Acer Chromebook Spin 514 hands-on: Faster, thinner, and pricier

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An Acer Chromebook Spin 514 (angular front view) sitting on a table..
Mark Koppock/Nerdshala

There was a time when a 14-inch Chromebook convertible with a 2-in-1 Intel Core processor turned some heads. Chrome OS doesn’t need a superfast CPU to be a screaming machine, and tossing in an 11th-gen Core i7 with 8GB of RAM or more (plenty for Chrome OS) makes for a laptop that’ll give you the power you need. will never wait.

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Even though it’s becoming more and more common to see such powerful Chromebooks on the market, it’s worth noting when one does. The Acer Chromebook Spin 514 is one such machine, and it fits the bill not only with a faster CPU, but with up to 16GB of RAM and the option of a 512GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD)—a huge amount of high-performance Windows. And storage for Chrome OS pales in comparison to the requirements for macOS.

I got some practical time with the Chromebook Spin 514’s initial preproduction sample unit equipped with a low-power Core i5-1140G7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a 14-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) Chromebook. ) Display in old school 16:9 aspect ratio.

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I couldn’t run the machine through our full suite of benchmarks, but I was quite impressed with the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 from its time.

design

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The Chromebook Spin 514 is made entirely out of metal, yet it weighs just 3.02 pounds. It’s 0.68 inches thick, and its chassis is of medium size, with sides that are thin and quite thin at the top and bottom. It’s not a small-bezel laptop, but it does have the smaller bezels you’ll find on some other budget laptops, including a smaller lower chin near many convertible 2-in-1s. Build quality was solid even on this early preproduction model, with no bending or flexing in the lid, keyboard deck, or chassis bottom.

Acer made a conservative design, featuring an all-silver chassis with simple lines and angles. The hinges are chrome, which adds some flair, and there are enough chamfered edges to avoid being an entirely minimalist design. The Chromebook Spin 514 is one such laptop that fits well in the boardroom as well as the coffeehouse.

There’s also plenty of connectivity, with a full-size HDMI port (unusual for a Chromebook), a USB-A port for legacy support, and two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4. The latter is particularly unusual on Chrome OS devices and promises higher performance than the usual USB-C 3.2. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 provide wireless duty.

performance and performance

Close up of the Acer Chromebook Spin 514's display.
Mark Koppock/Nerdshala

With a Core i5-1140G7 and 8GB of RAM, the Chromebook Spin 514 promises to be very fast. Again, I couldn’t test it given its pre-release nature, but I did run it in the background with Chrome tabs open and several Android apps and I couldn’t slow it down. This has been my experience with every high-end Chromebook I’ve tested. And while I’m not the biggest fan of Chrome OS due to the lack of support for older Windows apps that I rely on, I do recognize the value of its lightweight nature and how fast and seamless it can run with less hardware. . And when you component it fast, it blows up.

With Intel Iris Xe graphics, Chromebook Spin 514 should be able to run Android games. At 14 inches, it’s still a big machine in tablet mode for playing games, but it’s doable. I’d probably put it on my knees and do it if I was in the gaming mood.

I don’t know how big the battery is in the Chromebook Spin 514, but Acer promises up to 10 hours of battery life. It will be on the edge of being acceptable, and once I can benchmark the laptop, I’ll be sure to report the results.

Close up of the Acer Chromebook Spin 514's display.
Mark Koppock/Nerdshala

The Chromebook Spin 514 has a 14-inch Full HD IPS multitouch display, unfortunately the old-school 16:9 aspect ratio, and it supports the Acer Pen. This means the display will be stretched a lot in tablet mode, as opposed to taller 16:10 and 3:2 aspect ratio displays, which are closer in their dimensions to a real piece of paper. Acer didn’t provide any specs on the display, and so I don’t know its promised brightness, but Acer’s previous Chromebooks have done pretty well in this department. I found the display to provide plenty of color and brightness in my normal working environment.

Two upward-firing speakers flank the keyboard, and they put out a good amount of volume with no hint of distortion. Mids and highs were a bit muddy, and bass was lacking. Sound quality is fine for the occasional YouTube video, but you’ll want headphones for music and binge Netflix.

Notably, the webcam is 1080p, adding to the slow-moving trend away from grainy 720p video. It’s a welcome addition that would make the Chromebook Spin 514 an effective videoconferencing tool.

keyboard and touchpad

Turn off the keyboard of the Acer Chromebook Spin 514.
Mark Koppock/Nerdshala

The keyboard has plenty of spacing and large keycaps with plenty of travel and a light touch. I found the switches to be a little looser than I’d like, but still have a fast bottoming action that makes for precise typing. It’s not the best Chromebook keyboard I’ve used, but it won’t slow down a fast touch typist.

The touchpad is medium-sized and has a comfortable surface to swipe on. It supports all Chrome OS multitouch gestures without issue, and the buttons have a solid and quiet click. The touch-enabled display supports an active pen, but one was not included in my review unit.

price and availability

The Acer Chromebook Spin 514 will be available in January 2022 starting at $700. CPU options start with the Intel Core i3-1110G4 and go up to the Core i7-1180G7, while RAM tops out at 16GB and storage on a 512GB SSD. The Enterprise Edition of the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 will be available on a scheduled date starting at $900. Lastly, a variant of the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 running the MediaTek Companio 828 processor will also be offered in December 2021 for a starting price of $400.

Acer is also offering a few other Chromebooks that round out its Chrome OS lineup. The Acer Chromebook Enterprise 515 is a 15.6-inch clamshell laptop that offers a premium design, superior durability and 11th generation Intel Core CPUs. It can be configured with up to 16GB of RAM and up to 512GB PCIe SSD. The display will offer optional touch capability, and audio is optimized for videoconferencing. Prices for the Chromebook 515 Enterprise will start at $650.

Finally, the Acer Chromebook Spin 314 is a 14-inch convertible 2-in-1 using an eco-friendly OceanGlass touchpad made entirely from recycled plastic waste. The 2-in-1 will be available in January 2022 starting at $500.




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