Acer Chromebook Spin 11 review

This Chromebook spins up a win

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The Acer Chromebook Spin 11 isn’t a power house, and we weren’t expecting it to be. Still, even with its modest components, Chrome OS continues to prove itself competent for its intended use cases: web browsing and word processing. 

Acer Chromebook Spin 11


Here’s how the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

Octane: 10,238
Mozilla Kraken: 3,843ms
JetStream: 52.81
Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 7 hours and 34 minutes

While it won’t be able to keep up with something like the Google Pixelbook, as it rocks an Intel Celeron processor, it was able to keep up with a decent workload: typing up this review with 10 tabs open in Chrome and Spotify running in the background. And, honestly that’s exactly what we wanted to see out of this device. 

When it comes to the raw benchmarks, the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 performed admirably, if unspectacularly. We don’t doubt that we’d see much more impressive numbers with a faster processor, but the low price prevents that from happening.

At the end of the day, as long as you don’t go in expecting top-shelf (or even middle-shelf?) performance, the Spin 11 will perform exactly as you need it to for how much you paid.

Acer Chromebook Spin 11

Battery life

However, one of the most important aspects of a Chromebook is its battery life, and unfortunately the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 disappointed here. While in our casual use we didn’t really need to stress about charging the device, it didn’t exactly perform admirably in the TechRadar battery test. 

In this test, we loop local video at 1080P in VLC media player until the device dies – the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 clocked in at just 7 hours and 34 minutes. For a Chromebook, this score is well below the category average. For instance, the similarly configured (albeit older) Dell Chromebook 13 scored almost double, at around 14 hours.

Acer Chromebook Spin 11

A touch of Android

Recently one of the biggest selling points of recent Chromebooks is the inclusion of the Google Play Store, and the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 is no exception. It’s actually brilliant of Google to include this, as it goes a long way towards side stepping some of the criticisms that Chrome OS has traditionally endured – being a glorified web browser.

Getting into the Play Store was a breeze, and we were able to download virtually any app we could think of. We downloaded Super Mario Run, and while it wasn’t as smooth an experience as it usually is on our iPhone X (not to mention the blurrier visuals it was still completely playable. You should be able to do some light Android gaming on the Spin 11.

But, it’s not all fun and games. Because of the included stylus, you’re able to do some drawing on this thing – so we downloaded Adobe Sketch and did a bit of doodling. And, while you’re sure to get a better experience out of a more expensive tablet, drawing on this device is a serviceable experience. We just wouldn’t recommend doing any kind of handwritten notes with this pen, as there is some noticeable lag.

Acer Chromebook Spin 11

Final verdict

If you’re looking for a cheap laptop for school, you won’t do much better than the Acer Chromebook Spin 11, especially at the price. And, when you include the carrying case and stylus, you’re looking at one hell of a bargain – you’re paying less than $400 for a 2-in-1 laptop with a pen included, something we can’t even say about the Surface Pro anymore.

It’s not going to knock your socks off with its performance, and it’s not going to last all  day off of a single charge – but what you’re getting in return is a Chromebook that will last you many years. And, these days when everything is more breakable than ever before, we feel like that’s worth the trade-off for the right audience. 

If you’re not a student, and you’re looking for a device for multimedia consumption, we’d recommend going with the 2018 iPad or saving up for the Asus Chromebook Flip. However, at this price point, you’re not going to find a Chromebook that’s better than the Spin 11.

Bill Thomas

Bill Thomas (Twitter) is TechRadar's computing editor. They are fat, queer and extremely online. Computers are the devil, but they just happen to be a satanist. If you need to know anything about computing components, PC gaming or the best laptop on the market, don't be afraid to drop them a line on Twitter or through email.