Acer seemed to have fallen back on convertible laptops for a while. However, after their pretty successful Spin 5 update, we were looking forward to the alleged Spin 3. And now we have it in our office. Indeed, it is a sleek device, which is very reminiscent of the older Spin 5 (SP513-52) unit.

Albeit it looks similar, it uses Ice Lake processors, which are now a bit dated, but still rather capable. Additionally, the laptop sports premium materials, a 1080p IPS panel, and a stylus that docks inside of the chassis. It’s worth noting that the screen and the Pen communicated via Wacom drivers, which may be more than just a marketing trick.

So, let’s check the laptop, test it, and figure out if it’s appropriate for the professional use of artists, designers and why not architects to some extent.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-spin-3-sp314-54n/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Acer Spin 3 (SP314-54N) – Specs


OS


Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro


Battery


48Wh, 3-cell, 3320 mAh, 4-cell


Dimensions


325 x 230 x 16.9 mm (12.80″ x 9.06″ x 0.67″)

Ports and connectivity

  • 1x USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3
  • 2x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • HDMI
  • Card reader MicroSD
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Audio jack 3.5 mm combo

Features

  • Fingerprint reader optional
  • Web camera HD
  • Backlit keyboard optional
  • Speakers 2x
  • Optical drive


Keyboard / Dock(Convertible)

What’s in the box?

Inside the package, we found a 65W power brick, some paper manuals, and …that’s pretty much it.

Design and construction

Although it is technically inferior to the Spin 5 series, the Spin 3 (SP314-54N), is no joke. It is made out of aluminum and gives a premium cool feel. Its profile is 16.9mm thick, while the weight stands at 1.50kg, which is decent for a 14-inch convertible.

Interestingly, the lid opens with a single hand – something not very common for a 2-in-1. And when the device gets in “tablet” mode, a couple of magnets make the lid stick to the back, making it extremely stable and non-shaky. The only downside when it comes to the stylus is that you need to lift the laptop to take it out of its spot. What is good, though, is that the laptop charges the stylus and for only 15 seconds of charging, you get 90 minutes of use.

Looking at the display, itself, we see huge bezels on the top and bottom, which brings us all the way back to 2018. At least the former is put to good use, by housing the HD camera setup. Also, the display is covered by a glass layer.

Next up – the base. There we found the speaker grill and the backlit keyboard. It has a relatively short travel and somewhat clicky travel, resulting in a decent typing experience. As for the touchpad, it is not the most accurate, or smooth one out there, but it does the job. Unfortunately, its clicking mechanism is too resistive and needs a lot of force to press. By the way, the Acer Spin 3 (SP314-54N) comes with an optional fingerprint reader, embedded into the touchpad. Keep in mind that it disables the top left portion of the unit.

As usual, the cool air is drawn from the bottom panel and is exhausted from the back, some of which is fired towards the display.

Ports

On the left side, there’s the charging plug, a Thunderbolt 3 connector, an HDMI connector, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, and a MicroSD card reader. Then, on the right, you’ll see a wedge lock, followed by an Audio jack, another USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, the Power button, and the stylus tray.

Disassembly, upgrade options, and maintenance

In order to take this laptop apart, you need to undo 11 Phillips-head screws. After that, remove the stylus from its chassis, and pry the bottom panel with a plastic tool.

First, let’s check out the cooling. It features a heat pipe, a heat spreader, and a fan with medium size – pretty standard.

Sadly, but unsurprisingly, the memory is soldered to the motherboard. The maximum you can get is 16GB of DDR4 RAM. On the other side, this is another laptop that features two M.2 NVMe drive slots. This trend is becoming more popular, which can only come as redemption to the users.

To power the laptop when it’s not plugged into the wall, Acer has put a 50Wh battery pack.

Display quality

Acer Spin 3 (SP314-54N) is equipped with a Full HD IPS display – BOE NV140FHM-N48 (BOE081D). Its diagonal size is 14.0 inches (35.56 cm). The screen ratio is 16:9 and the resolution is 1920 x 1080p which translates into a pixel density of 157 PPI. The pixel pitch is – 0.161 х 0.161 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from further than 22 inches (55 cm). From this distance, the individual pixels become indistinguishable from the average human eye.

Viewing angles are comfortable. We offer images to evaluate quality.

The maximum measured brightness is 282 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 271 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of just 12%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6700K (average) – a little colder than the optimal 6500K for sRGB.

In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. In other words the leakage of light from the light source. The illustration below shows how matters are for operational brightness levels (approximately 140 nits) – in this particular case at 59% Brightness (White level = 142 cd/m2, Black level = 0.11 cd/m2).

Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is good – 1330:1.

Color reproduction

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows Acer Spin 3 (SP314-54N)’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers just 51% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Acer Spin 3 (SP314-54N) with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 37 ms – the panel is pretty slow.

PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Sadly, Acer Spin 3 (SP314-54N)’s screen is PWM-adjusted throughout all brightness levels. In addition to that, the flickerings are with a pretty low frequency, which is quite a disadvantage.

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Conclusion

Acer Spin 3 (SP314-54N)’s IPS touchscreen panel has a Full HD resolution, a good contrast ratio, comfortable viewing angles, adequate default settings, and uses Wacom drivers for the stylus interaction. Sadly, it only covers half of the colors on the Web, which prevents it from being a truly professional machine. Moreover, it uses aggressive PWM for brightness adjustment. This, however, is fixed by our Health-Guard profile.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Acer Spin 3 (SP314-54N) configurations with 14.0″ BOE NV140FHM-N48 (BOE081D) (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS.

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia’s products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work - screen profile

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming - screen profile

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard - screen profile

Health-Guard

THealth-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

All

Sound

Acer Spin 3 (SP314-54N)’s speakers produce a relatively good sound. However, its low, mid, and high tones have some deviations from clarity.

Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be downloaded from here: https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/support-product/8239?b=1

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. This device’s 50Wh battery pack lasts for 11 hours and 49 minutes of Web browsing, and 10 hours of video playback.

CPU options

This unit is equipped with Ice Lake processors, including the Core i3-1005G1, Core i5-1035G1, Core i5-1035G4, and the Core i7-1065G7.


Acer Spin 3 (SP314-54N) CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the Acer Spin 3 (SP314-54N) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Acer Spin 3 (SP314-54N) model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.


GPU options

Respectively, the integrated graphics solutions are the UHD Graphics G1, the Iris Plus Graphics G4, and the Iris Plus Graphics G7.


Acer Spin 3 (SP314-54N) GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the Acer Spin 3 (SP314-54N) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Acer Spin 3 (SP314-54N) model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.


Gaming tests

cs-go-benchmarks

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i5-1035G1 (15W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Acer Spin 3 (SP314-54N) 2.21 GHz (B+121%) @ 73°C 2.16 GHz (B+116%) @ 86°C 1.77 GHz (B+77%) @ 80°C
ASUS VivoBook 15 F515 2.88 GHz (B+188%) @ 91°C 1.63 GHz (B+63%) @ 72°C 1.68 GHz (B+68%) @ 70°C
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 1.90 GHz (B+90%) @ 77°C 1.89 GHz (B+89%) @ 89°C 1.49 GHz (B+49%) @ 72°C
Dell Vostro 15 5501 2.37 GHz (B+137%) @ 99°C 2.12 GHz (B+112%) @ 99°C 1.65 GHz (B+65%) @ 78°C
Dell Inspiron 15 5501 2.47 GHz (B+147%) @ 99°C 2.17 GHz (B+117%) @ 99°C 1.62 GHz (B+62%) @ 74°C
ASUS ZenBook 13 UX325 2.35 GHz (B+135%) @ 97°C 1.98 GHz (B+98%) @ 97°C 1.37 GHz (B+37%) @ 68°C
Lenovo Ideapad 5 (15) 2.46 GHz (B+146%) @ 84°C 1.95 GHz (B+95%) @ 76°C 2.06 GHz (B+106%) @ 74°C
Dell Vostro 15 3591 2.09 GHz (B+109%) @ 75°C 2.09 GHz (B+109%) @ 84°C 1.77 GHz (B+77%) @ 85°C
Acer Aspire 5 (A515-55) 1.98 GHz (B+98%) @ 79°C 1.68 GHz (B+68%) @ 79°C 1.52 GHz (B+52%) @ 79°C
Dell Inspiron 5593 2.53 GHz (B+153%) @ 99°C 2.14 GHz (B+114%) @ 94°C 1.88 GHz (B+88%) @ 87°C

The temperature of the Spin 3 (SP314-54N) is pretty balanced, considering the clock speed it was running.

Comfort during full load

Thankfully, the laptop is both cold and quiet even under an extreme workload.

Verdict

Although the Spin 3 (SP314-54N) is a decent convertible, we were left with a sour taste in our mouths. Yes, the quality of the build is good, it has an included stylus, the battery life is on point, but the display is just not what it should be. After all, this is an artist-aimed product to some extent.

It’s IPS touchscreen panel has a Full HD resolution, good contrast ratio, comfortable viewing angles, adequate default settings, and uses Wacom drivers for the stylus interaction. Sadly, it only covers half of the colors on the Web, which prevents it from being a truly professional machine. Interestingly, Acer is boasting an image of a girl holding a color palette on their website (perhaps she’s also complaining about the poor color accuracy of the product). Moreover, it uses aggressive PWM for brightness adjustment. This, however, is fixed by our Health-Guard profile.

It is also unfortunate that you won’t be able to upgrade the memory. On the other hand, two M.2 NVMe slots seem like a viable option for the future. And I/O is very good. You even get to have a Thunderbolt 3 connector, and a MicroSD card reader, besides all of the goodies.

Not in the last place, there is an integrated stylus. It works like a charm, and the magnets that hold the laptop in tablet mode result in a very stable work. Our only complaint would be the way you access the stylus – you need to lift the laptop if it is in conventional mode or open it up if it’s in tablet mode.

Sadly, we won’t be able to recommend this machine, unless you find it with a more capable panel. Not only that we weren’t satisfied with the color reproduction, but its aggressive PWM usage makes it uncomfortable for long periods of use.

Pros

  • Thunderbolt 3 and MicroSD card reader on board
  • Included stylus
  • Decent battery life
  • Its Full HD IPS panel has comfortable viewing angles and a good contrast ratio (BOE NV140FHM-N48)
  • Good aluminum build
  • 2x M.2 NVMe slots

Cons

  • Memory is soldered to the motherboard
  • Covers only 51% of sRGB (BOE NV140FHM-N48)
  • Uses aggressive PWM for brightness adjustment (our Health-Guard profile fixes that) (BOE NV140FHM-N48)

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/acer-spin-3-sp314-54n/





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