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Circuit Breaker

Acer's Spin 7 is the Swift's sober sibling — and the laptop you'll probably prefer

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Similar design, but a more powerful processor and flexible touchscreen

Acer's Swift 7 may be grabbing headlines for its incredibly thin build, but add just a sliver of thickness to that laptop's body (a single millimeter in fact) and you get a much more versatile machine: the Acer Spin 7.

The Spin 7 is basically the Swift 7 with glory-seeking specs exchanged for power and flexibility. Quite literally, as like Lenovo's Yoga series, the Spin 7's screen rotates 360 degrees around its axis. You can fold it into a tent configuration for watching Netflix, or flip it all the way around to use the laptop as a tablet. At any rate, the hinge itself is firm, and doesn't wobble (too much) when you're tapping on the Swift's Full HD 14-inch IPS touch-screen.

the aluminum unibody is a demon for fingerprints

Like the Swift, the Spin has an aluminum unibody that feels fantastic — strong and lightweight (2.6 pounds). However, it's also a demon for attracting fingerprints (there was liberal use of Windex during the press preview at IFA), and when you fold the screen into tablet mode, there's an odd lip where the display juts out over the keyboard. This may sound like a very minor annoyance and Acer says it's to make the screen easier to fold back, but the slight edge of untidiness might annoy some.

Inside, you've got an Intel Core i7 processor, a step up on the Spin 7's i5, as well as up to 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD hard drive. Unfortunately, although the Spin is slightly thicker than the Swift (10.98 millimeters to the Swift's 9.98 mm), you still only get a pair of USB 3.1 Type-C ports and a headphone jack.

On the left side there's a power button and a neat volume rocker in just the right spot for easy access. And like the Swift, the Spin also has a extra-wide glass touchpad, which worked just fine and smooth on Windows 10 during our brief hands-on. Acer is promising up to eight hours battery life for the Spin 7 — less than the Swift, but enough to last a working day for most people.

The Spin 7 goes on sale in North America and Europe this October, with prices starting at $1,199 or €1,299. That's at least $200 more expensive than the Swift, which is arguably the more impressive device, technically speaking anyway.

However, the Spin 7 is definitely the more practical of the two machines. A laptop with record-breaking specs like the Swift 7 may grab headlines, sure, but if you're looking for actual usability you're better off with a more powerful processor, a touchscreen, and a display that's as flexible as it can be. And to get all that, you want the Spin 7.