ghosting too. It’s fine for general multimedia consumption though.

Despite the svelte chassis, the speakers are surprisingly loud and punchy despite the lack of pounding bass. They aren’t tinny and there’s decent fidelity from top to bottom.

Performance

Inside there’s an 11th Gen, quad-core, 2.4-4.2GHz Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor. This is supported by 8GB RAM and a 256GB NVMe hard drive. These combined to score 4460 in the general PCMark 10 test which is a bit low, even for an ultraportable, but it’s still lag free under general usage. You have to do considerable multitasking to experience lag. Scores of 774 and 4118 in the Cinebench rendering tests (R15 and R23 respectively) demonstrate that it’s not great for hardened encoding-like workflows.

The Acer TravelMate Spin utilises Intel’s CPU-integrated Iris Xe graphics which are limited in their gaming capabilities. It scored just 924 in 3dMark Time Spy which is an average of 5fps. In Fire Strike Extreme it scored 875 (4fps) and it couldn’t run the difficult, Port Royal ray-tracing test. However, a score of 8538 in the forgiving Night Raid test (average 44.5fps) shows it can still play casual and competitive games.

We can get a little nervous about robust, thin, metal laptops as they can overheat when under load. However, the Acer TravelMate Spin gave us no such concern, it doesn’t ever get past a very minor, non-distracting swoosh.

Connectivity

On the left.
On the left is Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 2.0, two USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports and a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port which supports Thunderbolt 4 and DP.
On the right.
On the right is a 3.5mm audio jack, microSD card reader and a Windows Hello-compatible fingerprint reader (integrated into the power button). There’s also a slot that houses a mini stylus.

Inside the Acer TravelMate Spin there’s Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth. It’s an impressive complement.

Portability

The Acer TravelMate Spin is very robust and will easily survive life on the road. It’s also MIL-STD 810F certified. There are noticeably lighter ultraportables but 1.58KG ain’t much.

The three-cell, 56Wh battery ran the PCMark 10 Modern Office battery test for an impressive 12hrs 30mins. Fast charging means it can replenish to 80 per cent in one hour. The power brick and cables weigh just 325g more. This and the impressive build quality means it ticks all the ultraportable boxes.

Acer TravelMate Spin underneath
We like a stylus that stows… because we lose them otherwise.

Should I buy the Acer TravelMate Spin

The Acer TravelMate Spin is currently on sale for $1799. It’s got some heavy competition from other ultraportables, especially Huawei’s MateBooks and the Dynabook Portégé X30W-J 2-in-1, but for those who want an ultraportable, business, convertible with an integrated stylus, it’s a great choice.

Acer TravelMate Spin results
  • 2D Performance
  • 3D Performance
  • Ergonomics
  • Stability
  • Portability
  • Value
3.2

Summary

In a crowded business ultraportable market, this is well worthy of your consideration.

Leave a Reply