Convertibles have never been an easy segment. However, lately they seem to be coming into their own thanks to the advancements of technology that provide them with more compact and efficient components as well as a lower price tag to match.
The most common mistakes that most affordable convertibles make is that they tend to have a standard hard drive versus an SSD storage unit. This is done to improve margins and cut costs.
That said, it's Acer who decided it was about time for a shakeup and they've launched a series of attractive convertibles who all implement SSD storage units. Today we're gonna tackle a very attractive model that features a mid range price coupled with an impressive 256GB SSD storage as well as a 6th generation i5 CPU. Let's get to know this model in detail as we deliver our review of the Acer Spin 5 SP513-51-55ZR.
Pros: 256GB SSD, Core i5-6200U, Full HD touchscreen, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, 10 hour battery life, competitive price, dual band WiFi.
Cons: No ethernet port, 1 USB 3.0 port.
A High end design with a top notch display and ligtweight body
Convertibles range from cheap plastic builds to premium builds. The Acer Spin 5 SP513-51-55ZR comes with the ladder of the two options. Its got a robust build with quality materials that make it both a pleasure to the senses as well as a very attractive option to take with you everywhere you go.
This particular model weighs an impressive 3.5 pounds, to place this in perspective, it's about the same weight you get on the 13 inch MacBook Pro (2015 model) so while not being of the "extremely light" variety, it's still pretty easy to pack it up and take it with you everywhere you go without that causing a strain on your back.
The display at hand is one of this laptops most attractive traits as it boasts a 13.3 inch diagonal with your standard 16:9 widescreen ratio and a Full HD resolution on top of an IPS LED-Backlit touchscreen panel. The Full HD resolution in itself is a great reason to purchase this model as most convertibles with this kind of resolution at this price range tend to lower the rest of the specs to make up for that.
Another pro of this model is the inclusion of the Acer BlueLight Shield technology which is great for powerusers who are going to work or play with this laptop for several hours on-end. This particular technology helps reduce eye fatigue by limiting the blue light emissions and therefore helping you not damage your sight when using this laptop. It's also great when you consider the fact that this model doubles as a tablet and therefore you're likely to have it even closer to your eyes during the day.
Finally, as with most high end laptops, you've got a backlit keyboard that allows you to type away into the night without having to turn on a lamp or alternative lighting source.
Top notch internals for a speedy performance
Performance on a laptop or convertible is determined by 3 main things: CPU, RAM and type of storage. Most laptops will mark off just a couple of these features as great and leave another one as "standard". Typically it's the storage that gets the bad treatment by implementing a cheaper and considerably slower hard drive versus a speedier SSD. Fortunately for us, performance on the Acer Spin 5 SP513-51-55ZR is unhinged because they opted to go all out on all three key specs.
In that regard, we've got a 6th generation Intel Core i5-6200U dual core processor that starts off at a base frequency of 2.3GHz and can go all the way towards 2.8GHz when pressed for more demanding work. This is a great CPU that's proven its worth time and time again as an excellent choice for powerusers who want a well balanced CPU that will deliver a great performance that's also energy efficient.
Along with the i5 we've also got 8GB of DDR4 RAM. This is the latest standard of RAM and one that most laptops still haven't adopted. As you'd expect its more expensive but it's also way better in that it provides a faster and more efficient multitasking capacity.
With 8GB of DDR4 RAM you don't have to worry about having one too many programs running at once since, chances are, you're not gonna reach your RAM limit and therefore you won't perceive the dreadful lags caused by having 4GB of DDR3 RAM.
Finally, the other great feature on this model is that it packs a 256GB SSD storage unit. That means that you won't have to worry to much about running out of storage while also giving you the best experience when opening apps, downloading programs and running the computer in general. Believe me, once you get a taste of an SSD storage you wont go back to a traditional hard drive, despite having less space.
A long lasting battery life and a standard graphics chip
The only thing missing from the SP513-51-55ZR for us to label it as "completely perfect" is a dedicated graphics chip. However, this isn't really Acer's fault as pretty much every convertible available has an integrated graphics chip because of the size constraints. That said, it features an Intel HD Graphics 520 graphics controller.
What does this mean? Well it means that you'll be well off when watching high definition movies and editing home videos as well as photoshopping images but it's not a graphics chip we'd recommend for hardcore gamers or professionals in graphic design. It just doesn't have the power needed to play the latest and greatest blockbuster games at a decent frame rate. There's just no way around that.
On the other hand, battery life is impressive, with a 4 cell 3220mAh battery that makes the SP513-51-55ZR one of the best convertibles in town in terms of battery life as it delivers a stunning 10 hour performance on your standard usage.
Obviously, battery life varies depending on what you do, if you're streaming movies all the time you'll get about 5-6 hours of battery whilst if you're browsing the web and editing docs at a 75% brightness you're likely to get anywhere between 8 to 10 hours, that's pretty great if you ask us.
What's in the connectivity bag? Anything else worth mentioning?
When it comes to connectivity we should mention that for obvious reasons there's no DVD tray nor an ethernet port. That said, we've got pretty much everything else you'd need. There's a standalone USB 3.0 port, a couple of your standard USB 2.0 ports, an SD card reader and you've even got an HDMI port in case you wanna plug it onto a monitor or TV set.
WiFi support is also a big deal in the Acer Spin 5 SP513-51-55ZR as it features an 802.11ac connection as well as a dual band antenna that works on both 2.4 and 5GHz connections with MU-MIMO technology. Finally, it's worth noting that the antenna has been strategically placed on this model to deliver the best signal no matter how you're using it.
Finally, the webcam in this case is an HD webcam with Skype certification which means you won't have to worry about your video stuttering while you're having an important heart to heart.
Closing arguments and opinions.
Some laptops/convertibles we recommend because they've got a great price and some we recommend regarthless of the price. In the case of the Acer Spin 5 SP513-51-55ZR we're in presence of a model that we recommend either way. We love the price point on this convertible but more than that we simply love the fact that this machine delivers a premium performance without making excuses with stuff like a hard drive or a halfway decent battery life.
Sure, it's not a gaming laptop, big deal. If you're not a gamer and you're looking for a powerful convertible then this is the best option you're gonna find. You can keep looking around and you'll see what I mean. Most convertibles (if not all) won't give you as much in this price range so in truth this is a no brainer.