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Acer Spin 5 (SP513-54N) review – finally a worthy 2-in-1 from Acer

At last, there is a new Acer Spin 5 to talk about. Its exact name is Spin 5 (SP513-54N) and offers a significant upgrade over its predecessor. First of all, let’s say that the notebook is aimed at pretty much any profession. Interesting how Acer has missed using the “Pro” moniker, as pretty much every company is trying to sneak it in somehow. Nevertheless, according to the manufacturer, this notebook will provide long battery life, good performance, and (what we are most excited about) an interactive display.

Ultimately, this is a fancy name for the touchscreen 3:2 panel used in this machine. Yes, this is not your average 16:9 notebook, and as one can see, it is a convertible. Usually, we would say that the Ice Lake processors are a pretty big selling point here, but we really feel that the display is what is going to sell the device. Not only it supports styluses, but it also has the Feel technology from Wacom, and there is an Active Pen inside… the chassis but more on that – later.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-spin-5-sp513-54n/

Contents

Specs Sheet

Acer Spin 5 (SP513-54N) review – finally a worthy 2-in-1 from Acer - Specs

  • BOE NE135FBM-N41 (BOE08BC)
  • Color accuracy  2.8  1.3
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 2000GB SSD + up to 1000GB HDD
  • RAM
  • up to 20GB
  • OS
  • Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Home
  • Battery
  • 56Wh, 4-cell, 54Wh, 4-cell
  • Body material
  • Aluminum, Magnesium alloy
  • Dimensions
  • 299.7 x 236.2 x 14.9 mm (11.80" x 9.30" x 0.59")
  • Weight
  • 1.20 kg (2.6 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 2x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 2x USB Type-C
  • Thunderbolt 3
  • HDMI
  • Card reader
  • SD, SDHC, SDXC
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.0
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5 mm combo
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera
  • Backlit keyboard
  • optional
  • Microphone
  • Speakers
  • 2 Stereo Speakers
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot

All Acer Spin 5 (SP513-54N) configurations

#CommissionsEarned

What’s in the box?

Inside of the box, you’ll see the 65W power brick, some paper manuals, and the Acer Spin 5 (SP513-54N), itself.

Design and construction

So, ladies and gentlemen, this notebook is particularly impressive, thanks to its especially portable design. It weighs only 1.20 kg and with a profile of 14.9mm, it barely takes any space in your hand. Ultimately, this was possible because of the magnesium-aluminum alloy body, and interestingly, the glass cover of the display doesn’t make the laptop any thicker – good job, Acer.

Now, let’s take a quick look at the display. As you can see, it has rather thin bezels on the left and right, and the top houses its HD Web camera. So far – so good. More interesting, though, is the way it works with the integrated stylus. First, the so-called “Active Pen” is located on the right side of the chassis, when you are using the device in clamshell mode. After you take it out of its place, you have up to 90 minutes to create images, text, or just highlight a PDF document, before the battery dies. However, as soon as the stylus goes dark, just plug it back in its slot for 15 seconds, and it will be fully recharger. 15 seconds! Yes, this technology is not brand new, but it is truly mindblowing. Nevertheless, from our non-artistic perspective, the pen feels extremely easy to use, it has 4096-points of pressure and we observed virtually no parallax effect.

It is great to work with it, but it’s worth nothing if the display, itself, is not-good-enough. Before we go to more details about the 3:2 13.5″ IPS panel, we would like to talk about the keyboard and the touchpad. Sadly, we found the feedback from this unit to be somewhat inconsistent. Some keys feel clicky, while others resemble melted cheese. We will tell you what is consistent, though – the short key travel. Ultimately, Acer could have done a better job with the keyboard, but we presume they spent most of the R&D time and money on the display.

Furthermore, while made of glass, its touchpad is not really smooth, when it comes to the gliding experience. Other than that, the unit works well and is pretty accurate. Moreover, it features a fingerprint reader, which is located within the area of the touchpad, itself. However, unlike many other devices, this doesn’t remove the sensitivity from around the scanner, which is not bad.

Another thing you’ll see on the base are the speakers. This means that you will only find the ventilation grills on the bottom plate, with the hot air escaping from the backside of the machine. By the way, the hinges are pretty tight, but if it wasn’t for the strong magnets that keep the lid closed, you could easily open it with a single hand.

Ports

On the left side, you can see the charging plug, two Thunderbolt 3 connectors, an HDMI connector, a USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) port, and a MicroSD card reader. Then, on the right, you can see a 3.5mm headphone jack, another USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen 1), the Power button, and the Active Stylus slot.

Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

For your inconvenience, Acer uses 10 Torx-head screws to attach the bottom panel of this device to its chassis. After you find the appropriate screwdriver and undo the screws, you need to pry the plate away with a plastic tool.

Once inside, you’ll see that the cooling comprises a single fan, as well as a rather thick, but short heat pipe, which looks like the tail of a rat.

Sadly, the upgradability of this notebook is limited to a single M.2 PCIe x4 slot. This means that all of the memory is soldered to the motherboard. However, the good thing about it, is that it can work at higher frequencies – 3733 MHz.

Last but not least, there is the 55.9Wh battery pack.

Display quality

Acer Spin 5 (SP513-54N) is equipped with an IPS panel, BOE NE135FBM-N41 (BOE08BC). Its diagonal is 13.5-inch (34.3 cm), and the resolution – 2256 х 1504p. Additionally, the screen ratio is 3:2, the pixel density – 200 ppi, their pitch – 0.126 х 0.126 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 43 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).

Viewing angles are comfortable. We offer images at different angles to evaluate the quality.

The maximum measured brightness is 440 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and also 420 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 10%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6270K – slightly warmer than the 6500K temperature for sRGB.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from uniformity perspective. The illustration below shows how matters are for operational brightness levels (approximately 140 nits) – in this particular case at 36% Brightness (White level = 139 cd/m2, Black level = 0.1 cd/m2).
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 (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is very good – 1320:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows Acer Spin 5 (SP513-54N)’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 94% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Acer Spin 5 (SP513-54N) with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.

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 = 27 ms.

Health impact – PWM / Blue Light

PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Acer Spin 5 (SP513-54N)’s display backlight flickers at all brightness levels, except the maximum. Sadly, it also has a frequency of 196 Hz, which makes it especially harmful in this aspect.

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Conclusion

Acer Spin 5 (SP513-54N)’s touchscreen display has a neet 3:2 aspect ratio, IPS panel, which provides comfortable viewing angles and good contrast ratio, as well as a 94% sRGB coverage. Additionally, our Gaming and Web design profile improves the color accuracy to a level, which ultimately matches the standard. Sadly, though, it uses aggressive PWM for brightness adjustment, so you might want to consider getting our Health-Guard profile.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Acer Spin 5 (SP513-54N) configurations with 13.5″ BOE NE135FBM-N41 (BOE08BC) (FHD, 2256 × 1504) IPS panel.

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at bg.laptopmedia@gmail.com.

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount

Sound

Acer Spin 5 (SP513-54N)’s speakers produce a very good sound with clear low, mid and high tones.

Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/support-product/8338?b=1

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with.

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

CPU options

Acer Spin 5 (SP513-54N) is treated to the full Ice Lake experience, maxing out with the Intel Core i7-1065G7.

Acer Spin 5 (SP513-54N) CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the Acer Spin 5 (SP513-54N) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Acer Spin 5 (SP513-54N) model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.

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

Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)

GPU options

Since there is no dedicated graphics option with this notebook, you get it with the Intel Iris Plus Graphics G7 at best.

Acer Spin 5 (SP513-54N) GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the Acer Spin 5 (SP513-54N) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Acer Spin 5 (SP513-54N) model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.

Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Gaming tests

cs-go-benchmarks

CS:GOHD 1080p, Low (Check settings)HD 1080p, Medium (Check settings)HD 1080p, MAX (Check settings)
Average FPS98 fps62 fps35 fps

DOTA 2HD 1080p, Low (Check settings)HD 1080p, Normal (Check settings)HD 1080p, High (Check settings)
Average FPS105 fps64 fps37 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i7-1065G7 (15W TDP)0:02 – 0:10 sec0:15 – 0:30 sec10:00 – 15:00 min
Acer Spin 5 (SP513-54N)2.40 GHz (B+85%) @ 72°C2.38 GHz (B+75%) @ 86°C2.12 GHz (B+63%) @ 92°C
HP Spectre x360 13 (13-aw0000)2.93 GHz (B+125%) @ 97°C1.97 GHz (B+52%) @ 76°C1.85 GHz (B+42%) @ 76°C
HP Pavilion 15 (15-cs3000)2.94 GHz (B+126%) @ 93°C2.03 GHz (B+56%) @ 77°C1.91 GHz (B+47%) @ 67°C
Dell Inspiron 15 35932.78 GHz (B+114%) @ 97°C2.31 GHz (B+78%) @ 93°C2.04 GHz (B+57%) @ 90°C

While the clock speed during stress load is not particularly high, we saw a very good performance from this device. However, the temperature at the end was a bit too high for us with 92C on the CPU Package.

Comfort during full load

In general, the laptop is pretty quiet. Even during full load, we didn’t observe too much fan noise. And while the maximum temperature was not very high (but still a bit uncomfortable for a convertible), we measured 60C on the bottom portion of the display, where the hot air is being exhausted at. We don’t really know if this will result in any damage in the future, but we have to say that the laptop heats even more when you’re playing games.

Verdict

At the end of the day, the Spin 5 (SP513-54N) is a fresh upgrade over its predecessor. Sadly, there are some shortcomings, that come as a result of the drive for more performance, where the older unit was a bit lackluster. And yes, we are talking about heat. Since the Ice Lake processors are known for their improved graphics, we thought that gaming on the integrated GPU is not a bad idea, which ultimately wasn’t. However, this introduces a lot of heat to the system, and the cooling is barely capable of handling this.

Another disadvantage that can be turned around as a perk would be the soldered memory. Sadly, you won’t be able to upgrade your RAM once you get the laptop, but on the bright side, the LPDDR4X modules work at the whopping 3733 MHz. And also, you can still upgrade the storage via a single M.2 PCIe x4 slot.

Furthermore, the laptop comes with two Thunderbolt 3 ports and a MicroSD card reader, in addition to the rest of the goodies regarding the I/O. Also, the package supports Wi-Fi 6, and its 55.9Wh battery came out like a champ with its 17 hours and 24 minutes of Web browsing time, and 13 hours and a half of video playback.

However, nothing is more important for this laptop than its screen. Acer Spin 5 (SP513-54N)’s touchscreen display has a neet 3:2 aspect ratio, IPS panel, which provides comfortable viewing angles and good contrast ratio, as well as a 94% sRGB coverage. Additionally, our Gaming and Web design profile improves the color accuracy to a level, which ultimately matches the standard. Sadly, though, it uses aggressive PWM for brightness adjustment, so you might want to consider getting our Health-Guard profile.

So, despite the unimpressive keyboard, we feel that the laptop delivers on what it promises. In fact, it is able to stand against the HP Spectre x360 13 (13-aw0000), which is significantly more expensive in some regions, and with the baller stylus with its Wacom technology, you will feel like a pro, without owning a “Pro”-branded product.

Pros

  • Great performance and capability of light gaming
  • Very high maximum brightness
  • Covers 94% of sRGB and has accurate colors, especially with our Gaming and Web design profile installed
  • Has two Thunderbolt 3 connectors
  • Supports PCIe x4 SSDs, WiFi 6 standards
  • Light and portable
  • Has a stylus, that charges for 15 seconds and provides 90 minutes worth of work
  • Great battery life


Cons

  • Uses harmful PWM to adjust brightness at all levels (our Health-Guard profile fixes that)
  • Heats up during high loads
  • No RAM upgradability post-purchase

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-spin-5-sp513-54n/