One of the best Chromebook for a teen could be one of the best Chromebook for you, too.

We knew we might be seeing Chromebooks with Intel’s new Apollo Lake processors, and seeing one of many first to ship be an education-focused mannequin was an excellent shock. Chromebooks designed for the classroom have a couple of particular wants as a result of let’s face it — youngsters may be tough on the tools! The Acer Chromebook Spin 11 suits the invoice with MIL-STD 810G compliance, a novel spill-proof keyboard, and a tricky 360-degree dual-torque hinge.

What’s particular concerning the Spin 11 is that it brings excessive efficiency, Android apps, a Wacom EMR (Electro-Magnetic Resonance) stylus, and an 11.6-inch Gorilla Glass antimicrobial touchscreen. These are issues you do not anticipate finding in an education-focused Chromebook as a result of they have an inclination so as to add to the already excessive costs that we’re used to seeing for fashions constructed for the college system.

Guess what? This one continues to be solely $399. With pricing constructed for everybody in a Chromebook designed to take a beating, plus further options we did not count on, we needed to take a more in-depth have a look at the Acer Chromebook Spin 11.

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Constructed to outlive the youngsters

While you construct a Chromebook with the concept youngsters will likely be utilizing it in school and carrying it dwelling each night time, it has to have the ability to take a beating. Skinny, mild aluminum fashions may look good, however getting thrown right into a locker or sliding round on the ground of the bus would shortly flip them right into a paperweight.

The Spin 11 is constructed to take that type of abuse. It is constructed from polycarbonate each high and backside with a rubberized bumper that rings the underside shell. The bumper extends away from the physique and will likely be the very first thing that hits when the Spin 11 lands on the ground to reduce the influence.

Contained in the bumper, the Spin 11 is constructed to face up to 60 kilograms (132 kilos). The typical Okay-12 pupil might stand on it whereas it is closed and afterward you’ll be able to open the lid and go. This is a vital spec, as anybody who has a baby of their very own can let you know. Children can get tough they usually are inclined to do the unthinkable — like standing on their laptop computer.

Dimensions: 11.7-inches (width) x Eight.1-inches (depth) x zero.Eight-inches (top)
Weight: three.1 kilos
MIL-STD 810G navy commonplace rated

The Spin 11 is a convertible, and the hinges are yet one more of its rugged options. They’re metal and recessed into each sections with a pivot level. Acer calls this a 360-degree dual-torque hinge, and whereas it does not make for the smoothest of motions whenever you’re flipping the display again, they are not going to interrupt. Ever. You would need to rip the hinges away from the physique itself to break something on the pivot level. It is exhausting to be excited a couple of laptop computer hinge, however the design is ingenious and may show to be long-lasting.

One actually cool factor you will not discover on different Chromebooks is the twin digicam setup. You will discover a 720p HDR webcam above the display such as you would on every other laptop computer, however a second 1080p digicam is positioned simply north of the keyboard tray to behave as a rear-facing digicam. We’re not saying the Spin 11 is one of the best instrument to take photographs at an occasion or something, however you completely might. Keep in mind, one of the best digicam is the one you have got with you.

A Gorilla Glass and germ-proof show

The display can be constructed powerful. It is an 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 multi-touch LED-backlit IPS show, which is fairly commonplace relating to laptops of this measurement, Chromebook or not. It is clear and shiny and renders colours properly. These are all issues that the display on a $400 machine has to have the ability to do properly, and I’ve zero precise complaints. After all, a better decision would all the time be nice relating to a laptop computer show, however the enterprise finish of the Spin 11 ought to serve its objective properly for each schoolwork and leisure. It is what’s on high that stands out right here.

The show is constructed with Corning’s Gorilla Glass and has an antimicrobial layer on high the place fingers are going to be touching it. Not solely is it going to be troublesome to scratch, nevertheless it’s additionally going to maintain germs from passing themselves to classmates and academics. Once more, if in case you have a baby you have needed to remind them to clean their arms greater than as soon as. Children may be curious and fearless, which suggests fingers in locations the place they should not be. The Spin 11 cannot maintain them from sticking these fingers of their mouth or rubbing their eyes, however it could actually maintain the germs from shifting to another person’s fingers. Like yours.

A keyboard constructed for these oopsies

Normally, whenever you spill a glass of water in your laptop computer you’ll be able to ship it off to the massive recycle bin within the sky. Electronics and water do not combine, and the usual method to fight the issue has been a skinny membrane over the keyboard tray. That is an excellent concept and it really works, nevertheless it additionally impacts the keys and your typing goes to endure. There is no rubbery pores and skin right here.

There are precise drainage holes on the underside of the Spin 11. Neat!

As an alternative, the electronics have been protected and the physique of the Spin 11 has drainage holes beneath. A spilled glass of water will run via, come out of the holes and find yourself in a puddle on the desk. Sure, that may be messy (and enjoyable to check) however a puddle on the desk may be cleaned up whereas a puddle inside a laptop computer is a loss of life sentence for it. You possibly can nonetheless inform the youngsters to not set their glass of water subsequent to their laptop computer, however you will additionally know they don’t seem to be going to fry the circuit boards after they do not hear.

It is necessary to notice that this was designed for water. Issues like Kool-Support could also be principally water, however there’s an opportunity that the Spin 11 is not going to love a cup of Sharkleberry Fin ought to one get dumped on it.

Much more options

It is nice that the Spin 11 is hard, however a couple of further options make issues even higher. The Spin 11 has a few options that take it excessive relating to a rugged, schooling Chromebook.

Included within the field is a Wacom EMR stylus. With the latest variations of Chrome OS, you have acquired help for drawing and textual content entry and the Spin 11 is likely one of the few fashions designed to take benefit. It is a pretty fluid expertise; the motion on the show retains up properly with most of your penmanship, however you can also make it uneven when you get a little bit excited. The early problems with line-lagging and the pen now not working till you reboot have been labored out of Chrome with the most recent software program, and out of the field, the pen makes for an excellent expertise.

The stylus is digital however takes no batteries due to Wacom’s EMR expertise. This works by switching forwards and backwards from a power-sending mode to a mode that listens for the RF sign from the pen. This occurs many occasions per second and is quick sufficient in order that the Chromebook is aware of the place the pen is in relation to the display on a regular basis, when it is touching the display, and the way exhausting it is touching. The tip result’s an lively digital stylus that by no means wants batteries and you do not have to plug in anyplace. It really works rather well, and you’ll learn extra about EMR right here.

One other massive plus is that the Spin 11 helps Google Play and Android apps out of the field. When you’re signed in and all programs are go, you will see a welcome display that helps you get arrange and installs the Play Retailer app into your tray. this solely takes a minute or two and you will have entry to the apps you already love utilizing in your cellphone, utilizing the identical account.

After all, Chromebooks which are managed by a college administrator can have Google Play disabled via the administration console if desired.

Nice specs and ports galore

The Spin 11 is likely one of the first Chromebooks to make use of the Intel Apollo Lake household of processors. The mannequin we examined got here with a dual-core Celeron N3350 clocked at 1.1 GHz with a 2.four GHz Turbo setting, four GB of LPDDR4 SDRAM, and 32 GB of storage.

Our first take with Apollo Lake has proved to be nice.

Apollo Lake processors (formally often known as Intel Atom E3900 collection) use the 14 nm Goldmont structure and have been designed for issues that should be battery pleasant however nonetheless capable of do intense computing in bursts when wanted. Particular consideration was given to issues like video acceleration and clock cycle timing in order that the chip is able to 4K 3D graphics and media playback, or 15 simultaneous 1080p video streams ought to the necessity come up.

When you’re not into processors sufficient to maintain up with the most recent information from the far east, what it’s worthwhile to know is that the chip contained in the Spin 11 was constructed to sip energy more often than not, however be capable of ramp issues up when you want it to. In our testing, which means the Spin 11’s 4870 mAh battery lasted all day plus. Regular utilization left me with greater than 15% of the battery when it was time to shut the lid at night time, and whereas testing I used to be capable of watch simply shy of 9 hours price of 1080p YouTube movies or play 6 hours of CPU-intensive Flash video games at Kongregate. Acer lists the battery life at 10 hours they usually’re not far off the mark.

You’ll by no means know you have been utilizing a processor designed to be battery pleasant, except you checked the battery stage.

The Spin 11 can be fairly the performer, and you’ll by no means guess that you just have been utilizing a dual-core Celeron designed to be power-friendly. A workday right here means 10 or extra tabs open within the browser, Google Docs, Gmail, and Twitter open all day, together with the Slack Android app at a minimal. For me, add Play Music’s glitchy net interface open operating from the minute I open the lid to the minute I shut it. The Spin 11 dealt with all of it like a champ. College students may have no issues with their schoolwork, and neither will the academics who must oversee all of it. Meaning you’ll recognize the efficiency, too.

Final however not least in any respect is the abundance of varied ports and holes on the Spin 11. Anybody who makes use of a laptop computer full-time will let you know that connection choices are necessary, even when some firms making them do not agree. The Spin 11 is prepared so that you can plug in nearly something. Alongside the perimeters proper the place they need to be, you will discover:

Two USB-C three.1 ports (with Energy Supply so that you cost via both one)
Two full-size USB A ports
A headphone/microphone combo three.5 mm jack
MicroSD card slot
Kensington lock port

With the ability to plug a card reader into your Chromebook is nice. With the ability to do it with none kind of adapter or whereas the facility twine is plugged in is priceless.

Chrome is Chrome on each Chromebook

Chrome is likely one of the few software program merchandise from Google that’s constant it doesn’t matter what model of laptop computer you are utilizing. The exact same Chrome expertise you will have on a Samsung Chromebook Plus or an ASUS Chromebook Flip or perhaps a Google Chromebook Pixel is what you have got on the Acer Spin 11.

Chrome OS is identical on each Chromebook. We prefer it that manner.

When you’ve by no means used a Chromebook earlier than, it’s worthwhile to know that it might appear to be the pc you are used to utilizing, nevertheless it’s completely different. You possibly can’t set up apps made for Home windows or MacBooks, and far of the expertise is with the cloud and your Google account in thoughts. Chrome OS was designed from the bottom as much as be modern and quick, even on low-end machines, and is safe out of the field.

You will discover apps on the Chrome Net Retailer and Google Play, in addition to frontends for Net apps that run similar to a local software so long as you are linked to the web. Chromebooks are constructed to do the issues most individuals do on a laptop computer very properly, however when you want specialised software program for an workplace or industrial work you will most likely not be capable of apply it to a Chromebook. This makes a Chromebook glorious for college students or a enterprise who makes use of Google’s workplace software program.

There’s nothing put in particularly for the Spin 11 apart from the low-level software program required to make all of the — together with the Wacom EMR stylus and digitizer — function. It is Chrome, simply as Chrome must be, operating on with sufficient “oomph” to run it higher than most others.

Must you purchase this?

I’ve used the Spin 11 on daily basis for 2 weeks, for each work and play. There’s completely nothing that may give me pause relating to recommending it. The brand new Apollo Lake chip lives as much as my tempered expectations, which suggests all-day battery and sufficient energy to do every thing I would like a Chromebook to do. I’ve had a variety of good issues to say concerning the Spin 11, however listed below are some issues i did not like.

The display decision. Sure, I do know that the majority laptops on this measurement and this worth vary have the identical show decision. I can nonetheless want the one I’m utilizing didn’t.
There isn’t any slot for the Wacom stylus. It is the dimensions of an ink pen. What number of ink pens have you ever misplaced?
The trackpad is not glass-coated. It is fairly clean with only a trace of texture, and it is truly nicer than I believed it might be. However plastic and that very slight textured end imply this white laptop computer will get soiled. Soiled laptops nonetheless work, however a small sheet of skinny glass would make this a non-issue.
It is heavy for an 11-inch laptop computer. It wasn’t designed to be skinny and lightweight. And it isn’t.
I instructed myself I might hate the keyboard once I first tried it. I used to be flawed. I can;t heap any further reward on it, nevertheless it simply labored with out me grumbling or making any adjustment to the best way I kind. So I suppose that’s reward on some stage.
The reflective coating (probably the antimicrobial layer?) on the show makes for some terrible glare below shiny mild. You will want to regulate the angle, transfer your head or discover a new spot to sit down exterior within the solar.

A few of these are typical spoiled reviewer whining. It is exhausting to not examine every thing to the one absolute best factor. The dearth of a stylus slot could possibly be an actual problem, as might the glare exterior that wrecks an in any other case viewable show. Total, I believe the Spin 11 is a very nice Chromebook and may swimsuit nearly anybody.

Ask your self when you actually need a rugged and heavy Chromebook.

However the one factor (there’s all the time one factor) you must take into consideration is the rugged issue. It is nice that the Spin 11 can take a beating and survive, however do you want a Chromebook that may take a beating?

The Spin 11 is hands-down one of the best Chromebook I’ve ever used for a teen. Children are nice, and I simply soften round them like a giant previous softie. However additionally they have a knack for breaking every thing they contact, and the Spin 11 is ready for something besides essentially the most insane factor a baby might dream of doing to it. If you’re in search of a Chromebook for any baby younger sufficient to nonetheless be in that “break-everything” stage, that is the one to purchase.

You may want one thing lighter and thinner. In that case, the Spin 11 simply is not for you as a result of mild and skinny are the 2 issues it isn’t. By no means worry, there are many others on the market!

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