Here at Chrome Unboxed, we spend a ton of time unboxing and reviewing Chromebooks. It’s in our name, after all, and impressions on all the latest hardware in the Chromebook ecosystem will always be central to our purpose as a tech blog, YouTube channel, and Podcast. Though I spend a great deal of time bouncing from one Chromebook to the next, there are still decent stretches of time where I’m not in review mode and I go back to my home device. My safe place. My go-to Chromebook.
For a few years now, that Chromebook has always had a Google logo on the back as I’ve basically been between the Pixelbook and Pixelbook Go. Though other devices have come and gone with better internal specs, better connectivity, better screens, and better fringe benefits, there’s just been something about Google’s own devices that has always brought me back again and again. For the past month or so, however, that is changing as I’ve purchased and now carry the fantastic Acer Chromebook Spin 713 in my bag as my main device.
I realized last week that between reviews, I rarely share what Chromebook I actually go back to and why I do so. For the Google devices, it always came down to the overall build quality, fit and finish of them that kept me around. The Pixelbook and Pixelbook Go feel more thoughtfully put together than any other Chromebook out there and, for me, that’s an important factor in determining which one I’m going to continue returning to between reviews. As this recent hardware change has taken me out of Google’s hardware circle, I thought it would be fun to take a moment and share why the Acer Spin 713 has stolen away my attention.
Inside the clamshell
This isn’t a review. If you’re interested in that, you can read our exhaustive and detailed review and watch that video as well. This is more of a reflection on why the sum of the parts that Acer put together in the Spin 713 have coalesced into something both fun to use and functionally superior to anything else I could be using currently.
For me, the parts you deal with when you crack open the lid are arguably most important. The screen, keyboard and trackpad make up the vast majority of your interaction time with any Chromebook, and in this realm Acer has totally crushed it with the Spin 713.
Let’s start with the screen. At 13.5-inches (2256×1504), this 450 nit IPS panel at a 3:2 aspect ratio is by far my favorite screen currently available on a Chromebook. The real estate you get in a screen of this diagonal measure at this aspect ratio is hard to fully explain until you’ve used it. Just know that the vertical measure of this display is exactly the same as what you get on a standard 15.6-inch laptop. Sure, you lose a bit of room on the left and right when compared to a 16:9 15.6-inch display, but the overall feel is still just as expansive without the need of an external monitor. I love it every time I lay my eyes on it.
The keyboard and trackpad may not be the absolute best in the business, but they are great. I prefer the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook’s keyboard and the Pixelbook Go’s trackpad, but the combo on the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 isn’t far off of either. The keyboard is comfy and backlit and I have no issues typing long posts on it with few mistakes. The trackpad is huge, glass, and has a great click. Nothing to complain about in the least.
Under the hood
When you marry up all those things, you already have a winner in my mind, but Acer goes on to include top-tier internals as well with a 10th-gen Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of NVMe SSD. Those are huge specs for a Chromebook, and you feel it every day. Nothing is ever slow and the extra pixels on the screen that make things sharp and crispy never contribute to any sort of slow down thanks to these internal specs.
Did I mention that they crammed all of this into a fully-aluminum chassis and made sure it was verified with the MIL-STD-810G military-grade durability? They absolutely did and though it doesn’t look the part, this Chromebook can withstand drops of up to 48 inches and downward force of up to 130 pounds. When you tote your Chromebook around in a backpack every day and have kids around the house, this added durability is a huge factor.
Finally, they did all of this at a price that I still can’t believe: $629. That’s not to mention it has already been on sale a few times for $100-$130 off, taking it all the way down to $499 a few times. For all you get in this Chromebook, that seems nearly impossible. Yet, here we are.
The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 represents not only one of the absolute best values in the Chromebook landscape: it also is an example of how Chromebooks in this price range should be outfitted. Give us sturdy builds, great screens, fantastic inputs, and fast internals when the price gets above $600. Period. Acer has done far more than what is required to make a solid device, and because of that, all the pieces come together to make what is easily the most attractive overall Chromebook package on the market right now. Would I love a fingerprint scanner and a bit more thoughtful design? Sure. But I’ll take this trade any day to get a device that packs all of this into a box I can buy for under $600 most days. That’s why it’s in my bag and will continue to stay put until something better and more competitive comes along.