Acer Chromebook 514 Assessment: A Chrome OS Workhorse

Chromebooks are sometimes the pack mules of the laptop computer world. They’re not meant to be flashy or to impress with a gaudy set of options. Chrome OS is targeted on offering rock-solid reliability and safety for a minimal worth. Acer’s new Chromebook 514 displays that perspective living proof.

Acer despatched us the high-end model of its up to date 14-inch Chromebook, outfitted with a Pentium N4200, 8GB of RAM, and 64GB of eMMC storage. The configuration retails for $500, which is taken into account price range territory for Home windows machines however defines the Chromebook “midrange.”

Does Acer’s new Chromebook 514 achieve getting the job executed? It’s not precisely low cost, and so does it earn its place subsequent to equally priced machines that may carry a load?

A pedestrian design that ought to stand as much as some abuse

The Chromebook 514 seems to be lots like… effectively, a contemporary clamshell laptop computer. That’s, it sports activities a silver all-aluminum chassis with a lid that opens huge sufficient for productive laptop computer use however doesn’t flip round just like the more and more frequent 2-in-1. There’s a chrome accent lining the touchpad and a chrome Acer emblem on the lid – and that’s it. In truth, it’s not all that completely different from the Acer Chromebook 14 we reviewed in 2016, and it bears a hanging resemblance to the Acer Chromebook 13 launched in 2018.

There’s nothing improper with the aesthetic, thoughts you. It’s not unattractive, and it doesn’t stand out. It’s nice. The construct high quality is a little more of a standout, although, and in a great way. It’s strong, with just a bit little bit of flex within the lid and none within the keyboard deck or chassis backside. It’s extra inflexible than the dearer Acer Chromebook 13, and it’s nearly as good as premium machines just like the HP Chromebook x2 and Google Pixelbook 2-in-1s.

The construct high quality stands out greater than the aesthetic, and in a great way.

The highest and backside bezels are additionally somewhat giant, which detracts from a contemporary look and provides some dimension to the chassis. The dimensions bezels, although, have been trimmed a bit. The Chromebook 514 in all fairness skinny at zero.67 inches (the identical because the Chromebook 13) and of reasonable weight at three.09 kilos (curiously, a lot lighter than the Acer Chromebook 13’s three.5 kilos). There are undoubtedly extra transportable Chromebooks on the market, such because the Pixelbook.

Like most Chromebooks, the Chromebook 514 is fanless and so utterly silent. We by no means observed the chassis getting anymore than barely heat throughout even our most intensive makes use of.

Acer Chromebook 514 review Mark Coppock/Digital Tendencies

Connectivity is strong for a Chrome OS laptop computer, with two USB-C three.1 ports that every assist charging and exterior shows, two USB-A ports, and a microSD card reader. There’s no Thunderbolt three assist, which isn’t a knock in opposition to the Chromebook 514 – we’re not conscious of any Chromebooks that assist the super-fast protocol but. A dual-band Intel chipset supplies 2×2 MU-MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth four.2 wi-fi connectivity.

Wonderful enter choices throughout

The Chromebook 514 has the same old island keyboard with black chiclet keys and 5 ranges of brightness, and we appreciated it lots. It supplies adequate journey so that you simply’ll by no means really feel like your fingers are bottoming out, and the important thing mechanism is snappy with out being loud. You’ll discover the usual Chrome OS key structure with no single shock – that’s one of many advantages of Chromebooks, in truth. We have been as much as our typical typing pace and accuracy very quickly, and we loved the keyboard as a lot as the same mannequin on the Acer Chromebook 13 and the HP Chromebook x2.

Acer Chromebook 514 review Mark Coppock/Digital Tendencies

The touchpad was additionally a pleasure to make use of. It’s giant, filling many of the accessible house under the keyboard, and it has a pleasing floor that gives simply the correct amount of tactile suggestions. The button supplied a satisfying click on that wasn’t noisy, and all the normal Chrome OS multitouch gestures have been supported and dependable. We appreciated this touchpad as a lot as on higher Home windows laptops just like the Dell XPS 13, which is one in every of our favorites.

Lastly, the mannequin Acer supplied for this overview included a contact show, and we have been glad to have it. When you’ve used gotten used to utilizing your finger to faucet the occasional button and swipe by internet pages, it’s one thing you are likely to miss when in it’s not there.

The show is definitely worth the cash, however not a penny extra

We have been glad to see Acer equip the Chromebook 514 with a 14-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS show that was sharp sufficient for anybody however essentially the most religious pixel-peeper. The show is within the video-friendly 16:9 facet ratio, and we admit that we want the extra productivity-friendly three:2 facet ratio on the Acer Chromebook 13 that gives extra vertical house for viewing paperwork and internet pages.

Brightness was a lot excessive for many environments – though you received’t need to take the Chromebook 514 exterior and use it in shiny daylight – and distinction appeared excellent. We are able to’t submit Chrome OS laptops to our colorimeter assessments, however we thought colours have been a lot vibrant and correct and gamma appeared to maintain photos from being to mild or too darkish.

The show was greater than adequate for productiveness work and Netflix binging.

It’s not the perfect show we’ve seen on a Chromebook. That distinction goes to extra premium choices just like the Pixelbook and HP Chromebook x2. However the show was greater than adequate for productiveness work and watching Netflix and YouTube video.

The audio received’t sustain, although. You’ll seemingly need to pull out a pair of headphones for longer binging periods. Quantity from the 2 downward-firing audio system on the underside of the chassis was adequate to fill a small room, and there wasn’t a ton of distortion. Mids and highs have been no higher than ample, and the bass was undoubtedly missing. Sound high quality wasn’t an enormous detractor, nevertheless it’s not going to impress, both.

A mean CPU means common efficiency, however plenty of RAM helps

We are able to’t run Chrome OS laptops by our normal suite of benchmarks, so we’re restricted in how effectively we will objectively characterize the Chromebook 514’s efficiency. We did run Geekbench four and noticed a single-core rating of 1,556 and a multi-core rating of four,837. That’s consistent with different machines with the identical Pentium N4200 CPU (1,449 and four,114), such because the Acer Chromebook Spin 15. However it’s effectively behind the Chromebook 13 with its Core i5-8250U (four,275 and eight,792) and the HP Chromebook x2 with its Core m3-7Y30 (three,441 and 6,685).

Acer Chromebook 514 review Mark Coppock/Digital Tendencies

We additionally ran the online benchmark, Speedometer, the place the Chromebook 514 scored 24.1. Once more, that’s consistent with the Chromebook Spin 15 (24.5), nevertheless it’s blown away by the Acer Chromebook 13 (88.6) and the HP Chromebook x2 (75.1). It received’t really feel as snappy as these different choices, however the 514 is a little more reasonably priced.

The Chromebook 514 does profit from its 8GB of RAM, which is nice sufficient for Home windows machines and wonderful for Chrome OS laptops. Having greater than the Chromebook common of 4GB of RAM signifies that you should use quite a few tabs without delay and extra Android apps could be stored open. There’s additionally 64GB of storage, nevertheless it’s primarily based on the slower eMMC versus sooner laptops utilizing SATA or PCIe solid-state drives (SSDs).

Total, we will’t complain concerning the Chromebook 514’s efficiency – it’s par for the course at pricing of $500 or much less. You may get sooner efficiency for just a little more cash – such because the Chromebook x2’s Core m3 CPU for only a $100 premium — however the Pentium chip right here suffices. The Intel HD Graphics 505 built-in GPU will energy informal Android video games, however that’s about it.

We’ll additionally point out that the Chromebook 514 affords much more worth for anybody whose efficiency wants aren’t too excessive. You may get a configuration with a Celeron N3350, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage for simply $350 – that’s a terrific worth for such a strong construct high quality and a pleasant Full HD show.

You’ll get a full day at work or college with out plugging in

Acer outfitted the Chromebook 514 with 45 watt-hours of battery capability. Coupled with the moderately environment friendly CPU and the Full HD show, and on condition that Chrome OS is a extra environment friendly OS, we anticipated to get respectable battery life.

We received higher than we anticipated. First, the Chromebook 514 lasted virtually 5 hours in our most CPU-intensive Basemark internet benchmark check. That’s significantly better than the three hours the Chromebook 13 managed, and it even beat the wonderful Chromebook x2 with its 4 and a half hours. By comparability, a long-lasting Home windows laptop computer, the XPS 13, lasted for near 4 and three-quarter hours.

Switching to our internet looking check, the Chromebook 514 went for nearly 11.5 hours. That compares to the Chromebook x2 and about 9 and a half hours and the Chromebook Spin 15 that lasted for 11 hours. The XPS 13 made it to 10.5 hours in the identical check.

You’ll get a strong day of labor out of the Chromebook 514 except you push the CPU.

Lastly, we subjected the Chromebook 514 to our video looping check that performs a Full HD Avengers trailer till the battery provides out. It managed simply over 11.5 hours on this check, beating out the Chromebook 13’s 9 hours and the Chromebook x2’s virtually 10 hours. The Home windows-based Asus ZenBook 13 lasted an extended 13.5 hours.

Merely put, you’ll seemingly get a strong day of labor or college out of the Chromebook 514 except you’re pushing the CPU. That’s unlikely — so long as you’re primarily utilizing the laptop computer for the sort of productiveness duties that its CPU can deal with effectively. It’s a sensible choice for anybody who doesn’t need to fear about plugging in all through the day.

Our Take

The Chromebook 514 isn’t an thrilling laptop computer, nevertheless it doesn’t intention to be one. It doesn’t present class-leading efficiency, and it’s not essentially the most thrilling piece of round.

However it runs quick sufficient for the same old Chrome OS duties, it runs a very long time on a single cost of the battery, and it’s rugged sufficient to hold round with out worrying that it’s going to interrupt down on the slightest provocation. That’s greater than we will say about most laptops on this worth vary.

Is there a greater various?

There are fairly a couple of choices on the Chromebook 514’s worth of $500. In case you’re keen to step up in dimension, then you’ll be able to go for a 2-in-1 with the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 for $450. You’ll get roughly an identical efficiency aside from multitasking due to the identical Pentium processor however solely 4GB of RAM within the bigger laptop computer.

In case you’re keen to spend just a little extra and the pliability of a 2-in-1 appeals to you, then you might take into account the $600 HP Chromebook x2. That’s our favourite general Chrome OS system, providing a removable pill format with a superb keyboard base that works in addition to a clamshell. It’s additionally barely sooner due to its Core m3-7Y30 CPU, however its 4GB of RAM and 32GB of eMMC storage fall behind the Chromebook 514.

In case you want much more efficiency than you might take into account the Acer Chromebook 13, which equips a really quick Eighth-gen Intel Core i5-8250U CPU. It’s very equally constructed and barely smaller, and also you received’t get the identical all-day battery life. You’ll pace by any job you’ll be able to throw at a Chrome OS laptop computer, however you’ll additionally spend significantly extra at $800.

As we talked about earlier, you too can avoid wasting actual cash and profit from the Chromebook 514’s nice construct high quality, keyboard and touchpad, and show if you happen to may give up just a little efficiency. For simply $350, you’ll be able to drop to a Celeron N3350, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage.

How lengthy will it final?

The Chromebook 514 is well-built and will final so long as you’ll want so long as you deal with it with cheap respect. Its CPU isn’t the most recent nor the quickest possibility, however we don’t anticipate Chrome OS advancing to the purpose of rendering it unusable for fairly a while. The usual one-year guarantee is lower than we like, however you received’t discover many laptops with higher.

Must you purchase it?

Sure. For the cash and given its wonderful construct high quality and good battery life, the Chromebook 514 is a secure selection that’s unlikely to disappoint.

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