Review: Acer Spin 11 Chromebook
Updated: Jun 1, 2020
Everything about the Acer Spin 11 is built for education!
Boasting a ruggedised exterior, full rotating hinges, touch and stylus capability coupled with dual cameras (front and world facing), this machine is ready to transform learning. It’s the Acer Spin 11.
As soon as you open the Acer Spin 11 lid, you notice that it’s a quality machine. The lid continues to open as it’s on a rotating hinge (very sturdy); immediately changing how students interact with the Chromebook.
The Spin 11 boasts different modes of use, clamshell (traditional laptop), tent mode (great for presenting to peers, teachers and parents on a table), flat lay and tablet mode. It’s versatility appeals to all learners and suddenly you realise that the Spin 11 is actually a Chromebook 2 in 1 machine (half laptop, half tablet).
The 11 inch screen is Gorilla Glass #toughmudder and is made by Wacom (specialists in graphics tablets). The screen is sensitive and responsive to the stylus and touch; good enough to meet our expectations for the classroom. The inclusion of the stylus is a game changer for education and I am expecting we will see more and more Chromebooks being sold with styluses. Suddenly it means students can now draw, write, record and annotate their understandings (as an image/screen recording).
The keyboard experience was second to none with well spaced keys and a quality build. The trackpad is okay however it could be improved in the future. The trackpad was not as responsive as I would have liked. Minor drawback. I found myself having to repeat the same actions to navigate around and sometimes completing some forced clicks.
The unit has 2 cameras (front and world facing) which you can easily toggle between. The idea of having 2 cameras on a Chromebook is brilliant. This would allow students to take photos of their work instantly without having to get an iPad and without having to rely on the front facing camera #awkward. This does sounds good however the world facing camera on the Spin 11 produced low quality pictures similar to images taken on the first Nokia camera phones (see photo samples here).
The Google Play store is available on the Acer Spin 11 which means a plethora of apps for students to use to support or extend learning. Learning, gaming and productivity apps along with the touch and stylus makes this a beast of a device to use. Even with game play, drawing, listening to music and multi-tasking the Chromebook held up nicely. The battery life on the Acer Spin 11 lasted 1.5 days with teacher use – emails, calendar and working on documents. After a quick charge, I was able to resume work. It can easily handle a students daily workflow of surfing the internet, looking for images, GIFS and memes, a couple of sneaky retro games, using apps, creating slides and documents and checking email.
Notes to Acer – Improvements for next time include better camera, trackpad, HMDI port for display and a garage for the stylus.
The final question that needs answering is, would I buy a fleet of Acer Spin 11 Chromebooks for my school?
Marnie Power, ICT Teacher, St Gabriel’s Reservoir
“I chose the Acer Chromebook Spin 11, purely for the additional camera allowing the screen to be bent back and used in a similar fashion to an iPad.”
“We especially loved that the Spin came with a stylus for even more precision on our computer art.”
“I do however miss the HDMI outlet and have had to get an adapter for it to plug into my Promethean interactive whiteboard.”
Anton Student, St Anthony’s Alphington
“The Acer Spin 11 has an advantage compared to other Chromebooks on the market with two cameras. One on the keyboard and one on the screen.”
“The Chromebook lasted me a full day on a single charge at school with me on the Chromebook for most of the school day.”
Thanks to Learning With Technologies for providing the unit for review, check out their great products and service: