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Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-2H) vs Acer Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H) – equivalent battle, but CB311-9H is much cheaper

If you’re not a power user what kind of machine do you need? A big percentage of consumers use their devices for browsing the Web, watching movies, and checking for new emails regularly, that’s all. For such a routine, you don’t need a powerhouse of a laptop, and you’re probably aiming at something with decent battery life and a low price.

That’s the case with the two laptops that we are taking for a spin today – the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-2H) and the Acer Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H). Yep, these are Chromebooks, which means Chrome OS (Android-based) and access to the Google Play Store. Both machines offer touchscreens and considering the fact that they use a mobile OS, perhaps you can expect a tablet-like experience (especially with the CP311-2H which is a 2-in-1 device). Of course, you can still use these laptops as standard clamshell notebooks especially if you tend to write a lot.

Hardware-wise, both machines are modest devices. Inside of them are placed quad-core Gemini Lake CPUs with just 6W TDP – the main focus here is power consumption and low heat dissipation. As for the GPUs, well, there are only iGPUs here – the Intel UHD Graphics 600 can handle 4K movies and you can play some mobile games with it (in this specific case).

So, for today’s comparison, we have two compact Chrome OS-based devices with battery-friendly hardware and low price tags.

Read our in-depth reviews here:
Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-2H): Detailed review
Acer Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H) : Detailed review

Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-2H) configurations:

Acer Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H) configurations:

Contents

Design and construction

In terms of design and build materials, both laptops are somewhat close but not entirely. The Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-2H) is a 2-in-1 device which means that you can transform it into a tablet, you can use it as a “tent”, or it can be a normal laptop. The lid and the bottom are made of plastic, while the base seems to be aluminum but we aren’t entirely sure –  it could be a quality plastic that imitates aluminum. As for the bezels, they are thick, and we mean old-school thick to the bone. One interesting fact is that the display has a Corning Gorilla Glass on top of it which adds extra protection for the screen and at the same time it makes the lid a bit more stable as well.

Oh, we almost forgot – not just the bezels are thick but the profile is as well. At least for us, 20mm thickness is too much for a small notebook with an 11.6″ screen. On the other side, the weight is acceptable at 1.20 kg. That means the portability will be more than pleasant, at least for most people.

The Acer Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H) is a different story. It’s an all-plastic device with even thicker bezels. It has a touchscreen but it lacks the Gorilla Glass protection and sadly the lid cannot be opened with a single hand. Although the whole machine feels rigid and stable – we observe almost zero bends and flexes while using this notebook. It lacks the transforming abilities of its sibling and that’s why it’s a bit thinner (18.1mm) and lighter than it (1.10 kg). Still, despite being a bit more cheap-ish looking than its competitor, the CB311-9H has better portability than its rival because of the weight.

Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-2H)

Acer Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H)

Some words regarding the keyboards and the touchpads. The unit of the Chromebook Spin 311 has keycaps with long key travel and clicky feedback but there is some kind of inconsistency – there are keycaps that are stiff and others that are not. This leads to a not-so-comfortable experience – let’s call it average. Still, there is plenty of space around the arrow keys. Touchpad – well, it’s not the best, the presence of a mobile OS means that it’s more comfortable to use the touchscreen function than the touchpad. Some usual gestures aren’t working here and most users can find it odd.

The keyboard of the Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H) looks to be the same as the unit inside the CP311-2H. Gladly, it lacks the inconsistency problem so it feels like a “good package”. Of course, no NumberPad here, there is no space for this feature. The same goes for the touchpad – you can expect the same experience with it as the one that we found in its competitor.

Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-2H)

Acer Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H)

The disassembly of the Chromebook Spin 311 isn’t the easiest despite the fact that it’s a small notebook. You have to unscrew 12 Phillips-head screws and then you can remove the bottom panel with the help of a pry tool or something similar. Now, when the innards are in front of you, the unorthodox positioning of the motherboard may surprise you – it’s placed upside-down. Unfortunately, the memory is soldered, there are just 64GB of eMMC storage, and you can add additional space for your files via SD card.

Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-2H)

Acer Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H)

It’s not a surprise that the disassembly and the innard construction of the Acer Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H) are almost the same, even the position of the motherboard is again, upside-down. One important thing – no matter the device, the cooling solution is passive, ergo, it lacks a cooling fan.

HeightWeight
Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-2H)20.00 mm (0.79″)1.20 kg (2.6 lbs)
Acer Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H)18.1 mm (0.71″)1.10 kg (2.4 lbs)

Now, have a look at the four provided pictures below. They are almost identical, right? True, these two devices have a similar port selection. Let’s start with some small differences. On the left side of the Chromebook Spin 311 is placed a Power button, and on the right side of the laptop, there is a volume rocker. The Chromebook 311 lack these two buttons, there are no other differences. Ok, let’s check the ports. On the left side of both devices are placed a USB Type-C 3.1 (Gen. 1) port (with charging and DP capabilities), a USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) port, a MicroSD card reader, and an Audio Jack. On the right – a Kensington lock…… and the same USB configuration that we found on the left side.

Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-2H)

Acer Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H)

Display

These two Chromebooks are equipped with 11.6″ IPS screens that have a 768p resolution. The Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-2H) has a display with a model number AUO B116XAK01.4 (AUO145C) and Acer Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H) is equipped with a panel that has the following model number – AUO B116HAN04.0 (AUO405C). The viewing angles of the panels are excellent and the contrast ratios are great as well -1300:1 and 1360:1.

Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-2H)

Acer Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H)

In terms of sRGB color coverage, both notebooks disappoint with results of 58% (Chromebook Spin 311) and 56% (Chromebook 311). Well, at least the viewing angles and the contrast are fine, don’t forget the fact, that we are talking about two inexpensive devices.

Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-2H)

Acer Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H)

Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work.

Below you can compare the score of the two panels – both with already applied “Gaming and Web design” profile. Color-accuracy is no different than the sRGB coverage results – again, here we have mediocre results around the 4.0 mark. Still, they’ll do the job for casual everyday usage.

Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-2H)

Acer Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H)

One of the most important things about a display is its safety for the user. We are happy to see that the tested panels lack the PWM usage for brightness adjustment. That means that you can use either of the two laptops for prolonged periods of time.

Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-2H)

Acer Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H)

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa. We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time of 25.3 ms for the Chromebook Spin 311 panel and 29.4 ms for the Chromebook 311 display. Well, these notebooks aren’t created for serious gaming purposes (they are limited to mobile games only) so the results here are not a big deal. They are fine for Web surfing and movies.

Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-2H)

Acer Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H)

Our display profiles

Here at LaptopMedia, we create a set of custom-tailored profiles for every notebook we review. They boost the productivity of display and reduce negative effects such as blue light emissions and PWM. You can read more about them here.

Buy our profiles from here:

11.6”, WXGA (1366 х 768p), 60 Hz, IPS (AUO B116XAK01.4 AUO145C): Buy our profiles

11.6”, WXGA (1366 х 768p), 60 Hz, IPS (AUO B116HAN04.0 AUO405C): Buy our profiles

Specs sheet comparison

More information about Intel Celeron N4100 and its position in our Top CPU Ranking you can find HERE.

More information about the Intel UHD Graphics 600 and its place in our Top GPU Ranking you can find HERE.

Battery

Again, the battery units are the same – inside of the two laptops is placed a 39Wh battery unit. We were able to squeeze from the CP311-2H model more than 12 hours of Web browsing and above 6 hours of HD video content. Expectedly, the CB311-9H has a nearly identical battery life – almost 12 hours of Web surfing and 7 hours of watching videos. Solid results for both devices, thumbs up.

 

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.

Hardware and Gaming tests

CPU options

The two devices are equipped with the Intel Celeron N4100, which has 4 cores, just 6W TDP, 4MB of cache, and 1.10 GHz – 2.40 GHz base and boost frequencies. This is a power-efficient CPU that has to ensure long autonomous life away from the wall charger. We picked up some popular mobile CPU and GPU benchmarks, as you can see the performance levels are very close.

CPU Benchmarkssingle/multi Geekbench 5PCMark Computer VisionOctane V2Mozilla Kraken 1.1
Acer Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H)404/14107073157042432.7 ms
Acer Chromebook Spin 11 (CP311-2H)378/12817122155052457.7 ms

GPU options

For iGPU we have the cost-friendly Intel UHD Graphics 600 that starts with a 300MHz base clock and it can go up to 700MHz if there is enough (TDP) room for it.

GPU Benchmarks3DMark SlingshotGFXBench Manhattan 3.0 (1080p offscreen)GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 (1080p offscreen)GFXBench Aztec Ruins OpenGL (1080p offscreen)
Acer Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H)261022 fps16 fps11 fps
Acer Chromebook Spin 11 (CP311-2H)261322 fps16 fps11 fps

Results are from the Cinebench 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)

Gaming comfort

Here comes the fun part, both machines have passive cooling solutions. The whole experience is completely silent (we heard some slight coil noise while testing the CP311-2H but it was nothing too serious) – great for long hours of work when you need to concentrate without being distracted from noisy fans. Thermal-wise, things are ok but we expected better results. Yes, 42°C to 43°C shell temperature isn’t too much but we have seen better and worst from machines that are much much faster than these two. Moreover, the CPU has 6W TDP – if we have to honest, that kind of temperature seems a bit too high for such a low-power processor.

Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-2H)

Acer Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H)

Verdict

In short, we have tested and compared two Chromebooks that aren’t too far away from each other in every category. When it comes to the build quality, the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-2H) looks like a better device, at least at first sight. That’s because of the transforming abilities and the extra protection that comes from the Gorilla Glass screen. On top of that, the base is made from better material. But the CB311-9H has its pros too – its base is more stable when you apply pressure on it, especially when you type too harshly. Both machines have thick bezels, matte silver finish, and decent portability because they are light (and a bit thicker than usual but it is what it is).

The keyboards and the touchpads of both notebooks have almost similar performance. We think that the one in Chromebook 311 (the non-Spin model) is better because it lacks inconsistency – all keycaps have the exact same feedback but we cannot say the same thing for the competitor.

In terms of display quality, well, it may sound repetitive, but these laptops aren’t that different in this category. The good news is that they offer a safe experience because there are no signs of PWM usage, the viewing angles are comfortable, and the contrast ratios are excellent. The panels have a bad side too – low sRGB color coverage and not-so-accurate colors.

Battery life is very good no matter the machine. The overall performance is ok, but don’t expect great multitasking from such devices. They are suitable for Web browsing, watching videos, and mobile games, which is enough given the end price of these Chromebooks.

Comfort during load isn’t bad at all – the machines are virtually silent but there is what to be desired from the shell temperatures. Still, the heat under your fingers will not be a problem because it’s within acceptable levels.

Is there a clear winner here? Well, at least for us – no. If you need an inexpensive device for your daily tasks, these two Chromebooks are good options. If you prefer a laptop with transforming abilities – well, the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-2H) will do the job. But if you don’t need this feature, you’ll save a good amount of money if you choose the Acer Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H) which can provide a similar experience as its more expensive sibling.

Read our in-depth reviews here:
Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-2H): Detailed review
Acer Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H) : Detailed review



Why choose Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-2H)?

  • Better build
  • 2-in-1 device
  • Corning Gorilla Glass protection for the screen




Why choose Acer Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H)?

  • Cheaper
  • Better thermals under load
  • The keyboard lacks keycaps inconsistency


Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-2H) configurations:

Acer Chromebook 311 (CB311-9H) configurations: