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Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (2W) vs Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (3W): Should you upgrade?

Acer Chromebook Spin 713
Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (CP713-2W)

Acer Chromebook Spin 713

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The best premium Chromebook of 2020 is still a darn good Chromebook today, and it gets sales regularly now that the new version is here. While this model "only" has the 10th Gen Intel Core i5, I actually prefer this generation of the Spin 713 because you get a USB-C port on both sides. Just don't pay 2021 prices for a 2020 Chromebook; wait for it to hit $550 or below.

Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (CP713-2W)

Same screen, lower price

Very bright 2K touchscreen
Plenty powerful
USB-C port on each side
Frequent sales
Discontinued
Don't pay list price

Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (CP713-3W)

Acer Chromebook Spin

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Acer didn't really upgrade much inside the Spin 713 (2021). It upped the processor, swapped from USB-C to Thunderbolt 4 — except there's not much to take advantage of with them — and put both of those ports on one side while keeping them just far enough apart to where Macbook-designed accessories won't fit it. The only reason to buy this one is if by some miracle it dips below the 2W's price with one of the weekly deals.

Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (CP713-3W)

Bringing the Thunder(bolt)

11th Gen Intel Core processors
Thunderbolt 4 ports
Slightly longer support life
Both TB4 ports on left side
More expensive

To be frank, I was quite surprised when Acer announced it was replacing the stellar Acer Chromebook Spin 713 with a 2021 model. After all, the Spin 713 is one of the best Chromebooks on the market — it certainly has the best screen under $1,000 — and the $629 price tag was quite reasonable for such a robust feature set and solid build quality. That said, after seeing and using both versions, I can say with 100% certainty that you do not need to upgrade.

Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (2W) vs Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (3W): More like a sidegrade

Acer Spin 713 Chromebook

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

The specs on both the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 and the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (2021) are the exact same except for three things: The processor is now an 11th Gen Intel Core i5, the USB-C ports are now Thunderbolt 4, and those ports are now both on the left side of the laptop. Everything else is exactly the same. They're each getting eight years of Chrome OS updates after their initial launch date, sport damn good screens, and are plenty powerful for you and your multi-monitor, multi-tasking needs. Just look at all the sameness in these spec sheets and let's play Spot the Difference.

CategoryAcer Chromebook Spin 713 (2W)Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (3W)
Display13.5-in IPS touchscreen
2256 x 1504 px (3:2)
450 nits, USI compatible
13.5-in IPS touchscreen
2256 x 1504 px (3:2)
450 nits, USI compatible
Processor10th Gen Intel Core i3/i5/i711th Gen Intel Core i3/i5/ i7
Memory8-16GB DDR4 SDRAM8-16GB DDR4 SDRAM
Storage64-256GB SSD64-256GB SSD
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6 • BT 5.0Wi-Fi 6 • BT 5.0
Ports2x USB-C
1x USB-A
HDMI
microSD card
3.5mm Audio jack
2x Thunderbolt 4 Type-C
1x USB-A
HDMI
microSD slot
3.5mm Audio jack
Peripheral featuresAluminum chassis
Backlit keyboard
MIL-STD 810G durability
Aluminum chassis
Backlit keyboard
MIL-STD 810H durability
Optional fingerprint sensor
AudioStereo speakersStereo Speakers with Smart Amplifier
DTS Audio
BatteryUp to 10 hoursUp to 10 hours
Dimensions11.83 x 9.25 x 0.66in11.83 x 9.25 x 0.67 inches
Weight3.02 lbs3.02 lbs
AUE DateJune 2028June 2029

Honestly, them being mostly the same makes sense. Acer had a winning formula with the Spin 713 (2W) and I wouldn't mess with it, either, but I also have to ask why the 2021 model even exists. The 10th Gen chipset is still plenty powerful, and while being able to have one of the first Thunderbolt 4 Chromebooks is a nice bragging point for Acer, it doesn't matter as much as you'd think.

Acer Chromebook Spin 713 2021 Review Thunderbolt Alignment

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

Thunderbolt 4 could theoretically solve a lot of the Chromebook docking station woes, but we don't just need the support for TB4, we need docking stations that are Works with Chromebook certified. You'd also think that this configuration of dual Thunderbolt 4 ports on the left side of the laptop would allow it to use Macbook-designed multi-monitor docks and hubs, but nope, the ports are just far enough apart that they don't actually fit.

This means both the ports are on one side for no reason, rather than doing what every other premium Chromebook does — and most budget Chromebooks, too — and putting one port on each side for easy access. It seems poorly thought-out, and it's part of why even if you don't have the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (2W) already, I'd tell you to get last year's version. It's a more complete thought overall and does a great job without breaking $700 the way the Spin 713 (3W) does.

Even before the 3W's release, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (2W) was prone to sales that would drop it down to $529, and now that the 3W is on sale, those deals are getting more and more frequent. Considering these laptops are 85% the same, save $100 or more and grab the 2020 model on sale. You'll be perfectly happy and it'll last you for years and years to come.

If the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (3W) gets a discount that pulls it down to $600 or below, then and only then would it make sense to buy it over the Spin 713 (2W).

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.