Acer Spin 5

Cool factor 4/5
Usability 5/5
Value for money 5/5

Acer’s Spin series of laptops are named for their "transformer" nature. In this case, the top-range laptops have a hinge that lets you position its touch-capable screen on the outside so you can use the laptop in tablet form.

With a cross-hatch-style brushed gunmetal grey finish, silver-colour hinges and full-sized keyboard, the Spin 5 looks contemporary and cool. Overall, it is an attractive, slim, metal-clad laptop — real metal — that feels solid and well-built.

That metal does add some bulk — the Spin 5 weighs 1.6kg. That’s midrange for a laptop, and quite heavy for a tablet if you’re going to use it in that mode. The hinges have good tension, though, so it holds form well in "tent" mode — standing up with the screen on the outside.

Acer has included a stylus in the box for precision touch, or you can just use your finger.

The screen makes a great first impression, bright and clear with 1920 x 1080p resolution, but you do lose a fair amount of screen real estate to a thick bezel.

When put to the test, it started up quickly and handled basic tasks efficiently – including opening up tons of browser tabs. It’s not designed for gaming, though a low-demand game will run fine.

Backing this up is Intel’s latest, eighth-generation processor (i5 chip as standard, with an i7 upgrade option), a 256GB solid state drive, and 8GB RAM. The brochure promises "up to 12 hours" battery life, but realistically you can expect a full working day from the machine.

Finally, it has a decent built-in 720p webcam and microphone, great speakers and — a nice bonus — a fingerprint scanner incorporated into the touchpad.

The Spin 5 is a capable workhorse, with more than a few extras packed in. It isn’t top of the range, but neither is the price at about R13,000 and up — making it good value for money in my book.