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HomeReviewsAcer Chromebook Spin 513 review: Another solid Chromebook 2-in-1

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

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

Acer Chromebook Spin 513
MSRP $616.00

Score Details

DT Recommended Product

“The Acer Chromebook Spin 513 hits all the marks 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 curve
  • Display bezels are large

Chromebook convertible 2-in-1s have completely caught up with their Windows competition. Active pen support, taller 16:10 and 3:2 displays, and higher resolutions screens — they’re finally up to snuff.

Contents

  • Design
  • Ports
  • Performance
  • Display and audio
  • Keyboard, touchpad, and webcam
  • Battery life
  • Our takeShow 2 more items

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

My review unit is priced at $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 contender in the Chromebook space, with enough battery life to stand out. It’s a solid offering for Chrome OS fans who want the option of flipping their display into tablet mode and writing or sketching on the display.

Design

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

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

It wasn’t egregious, though, and the overall build quality was quite robust for a $600 laptop. It’s equal to similarly priced Chromebooks like the slightly larger Acer Chromebook Spin 514, while it’s 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 being a little wobbly in a couple of its four modes: Clamshell, tent, media, and tablet.

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Aesthetically, the Chromebook Spin 513 is a bit plain, with a unicolored dark grey chassis with zero adornments and straightforward lines. The rear edge is angled, and there’s a flair at the front sides, but otherwise, this is a typical laptop design. The Chromebook Spin 514 is a little sharper in its silver color, but it, too, is minimalistic. It seems that’s the trend with Chrome OS laptops (and laptops in general, frankly), as the HP Chromebook x360 14c is another that’s simplistic in its aesthetic.

The Chromebook Spin 513 doesn’t have minimal bezels, particularly on the bottom, where the chin is massive by contemporary standards. Given the slightly larger 13.5-inch 3:2 display, it’s quite a bit deeper and a little wider than other 13-inch laptops. It’s 0.64 inches thick and weighs 2.83 pounds, which is thin and light enough to be easy to carry around.

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 is slightly behind the curve with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.

Performance

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 intended 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 quite competitive with other ARM-based Chromebooks such as the HP Chromebook x2 11 with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c that scored 599 and 1,718.

I found the Chromebook Spin 513 to be plenty speedy at 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 that scored 1,190 and 4,151. However, the Chromebook Spin 513 wasn’t far off, which is a solid showing. In Speedometer 2.0, the Acer hit 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 plenty speedy at everything I threw at it. I could open multiple Chrome tabs and run a few Android apps without things slowing down, largely due to the large amount of RAM. Even Android gaming was quick, with titles like Asphalt 9 playing without noticeable stutter.

Geekbench
(single / multi)

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

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

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

First, I found the display more than bright enough for all my working environments, with only outside in direct sunlight being unusable. Acer quotes 360 nits for the display, and I believe it’s hitting that number, if not higher. Next, colors were plentiful and seemed natural, with no oversaturation. Finally, the contrast seemed high enough that blacks looked black and not grey, and text on a white background popped.

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

The display was comfortable in tablet mode thanks to the 3:2 aspect ratio that’s closer to a sheet of paper. The display is touch-enabled and worked well, and there’s optional USI pen support.

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

Keyboard, touchpad, and webcam

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Chromebook Spin 513’s keyboard is nicely sized, with keycaps that are just big enough and plenty of key spacing. The switches have a solid click and require more pressure to engage than most. There’s a comfortable bottoming action and plenty of travel. Overall, it’s a serviceable keyboard that may not be among the best you’ll find on premium laptops, but it’s the equal of most laptops I’ve tried that are less $1,000.

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

While the laptop industry is heading toward 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 provides clear and bright images.

Battery life

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

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

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 showing that’s behind the HP Chromebook x2 11 with its slower Qualcomm CPU. It’s much longer than the Intel-based Chromebooks in our comparison group could manage. Next, in our video test that loops a local Full HD Avengers trailer, the Chromebook Spin 513 lasted for about 12.75 hours, another strong score that led the pack.

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

Web browsing
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 take

The Acer Chromebook Spin 513 provides a compelling balance of performance and battery life. It’s neither the fastest Chromebook you can buy nor the longest-lasting, but it’s a Chrome OS 2-in-1 that doesn’t force you to compromise.

The laptop had few outright weaknesses, with a build quality that was good enough given the $616 price, a really nice display, and an attractive if somewhat plain aesthetic. It’s a great option for anyone in the market for a Chrome OS 2-in-1.

Are there any alternatives?

I’m unaware of any Chromebook 2-in-1s in the same price range and with the same 3:2 high-res display. Acer’s Chromebook Spin 713 is one option, even though it’s a bit older, more expensive, and is stuck with Intel’s 1oth-gen CPU.

The HP Chromebook x360 14c is another option, coming in at about the same price with decent performance but less battery life, and it’s still running with a 16:9 Full HD display.

Finally, if you want to go the detachable tablet route, 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, its performance can’t quite keep up.

How long will it last?

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

Should you buy it?

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

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