Thursday, May 11, 2017

Acer Spin 3 Convertible Laptop

Back in January I finally upgraded my laptop - which I primarily use for work purposes. I'd had my previous one since 2012/2013 and it needed an upgrade for a few reasons. 1. It had a solid-state drive in it - a small one and I was rapidly running out of room, even with keeping no music, photos or even many games on it. 2. Installing that solid-state made the computer a bit less reliable. I got semi-frequent blue-screens from day one. 3. There didn't seem to be a way to make a cloned-hard-disk back-up with the solid-state.

So, in January, I finally took the plunge and upgraded. I stayed with Acer for my brand - I've used Acer laptops for my last three laptops. After some debate - limited by what the stores had in stock at the time, I went with the Acer Spin 3. Now that I've had a couple of months to settle in with it I'm absolutely loving it.

I'm going to start with the features I've used the most. 
  1.  The touch-screen. This is the first proper computer I've had with a touch-screen (There were a few amusing moments with my last laptop where after using my iPad for too long, I'd reach out and try to scroll via the screen). It's not something I use most of the time, but I love it for when I'm using the Spin 3 away from my desk. For me, it works better than the touch-pad (Not a complaint about the specific touch-pad here at all! Every laptop I've had in the last ten years or so, I've found that I brush the touch-pad when I'm typing, leading to some rather amusing/frustrating situations) which I leave turned off most of the time. It's easy enough to select text for copying/pasting using the screen, once you've done it a few times.
  2. The back-lit keyboard. Again, I've not had one of these before, but my husband has. This turned into a must-have very quickly. Under most circumstances, it's a bit of a gimmick-type of thing, but in situations with less-than-ideal lighting, it's wonderful. I am a freelancer these days and as a result, I've found myself working in some fairly "interesting" locations, including evenings in the campgrounds. That's where I believe that the lit keyboard is going to be truly wonderful.
  3. Battery life. This one I've not fully tested to the limit. I know the literature claims up to 10 hours. I've certainly had no problems with 4-5 hours on battery so far, and there's been plenty left. That, though has not been tested under more than light-use circumstances: wi-fi turned off screen brightness turned as far down as possible etc, and only running those programs I truly need, such as Acrobat Reader and my indexing software. Certainly no videos or music running. Battery life has been one of the top considerations in my purchasing selection this time around.
  4. This one may not matter to most people, but the Acer laptops have stuck to the old configuration of having the F-keys as primary, with the other functions (using the Fn key) as secondary. As I said, it may not matter for most people, but the software I used most frequently uses those keys for common shortcuts within the program. I've taught myself to use a number of key combos. I didn't want to have to train myself to add the Fn key to those shortcuts!
I haven't tried using this computer fully spun around in tablet mode as of yet, though I probably will sooner or later - perhaps if I ever load Netflix on it.

One thing I still find myself trying to get used to a bit is that the ports are all in very different places than they were on any of my other laptops: Two of the three USB ports are on the left side, rather than the right, and the power and HDMI cables are on the right-hand side instead. Seeing as my second screen is situated on the left, that gets interesting on occasion.

My Acer Spin 3 also has no internal DVD drive - a first for me, but that's been easily remedied with the purchase of an external drive. However, I have to admit to only having used it a few times - mostly to install some older programs. Though the temptation is there to replace it with a Blu-ray capable external drive to make it easier to watch my favorite shows...

It's definitely a very light computer! The lightest laptop I've owned to date, which is another big plus, especially when it comes to travel.

I didn't go for a solid-state drive this time, but despite the fact that it's made the computer a hair slower, I'm not missing it. I like having that terrabyte of drive space! I really like not having to think twice about whether or not to install a program (games especially are space-hogs) or think about having enough space for my photos.

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