When looking to buy a budget Chromebook you may think you have to make some compromises along the way. That’s always going to be true to some extent, but if you do your homework you can get everything you need at a decent price. Recently, I took a look at Chromebooks currently available for under £200. The same devices are available in the USA and are roughly the same price.
Although these Chromebooks offer great value for money they all had something missing. None of them was Hybrid and none of them offered good display panels. So this got me wondering about how much you need to spend to get a decent budget Chromebook. Then I came across the Acer Spin 311 and immediately realised this is the perfect all-rounder if you’re looking for a budget 11.6-inch Chromebook.
It’s one of the newest Chromebooks released from Acer, which means you’ll be getting Chrome OS updates until 2028. It looks fantastic and it’s capable of most of what Chrome OS offers in 2021. This is really important, as there are too many budget devices that are not capable of making the most of Chrome OS. Well, thanks to the Acer 311 Spin. That’s all changed.
The Acer Spin 311 looks the part. Gone are the days where cheap Chromebooks looked cheap. This is great for anyone who likes to own a laptop that looks good. Important for many people, especially if you’re intending on using it on the move. If you’re looking for a laptop to use on the move then the Acer Spin 311 is a perfect choice. This is because it’s slightly smaller than an A4 piece of paper and weighs in at just 1.05kg/2.31lbs. Making it perfect for education and just about anyone who wants a lightweight hardly noticeable laptop to take around with them.
It’s a Hybrid Chromebook, which means you can use it as a laptop or a tablet. Although I don’t think a Hybrid is 100% necessary to make the most of Chrome OS. Having a touchscreen definitely is, so the Hybrid design with a touchscreen display is good to see. This means you can make the most out of Android Apps, which is not possible with a Chromebook without a touchscreen. Don’t get me wrong you can use Android Apps without a touchscreen, but it’s not the best.
THE CHROMEBOOKS PERFORMANCE
All budget Chromebooks will come with a budget processor. This isn’t something you need to worry about too much. The reason I say this is because Chrome OS is an incredibly lightweight operating system. This means you don’t need a lot of power to do most tasks Chrome OS is capable of. The Acer Spin 311 uses a MediaTek octa-core processor and has a processing speed of 2 GHz.
In reality, what this means is this Chromebook is perfect if you’re looking for a laptop to surf the internet, use social media, stream movies, use Android Apps and productivity software such as a word processor or a spreadsheet program. Everything I’ve just mentioned covers what most people need a laptop for. If this is what you spend most of your time doing. Then the performance from the processor will be absolutely fine.
It comes with 4 GB of RAM, which is more than enough for a Chromebook. Even in 2021 4 GB of RAM is enough to do most tasks without any issues. This is what’s great about Chrome OS. It can perform perfectly well without having to spend a fortune on top specs. If you’re unsure how much RAM you need, have a read of how much RAM you need for a Chromebook in 2021.
|MediaTek||MT8183 2 GHz||4 GB|
THE CHROMEBOOKS STORAGE
Having enough storage for your Chromebook is important if you’re considering installing Android Apps. This is because they use your local storage. The great thing about the Chromebook is that you can store all your other files in the cloud. Find out more about cloud computing and why it offers many benefits for your Chromebook. If you get into the habit of storing all your files in the cloud. You can use all the storage space leftover to install your favourite Android Apps.
Most of the retailers I’ve checked sell the Acer Spin 311 with 32 GB of storage. However, the Acer website states a 64 GB model is available. The 32 GB of storage that appears the standard model is enough for installing your favourite apps. However, don’t expect to install hundreds of apps without running out of storage space. If you do intend on installing a huge amount of apps, then you may want to see if you can find the model with 64 GB.
|Acer Spin 311||32 GB / 64 GB|
If you’ve ever read any of my blog posts you’ll know I’ve got a thing about decent laptop displays. I’m a strong believer that the display is really important. The great news is the Acer Spin 311 will not let you down when it comes to display quality. You’ll find a lot of the bigger websites may state the 311 is let down by only offering standard definition. I see this all the time and it’s a rather odd way to review a budget Chromebook with an 11.6-inch display.
I would never expect to see a Chromebook with an 11.6-inch display offering Full HD at these prices. Offering Full HD on an 11.6-inch display is possible, but you’d be paying a lot more for it. Also, a laptop offering standard definition on a display of 11.6-inch is not going to be a major issue. It would be different if the display was 14-inches. However, the standard definition on a budget laptop with an 11.6-inch display is perfectly acceptable.
What makes the Acer Spin 311 stand out when it comes to budget Chromebooks is the display panel. Firstly, it’s great to see it’s a touchscreen, which will make interacting with Android Apps perfect. Secondly, the IPS panel used is really good to see. An IPS panel gives you much better viewing angles, which means what is displayed on the screen is not poor quality when viewing from an angle. It also provides a much better colour reproduction, which provides a much richer experience when viewing images and videos.
|Display Size||Resolution||Panel Type||Touchscreen|
|11.6-inch||1,366 by 768||IPS||Yes|
When it comes to connectivity the Acer Spin 311 offers both the older USB A port and the newer USB Type-C port. This is great to see because it means you don’t need to worry about older peripherals not being compatible. It also means newer hardware, which only supports Type-C can also be used. Although USB Type-C is a much better USB connection. It’s still good to see the older type ports are available because a lot of people still use hardware such as a mouse, keyboard or HDD that needs a type A connection.
You’ll not find a Micro SD slot, which means you’ll not be able to add further storage at a later date using an SD card. You’ll still be able to add further storage using USB, but it would have been nice to be given the option. That being said, you can’t install Android Apps on external storage. Providing you store all your other files in the cloud. This should not be too much of an issue.
|Micro SD slot||No|
SHOULD YOU BUY THIS CHROMEBOOK
If you’re looking for a Chromebook that doesn’t cost too much but offers decent specs for the price. Then I don’t think you’ll go wrong with the Acer Spin 311. The display offers much better technology than a lot of other Chromebooks in this price range. This alone is a good reason to consider this laptop.
It’s a perfect choice if you need to use a laptop on the move. Being slightly smaller than an A4 piece of paper and being so lightweight means you’ll hardly notice it in your bag. Making it perfect for educational use, but still being a laptop that can offer hours of fun. The Hybrid design and touchscreen display allow you to have hours of fun using Android Apps.
If you want more from your Chromebook when it comes to performance, and you are considering using Linux Apps. Then you’ll possibly want to take a look at higher-spec models. There are plenty available and you may find one you like in my Top Ten Chromebooks in 2020 list. If you want a laptop to surf the web, use social media and Android Apps. Then you’ll not go wrong with the Acer Spin 311 Chromebook.
Where to buy
Below is a list of some of the retailers who sell Chromebooks:
Chromebook retailers (UK)
Chromebook retailers (USA)
Chromebook retailers (Canada)
Chromebook retailers (Australia)