It's been a few weeks since I finished my look at different Windows 10 systems, that culminated in buying a Lenovo Miix 510. Since then, I've been flipping between using Windows 10 on the Miix 510 and a desktop, a Mac mini, and an iPad Air 2 running iOS 11. I've added in a few days running an Acer Spin 7 to the mix and it's a great system.
Like many Windows 10 portables, the Spin 7's display is on a hinge that allows it to flip all the way around so the device can be used as either a regular notebook computer or a tablet. With a 14-inch IPS display, it's pretty big for a tablet but it weighs just 1.6kg - so it's not too heavy to use as a tablet for a short time.
The display runs at a resolution of 1920 by 1080 and is super clear. It's bright and does a great job with general productivity tasks and HD video. The touch sensitivity was perfect - I find that when I sit at a non-touch system that I keep tapping the screen expecting it to do something.
It's been a while since I've owned or used a notebook with a screen larger than 13-inches. As a frequent traveller, I've been focussed on reducing the amount of gear I carry - particularly as airlines tighten up carry-on baggage allowances. But the Spin 7 has me rethinking things a little.
One of the things Windows 10 does way better than macOS is window management. I like running two windows side-by-side by dragging them to the edges of the display. With a 14-inch display, I can position two apps, such as my text editor and a web browser adjacent to each other without things feeling cramped.
Acer has equipped the Spin 7 with an Intel RealSense camera so it supports facial recognition as part of the Windows Hello authentication system.
Performance-wise, the Spin 7 delivers in spades. The Intel Core i7-7Y75 processor is complemented with 8GB of LPDDR3 memory and a 256GB SSD. Launching apps, watching HD video, editing images and light video editing are all handled easily.
The touchpad is huge - just slightly narrower but as long as my iPhone 7 Plus. At one stage, Windows 10 decided to spontaneously disable it but otherwise it worked as expected.
Connectivity is covered by 802.11ac, Bluetooth, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a pair of USB-C connectors - if you want to connect an external display or legacy USB-A ports. I picked up a USB-C dongle from Cygnett the other day which has a USB-A, USB-C and HDMI port for about $40 which covers most other connectivity situations.
There was one thing I didn't like about the Spin 7. While the keyboard is comfortable to use, it's not backlit making it less than ideal for use in dimly lit plane cabins.
In my testing, the 2700 mAh battery delivered around seven hours of use. Acer says you can expect eight hours but that will depend on what you're doing. If you lay off the full screen HD video streaming you can expect to get through most of a work day between trips to the power outlet.
Would I recommend the Acer Spin 7?
In a word - yes as long as the lack of keyboard backlighting isn't a showstopper for you.
Acer has the Spin 7 listed at a sticker price of $1999.