Acer has a long history with Chrome OS devices that it continues to propel forward with devices like the Chromebook Tab 10. Chromebooks have found a comfortable home in schools and kids’ rooms, but many are convinced that Chrome OS can be a viable platform for professionals as it continues to evolve.
Acer unveiled a Chromebook for such professionals, the Chromebook Spin 13, that looks and feels like it could hold its own next to some high-end ultrabooks.
Both design and internals set the Chromebook Spin 13 apart from other Chrome OS devices, even those already made by Acer. The new 2-in-1 has an all-metal chassis with diamond-cut edges, giving it more substantial feel when you lift it compared to the plastic Chromebooks we’re all used to. The polished hinges on the Spin 13 smoothly facilitate the transition between laptop, tent, presentation, and tablet modes, and the device feels sturdy no matter how it’s positioned.
It doesn’t have the slimmest bezels surrounding the 13.5-inch, 2256×1504 touchscreen, but the panel is a small step up from typical FHD screens and doesn’t demand a lot of scrolling thanks to its 3:2 aspect ratio. The Spin 13 comes with a Wacom stylus as well that lives in its chassis, making it easy to bring with you and (hopefully) never forget. I didn’t have much time to test out the keyboard and trackpad at Acer’s New York event, but typing a quick few words seemed comfortable, and the glass touchpad was smooth and responsive. I appreciate the inclusion of two USB-C 3.1 Gen1 ports on the device, as well as one USB-A port and a microSD card slot.
In addition to the premium design, the Chromebook Spin 13 runs on 8th-gen Intel Core processors—i5 and i3 to be exact. Users can choose which processor is best for them, and the device supports up to 16GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Most Chromebooks run on lower-power CPUs like Intel Pentium or Celeron processors, so making the latest Intel processors the only options for the Chromebook Spin 13 positions it as a convertible that can handle hard work. Years ago, Acer offered Core i3 processors in some of its Chromebooks, but the Spin 13 is the first to have Intel’s 8th-gen CPUs.
The Chromebook Spin 13 may succeed in attracting Pixelbook admirers due to its premium design and powerful specs. The device doesn’t look anything like Google’s top-tier Chrome OS device, but Google’s notebook remains a premium device with its $1,199 price. Acer hasn’t announced pricing for the Chromebook Spin 13 yet—we expect it to be higher than most other Chrome OS devices, but it shouldn’t land anywhere near the Pixelbook’s price.
Acer also debuted a convertible model of its Chromebook 15, the new Chromebook Spin 15. This device more neatly fits into Acer’s Chromebook lineup with its Celeron and Pentium processor options, up to 8GB of RAM, and up to 64GB of storage. The company essentially took the Chromebook 15’s design and attached its 360° hinge to it, allowing the mammoth laptop to convert into various modes. It has a 15.6-inch FHD IPS display, speaker grilles hugging the left and right side of its keyboard, two USB-C 3.1 Gen1 ports in addition to two USB-A ports and a microSD card reader, and an estimated 13-hour battery life. Acer is billing the Chromebook Spin 15 as a media consumption device, as well as a capable and affordable workhorse.
Nitro, Predator lineup expansions
Acer’s past spring events have focused heavily on its gaming devices. This time around, Acer announced a slew of new gaming machines that expand on its current offerings but don’t redefine any of its gaming families. The new Nitro 50 desktop brings a tower into the company’s casual gamer-focused lineup. The Nitro 50 has the jet black and red color scheme found on Nitro laptops, and it also incorporates an optional Qi wireless charging deck into its design that allows users to charge devices next to them while they play. The new desktop supports up to Intel Core i7+ CPUs, up to 64GB of RAM, up to 32GB of Optane memory, up to Nvidia GTX 1070 or AMD Radeon RX580X graphics, and up to a 3TB HDD and a 512GB SSD.
The higher-end Predator gaming family welcomes the new Helios 500 laptop, a 17-inch powerhouse featuring an overclockable Intel Core i9+ processor and Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics with 8GB of GDDR5 VRAM. It also supports up to 64GB of RAM and up to a 2TB HDD and 1TB SSD. Users have the option of a 4K panel or an FHD panel with a 144Hz refresh rate, and all models support Nvidia G-Sync technology. The Helios 500 has a design similar to that of the Helios 300 laptops (which now come in a special-edition white-and-gold color scheme), which includes AeroBlade 3D metal fans and five heat pipes that release hot air while distributing cool air to internal components.
Finally, two new Orion desktops join the massive and powerful Predator Orion 9000. The new Orion 5000 desktop supports Intel Core i7+ CPUs and Intel’s Z370 chip, along with two-way Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti SLI graphics, 32GB of Optane memory, and Killer LAN Ethernet. Both have EMI-compliant designs and both have a see-through side panel that lets users view the internals. The Orion 3000 tower supports Intel Core i7+ CPUs and Nvidia GTX 1080 graphics, along with 34GB of Optane memory and up to 64GB of RAM. As indicated by their numeric names, the 5000 and 3000 towers are less-powerful, more-affordable versions of Acer’s top-tier desktop, and both are designed to be smaller, yet almost mirror images of the Orion 9000.
The Nitro 50 gaming desktop will be available in July starting at $799, while the Helios 500 laptop will be available in June starting at $1,999. As for the new Orions: the 5000 models will be available in June starting at $1,499 and the 3000 models will follow in October starting at $999. Acer hasn’t released pricing and availability for the Chromebook Spin 13, but the Chromebook Spin 15 will be available in July starting at $449.