This morning I received a review unit of the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 with LTE, which I’ll be checking out over the next week or so. Most, if not all, of the reviews so far that I’ve read, don’t have the LTE functionality and are for the $399.99 model. So I’m looking forward to what convenience the integrated broadband brings and how it affects battery life. But this model isn’t $399.99. It’s currently the least expensive configuration with LTE and it costs $699.99.
I’m a bit confused by the price difference as I’m sure some of you are too. I’ve received a number of emails from readers asking if the base model includes LTE; it doesn’t. And as far as the price increase to add LTE? Well, that’s a little odd as well.
See, there are currently four Acer Chromebook Spin 513 for enterprise configurations on Acer’s website. And only two of those, priced at $699.99 and $799.99 include LTE support.
You can’t tell by looking at the high-level description of these. You have to dig into the specific configuration specs to see if LTE is there or not. I’ve provided feedback to Acer suggesting that it highlight LTE support in the description.
But the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 also has configurations available for consumer-focused buyers as well. That’s the page where you’ll see the entry-level $399.99 configuration as well a similar model for $429.99. But there’s no LTE support on those.
That’s a shame. I get that device makers have to pay a licensing fee to use Qualcomm’s modem technology and it’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c SOC inside all of these Chromebooks. There’s clearly a cost there. And, assuming there are two different Snapdragon modules — one with the integrated LTE modem and one without — there’s a hardware cost there as well.
Yet, there aren’t any “base” configurations with LTE, and those added costs, which I’d equate to be around $120 or so, based on other LTE devices.
Instead, you have to pay $300 more than the base model for that LTE modem, although it does get you double the RAM (8 GB vs 4 GB) and local storage capacity of 128 GB vs 64 GB. And that feels like a huge missed opportunity. There are plenty of folks who are fine with a basic entry-level Chromebook but want integrated LTE. I’m sure they’re willing to pay for that mobile broadband, but will they spend $699 to get it?
I’m skeptical, mainly because Samsung recently introduced the entry-level Galaxy Chromebook Go with LTE that costs just $50 more than the WiFi model. It’s priced at $349.99.
No, you don’t get 8 GB of memory or 128 GB of storage. Heck, you don’t even get the nicer 1080p touch display that the Acer model offers. However, you get the key feature that’s lacking among many Chromebook devices: LTE support.
Obviously, my review of this Acer Chromebook Spin 513 with LTE will be to judge how the device performs in a variety of use cases, the build quality, and the usefulness of that LTE radio. But I’ll also have to share thoughts on the value proposition. That’s going to be a tougher task, given that, for now at least, you can’t get an LTE model for under $699.
I hope that changes in the near future. These days, integrated LTE isn’t, or shouldn’t be, reserved for enterprise users.
5 thoughts on “Want an Acer Chromebook Spin 513 with LTE? The current minimum cost is $699”
Wouldn’t just using a phone (possibly even with 5G) as a hotspot be a better- and much cheaper- option?
❝Usefulness of that LTE radio…That’s going to be a tougher task, given that, for now at least, you can’t get an LTE model for under $699.❞
The way that I see it, that makes the task super easy. It obviously won’t be worth it just to save the six seconds of effort that it takes to pull out your smartphone and activate the Mobile Hotspot signal. Frankly, it isn’t even about convenience. LTE on a laptop is a laziness/vanity feature that a select group will demand. Those are people who can easily justify the cost of subscribing to another data line. Evidently, Acer totally gets that and is charging accordingly. (Sorry if I sound insensitive.)
Not certain how much it has to do with Qualcomm licensing as the LTE version of the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook Go is $349 while the regular version is $299. Generally LTE or 5G is only a $50-$100 upcharge. Meaning that the bulk of the difference seems to be the “enterprise features”, though there is no indicator of what they are. But the enterprise Chromebooks start at $529 for 4GB and 64 GB eMMC but the LTE version is $699 for 8 GB RAM and 128 GB NVMe SSD. Meaning that the LTE itself doesn’t cost much.
My question: why has no one come out with an LTE or 5G dongle yet? Just a 5G modem like the Exynos 5123 plus an eSIM and other software with USB-C connector. Would be about the size of a small thumb drive and cost about the same. Is there some massive reason that I am missing out on why no one has done this yet?
Considering that a HotSpot can be had for as cheap as $15 and monthly data fees of $10, it would take a lot of years to justify the minor convenience of built-in LTE for an extra $300.
I see 3 models now :p