Acer makes great products, both for work and play. Whether you are a student, graphic designer or non-life COD, there is something in their catalog for you. For example, the Chromebook Spin 311 is a handy little laptop that adds a twirl to the Chromebook formula and is a great device for work and light scattering, but not much more than that.
For starters, this machine is small. Tiny even. At even 30cm long and just under 2cm thick, this Chromebook is about the size of a tablet. It is also light, weighing just over a kilogram. It can be pro or con, depending on how you look at it.
On the one hand, you honestly have no excuse not to take with you everywhere. With its light size and weight, you could slip it into any bag and probably forget it’s even there. Heck, you could fit it in the middle pocket of an XL hoodie if you tried hard enough. It also fits any desk, table or stool you can imagine and is comfortable in your lap. The 4670mAh battery also lasted us well over 10 hours between charges, making it the perfect travel companion, even if you forget your charger.
Keyboard size can be a bit of a problem during long periods of typing, like for essays, articles, or this review. Personally, my wrists start to ache after a few hours of tilting them inward to press keys or use the trackpad, but it’s a small problem. Remember to stretch beforehand. Having said that, it’s really nice to type on it. Advantages and disadvantages.
The small chassis houses a screen that, in an ideal world, would be just as small. In reality, however, it’s an even smaller 11-inch display with a thicker bezel surrounding it. This is exacerbated by the fact that it is also an LCD display with only 1366 Ã 768 resolution. Perfectly usable, but not much more exciting than that, and certainly a step back from your standard 1920 Ã 1080 screen.
The chassis itself is not very good looking either. It’s not bad in itself. Rather strictly utilitarian. The Chromebook Spin comes equipped in gray on gray plastic, with a black backlit keyboard and a matching black bezel. Perfectly suited for the job at hand, but it won’t win any competition.
On the port side, you have everything you need. The Spin sports a pair of USB Type-A 3.1 ports and a pair of USB Type-C 3.1 on either side. You charge it up using Type-Cs, and having one on each side is more convenient than you might think at first.
While the Chromebook Spin’s screen dimensions can be a bit of a letdown, it has one trick up its sleeve that earns its name: it spins. Or, more exactly, it folds up (almost) to 360 Â° to become a pseudo-tablet, ideal for gaming, reading and streaming. It’s a cool feature we’re always happy to see, but it does raise the price of this Chromebook a bit. This Spin is around 7,000 R, while its contemporaries with similar internals are normally between R5K and R6K.
And speaking of interns, under the hood, the Spin is a little unorthodox. It packs 4 GB of RAM, an Intel Celeron processor with corresponding integrated graphics and 32 GB of storage. You read that right, 32GB of storage, and if this is your first time reading modern Chromebooks, this might intrigue you a bit. Nothing crazy is going on here, but for what it looks like, it works fine. It’s not a machine for design programs or hardcore gaming, unless the Chrome dinosaur game counts.
The (G) Suite Life
You see, the Chromebook runs on Google’s own Chrome operating system, and as such its base of operations is the Google suite. Instead of Word, you use Docs, instead of PowerPoint, you use slides, and instead of a standard hard drive or SSD, your storage is, for the most part, managed by Google Drive. This leads to several caveats. Yes, Drive is a good cloud storage system, and since it and the rest of G Suite are built into the operating system, everything flows seamlessly together. However, all of this becomes irrelevant if A) you don’t want to buy into the Google ecosystem or go beyond a simple Gmail account, and B) suddenly no longer have an internet connection.
This last point is important when you think about how often you might find yourself without reliable internet. Sure, at work you get sorted, but are you saying you want to add to your memories in the park? Or are you finishing an important presentation in the back of an Uber? Or are you in the middle of a dissertation and you are struck by an unforeseen load shedding? Unless you pack a powerful Mi-Fi generator and / or router (or have some data on reserve using your phone’s hotspot), you might be in trouble. Yes, there are ways around this problem, but you have to jump over more obstacles than it is worth.
Other than that, Google’s operating system is awesome. It’s fast, pretty to look at, and works great for laptop and tablet modes. Plus, all of Google’s apps are optimized for this, so despite the aforementioned setbacks and concessions, the actual experience of working on Chrome OS is a pleasant one. I’m not going to go into detail, as this is a laptop review, not an operating system review, but the bottom line is Windows 11 should take notes.
Acer Chromebook Spin 311 Verdict
Both in terms of specs and looks, the Chromebook Spin 311 is definitely focused on function rather than form. This is not a criticism however. Google OS does exactly what you need, and it does it right. Unlike the simple exterior, the operating system is pleasing to the eye, fast, and highly optimized for Google Suite. Pair it with an ultralight design and a battery that runs over and over again, and you’ve got a great Chromebook for work, home, and travel as long as you can go online. That said, if you don’t want to buy from the Google ecosystem, look elsewhere.