When we reviewed it in August 2020, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 shot to the top of our Chromebook rankings for its peppy performance, plentiful ports, sleek and sturdy construction, and 13.5-inch touch screen with eye-pleasing 3:2 aspect ratio. The newly refreshed Spin 713 is pricier at $699.99—that's $70 more than before, though it brings an 11th instead of 10th Generation Intel Core i5 CPU and a 256GB instead of 128GB solid-state drive—but it's still a charming convertible that easily earns an Editors' Choice award among premium Chromebooks.
This year's Chromebook Spin 713 (model CP713-3W-5102) has the same Steel Gray aluminum chassis that's passed the same MIL-STD 810H tests for shock and vibration as its predecessor; there's hardly any flex if you grasp the screen corners or press the keyboard deck. At 0.67 by 11.8 by 9.3 inches, it's deeper than the 13.3-inch Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 Chromebook (0.67 by 12.2 by 8.4 inches), but at 3.2 pounds it misses the cutoff to qualify as an ultraportable—the 14-inch Asus Chromebook CX9, for one, is noticeably trimmer at 2.31 pounds.Our Experts Have Tested 131 Products in the Laptops Category in the Past YearSince 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions. (See how we test.)(Photo: Molly Flores)
The Acer carries a quad-core, 2.4GHz Core i5-1135G7 processor with Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, along with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB NVMe solid-state drive. It meets Intel Evo standards for connectivity and swift startup, and is one of the few Chromebooks to support Thunderbolt 4—the two USB Type-C ports on the left flank (either of which accommodates the compact AC adapter) follow the latest Thunderbolt spec.
Something else on the left edge that's rare among Chromebooks is an HDMI video output, so you needn't fuss with a USB-C adapter to use an external monitor. There's an audio jack next to it. The right side holds a USB 3.2 Type-A port and a microSD card slot, as well as the power button and a volume rocker for use in tablet mode.4.0Excellent$459.99See Itat AmazonRead Our Acer Chromebook Spin 514 Review 4.0Excellent$280.00See Itat AmazonRead Our Lenovo Chromebook Duet Review 4.0Excellent$499.00See Itat Best BuyRead Our Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook Review 4.0Excellent$447.59See Itat AmazonRead Our HP Chromebook x2 (2021) Review 4.0Excellent$339.00See Itat Dell TechnologiesRead Our Dell Chromebook 11 (3100) Review 3.5Good$205.99See It at AmazonRead Our Acer Chromebook 317 Review 4.0Excellent$489.00See Itat AmazonRead Our Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook Review 4.0Excellent$749.99See Itat AsusRead Our Asus Chromebook CX9 Review4.0Excellent$279.00See Itat AmazonRead Our Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 Review 4.0Excellent$429.99See Itat AmazonRead Our Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 Chromebook (2021) Review(Photo: Molly Flores)(Photo: Molly Flores)
Against all those features, the Spin 713 lacks a few frills seen on some high-end Chromebooks. There's no fingerprint reader (or face-recognition webcam, though we haven't seen the latter on any Chromebook to date). The webcam has no privacy shutter. The keyboard follows the standard Chrome OS layout, meaning you'll have to pair the menu and Alt keys with the cursor arrows in the absence of real Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys.
Acer calls the squarish 3:2 aspect ratio panel a VertiView display because it shows more webpage or word processing content or spreadsheet rows without scrolling. Its native resolution is 2,256 by 1,504 pixels, which makes text and screen elements tiny albeit sharp enough to be legible; as with most Chromebooks, the Settings/Device tab offers a choice of faux or "looks like" resolutions (the default is 1,410 by 940 pixels) so you can find a size that suits your eyes.(Photo: Molly Flores)
Brightness is ample, though I was never tempted to turn it down from the maximum, and contrast is fine. Viewing angles are broad and white backgrounds are pristine, not dingy. Colors are rich and vivid both for still images and YouTube videos. Two hinges hold the screen with minimal wobble when tapped in laptop mode, and make it easy to fold back into tent or tablet mode. The convertible kept up with my swiping, swooping fingertip in Chrome Canvas, but my fingertip was all I had to work with—no stylus is provided.
The webcam has the usual scanty 720p resolution and captures soft-focus images with lots of static; it's downright poor in low-light conditions. Bottom-mounted speakers produce reasonably loud but somewhat hollow or tinny sound. Still, there's more bass than I expected, and you can make out overlapping tracks.(Photo: Molly Flores)
The keyboard is brightly backlit and has a comfortably snappy, if shallow, typing feel. The square, buttonless touchpad is nicely sized and glides and taps smoothly, requiring a light pressure for a quiet click. As with all Chromebooks, a two-finger tap equals a right click.
The Spin 713 does come with software that some may equate with the unwanted bloatware common on Windows PCs, but others may find useful. The Explore menu icon includes a variety of extras, led by one year of 100GB Google One cloud storage and YouTube Premium, SoundCloud Go+, Clipchamp, and DocuSign trial offers.
Besides the Asus Chromebook CX9 and the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 Chromebook, we compared the 13.5-inch Acer's benchmark results with those of two 13.3-inch systems that combine deluxe displays—QLED for the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2, and OLED for the detachable Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook—with low-octane processors (an Intel Celeron and a Qualcomm Snapdragon, respectively). You can see their basic specs in the table below.
We test Chromebooks with three overall performance benchmark suites—one Chrome OS, one Android, and one online. The first, Principled Technologies' CrXPRT 2, measures how quickly a system performs everyday tasks in six workloads such as applying photo effects, graphing a stock portfolio, analyzing DNA sequences, and generating 3D shapes using WebGL.
The Acer slugged it out with the Asus for benchmark supremacy, not surprising since they have the same CPU, while the Core i3 Lenovo Flex 5 did a fine job of keeping up with the Core i5 systems. All are superb Google Workspace productivity partners. The Celeron-powered Samsung was a backmarker.
Two other Android benchmarks focus on the CPU and GPU respectively. Primate Labs' Geekbench uses all available cores and threads to simulate real-world applications ranging from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine learning, while GFXBench 5.0 stress-tests both low-level routines like texturing and high-level, game-like image rendering that exercises graphics and compute shaders. Geekbench delivers a numeric score, while GFXBench counts frames per second (fps).
Finally, to test a Chromebook's battery, we loop a 720p video file with screen brightness set at 50%, volume at 100%, and Wi-Fi and keyboard backlighting disabled until the system quits. Sometimes we must play the video from an external SSD plugged into a USB port, but the Acer had more than enough internal storage to hold the file.
The Spin 713 narrowly won the Geekbench processor contest. And while we've never seen a Chromebook we'd describe as a gaming laptop (though we suppose its Thunderbolt 4 support means you could theoretically connect the Acer to an external GPU, if driver support for that existed), it should suffice for the occasional Android game based on its class-leading GFXBench score. The IdeaPad Flex 5 dominated our battery rundown, but the Acer will get you through a day's work or school plus a Netflix movie.
We considered cutting the Chromebook Spin 713's rating from its previous 4.5 to 4 stars because of its $70 price increase and slight heft, but decided its enhanced performance, doubled solid-state storage, and Thunderbolt 4 support merit keeping the half star.(Photo: Molly Flores)
So does its status as a nearly flawless Chromebook choice—except for being a smidge heavy, it's a first-class convertible for productivity, creativity, and media enjoyment, with a 3:2-aspect-ratio display that'll spoil you for old-school 16:9 panels. The Acer isn't cheap, but Chromebooks don't come any better than this.4.5Editors' ChoiceSee It$422.00 at AmazonMSRP $699.99View More
It's pricey for a Chromebook, but Acer's Chromebook Spin 713 remains a world-class alternative to Windows convertibles.
Sign up for Lab Report to get the latest reviews and top product advice delivered right to your inbox.Email
Your subscription has been confirmed. Keep an eye on your inbox!