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On paper, the Spin 3 ’s specifications match its price. With an 8th-generation Intel Core i3 and 4GB of memory, it’s easy to feel a bit underwhelmed. Expectations going into testing the Spin 3 weren’t terribly high, and in that regard, the Spin 3 surprised us. 

Benchmarks

Here’s how the Acer Spin 3 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark Sky Diver: 3,625; Fire Strike: 826; Time Spy: 357
Cinebench CPU: 311 points; Graphics: 43 fps
GeekBench 4: 4,148 (single-core); 8,533 (multi-core)
PCMark 8 (Home Test): 2,654 points
PCMark 8 Battery Life: 4 hours and 10 minutes
Battery Life (Tech Radar movie test): 5 hours and 26 minutes

Overall, the performance of the Spin 3 isn’t impressive. Apps take some time to launch, and waiting the system to become responsive after opening the lid is quite annoying. Even as we rotate the display back, moving to tent or tablet mode, there’s a slight delay between the rotation and the system recognizing and switching modes. 

With that said, however, performance for common tasks like browsing or streaming music, is more than sufficient. Once you’re settled in and using the Spin 3 to complete work or watch a video, the system is responsive and lag free. 

We were able to easily triage an overflowing inbox in the Windows Mail app and schedule meetings in Calendar like a boss.

Acer Spin 3

Battery life

A sticker placed just above the Spin 3’s display proudly claims battery life of up-to 12 hours. It’s a believable claim, given the added thickness and size of the housing. Our tests, both benchmarks and daily use, didn’t quite hit that mark — par for the course with laptop reviews. 

The PCMark 8 battery test lasted 4 hours and 10 minutes before the Spin 3 powered down. Our movie battery test came in a bit longer, with 5 hours and 26 minutes of power. That’s enough to watch Guardians of the Galaxy for precisely 2.6 times. 

In real world use, we experienced around six hours of battery life. It’s not enough to get through an entire workday, but just enough to last a cross-country flight on most continents.

Acer Spin 3

Installed software

One of the tradeoffs for a modestly priced laptop is that it’s almost sure to be loaded with bloatware and unnecessary programs. That’s exactly the case with the Spin 3. 

Upon first boot, we noticed several unwanted apps were installed, thanks to the shortcuts on the desktop or in the taskbar. For example, there was a desktop shortcut to the Shop Ebates website and a shortcut to Firefox and Netflix in the taskbar. 

And let’s not forget the incessant notifications and prompts from Norton Antivirus, begging us to sign up and extend our coverage. At one point we even went in and disabled all things Norton, only to see more prompts reminding us it was disabled. A quick uninstall remedied that situation for us. 

Those programs are in addition to Acer’s own software, some of which is needed — like the Acer Care Center for Spin 3 specific software updates direct from Acer. Other Acer programs, such as Acer Collection (a program that promotes bloatware apps for you to install) is a waste of space.

Once you get the Spin 3 set up, you’re going to spend some time removing programs and unnecessary apps. It just comes with the territory with budget laptops.

Acer Spin 3

Final verdict

For someone who is on a budget and doesn’t need a top-of-the-line laptop with the latest and greatest internal hardware, the Spin 3 is worth considering.

We’d suggest trying to find a demo unit at a nearby retailer to try out the touchpad, otherwise at this price and with a bit of patience at times, the Spin 3 is just good enough.