Acer Chromebook 514 Review: Striking the Perfect Balance
These days. Most of the big features you want in a laptop are present in chromebooks in general. They dont all have every single feature, but weve seen enough great screens and great keyboards and great chassis on enough devices at this point to not really fall head over heels. For the latest newest thing, every time it comes out at this point in the chromebook story, it really comes down to user experience and cutting the right corners and having reasonable asking prices striking the perfect balance between all of that stuff, while keeping the performance in a Solid spot and much to my surprise, the acer chromebook 514 does just that about, as well as any chromebook ive tested honestly. So lets talk about why Applause Music now lets start with the obvious theres, nothing out of the ordinary, with this clamshell chromebook, its not going to wow you with its looks or its design flair, and it really doesnt need to with an aluminum lid and its plastic. Bottom, it feels sturdy, looks nice on the desk and generally does what you ask it to do. The design is clearly acer with a boxy top and slightly sloped curved sides that make it look a little thinner than it really is, but overall the 514 is thin. Its light, its highly portable and at just under three pounds and only 16.7 millimeters thick. There are very few bags that this chromebook wont fit into very nicely theres, a usb type c port on both sides, its usb 3.
2 and theres, an additional type, a port with usb 3.0. The only other port here is a headphone microphone jack, and so i was a bit bummed to realize. Theres no discreet way to expand your storage on this chromebook sure there are very tiny, expandable usb type a drives out there, but a micro sd card slot is really a welcome addition anytime. You can get it in a chromebook in my opinion, especially on one that maxes out at 64, gigs of emmc storage like this one does. The bottom of this chromebook is just one smooth piece since theres no need for fans on an arm powered device well get into all that processor stuff here in just a minute, but one of the big benefits of this chromebook coming with the mediatek companio 828, is The lack of fans but youll also notice a lack of speaker grills on the bottom as well thats, because we get upward firing speakers on this one and they dont disappoint. I really wish this was something far more standard on 14 inch chromebooks the pixelbook go famously made upward firing speakers a standout feature and although no chromebook, since that one has been able to quite match the audio quality of that now legendary setup, i still appreciate the Clean sound that upward facing speakers produce the speakers on the acer 514 are what id call pretty decent, not great, but better than most again theyre helped by the positioning of them right there on the keyboard deck and i enjoyed using them for youtube.
Video watching and some video chats along the way during my review period, the highs are crisp spoken. Words are really clear and there are enough mids and enough bass to make music actually sound. Pretty nice theyre not crazy loud, but they do have enough volume to get the job done now. Those speakers are flanking a very comfy backlit keyboard that ive thoroughly enjoyed typing on. I tend not to love acers keyboards in most chromebooks, but i really do like the keyframe on this 514. theres, a nice bit of travel, a good click and no issues with oddly colored keys, making it tough to see the characters and different lighting situations and then Theres, the trackpad. I love this trackpad, its massive, its gorilla glass and it has one of the most satisfying click mechanisms. Ive ever used. Ive said it so many times, but it bears repeating if you nail the keyboard and the trackpad youve tackled half of the chromebook user experience. Yes, there are other factors, but the keyboard, trackpad and screen are the parts you directly interact with when you use a device. So getting those things right makes a world of difference and acer, just nails the keyboard and trackpad on the 514.. Speaking of the screen portion of that equation, i was a little shocked at how well the screen performed in actual use, because the stats just dont come off. As wildly impressive, you are getting a 1080p ips touchscreen with anti glare treatment and 250 nits of brightness.
So its not like crummy on paper, but my experience with 250 net screens in the past has not been great, and i just generally dont expect much when i see that particular number on a spec sheet for this chromebook. However, i was pleasantly surprised with an anti glare coating that doesnt wildly degrade the screens quality. Those 250 nets held up quite well in a variety of environments. Sure i had to keep the brightness cranked up to about 75 or higher most of the time, but with this chromebook on my desk right by the window with full sunlight outside it held up just fine and i wasnt really put off by it. While i always feel like touch and put on these matte finish, screens is a little bit odd. It really honestly worked just fine here and it. It does need to be noted that this one does not come with a usi pen and it is not compatible with usi or any stylus for that matter. And while the screen isnt a huge overall win for this chromebook, it really isnt a detractor either and paired up with that fantastic keyboard and trackpad. I just talked about i found working on this chromebook to be really enjoyable. Okay, so weve talked about all the outside bits, but what about this brand new processor from mediatek? How does it perform well? The short answer is its pretty great for daily workloads. This chromebook held its own handling, my multi desk multi window workflow, like a champ.
Now, if youre into benchmarks, we have those it gets about 26, 000 on octane and 65 or so on speedometer, but with devices like these im really not entirely sold on any of these numbers. What really matters is how it feels to actually use this thing, and i had very little issue with performance on the chromebook 514 and the mediatek companio 828 sure there are hiccups here and there, but for the most part i didnt have to think about speed too Much on this chromebook, maybe part of that, was the eight gigs of ram our model has, but i really think most of its due to the effectiveness of this new soc from mediatek now does this mean were looking at intel, core i7 type performance, of course not? But it is right on par with something like the snapdragon 7c gen2, if not a little bit snappier. Now i didnt work too much with a second display, because the companion 828 only outputs 1080p to an external monitor. So my ultra wide qhd monitor on my desk. Really wasnt an option, but all of my windows open across all my standard, four virtual desk setups confined to the internal display rolled along just fine in day to day scenarios now with an unknown soc like this one. There are always some other questions we need to answer apart from just raw performance, so lets get those out of the way real, quick before we wrap up with the companio 828, you get bluetooth, 5, wi, fi, 6 and battery life.
That feels almost like eternal. I mean acer rates it at 15 hours and though youd need to come off of that 75 to 100 brightness id mentioned earlier. To get that sort of number, i was easily getting 12 plus hours on a charge, even with my brighter screen settings. For the most part, this chromebook served as my after hours and weekend warrior device, and i only had to charge it like once a week. Standby keeps the battery exactly where you leave it when its not in use. So if youre only opening it up here and there, your battery life just feels untouchable. The only other device ive used with so much confidence away from the charger is the lenovo chromebook duet, 5, and the 514 from acer is right in the same camp. When it comes to battery longevity, its just liberating, finally, we have to mention aue or the google mandated expiration date on this chromebook for regular os updates with this device and others that will come with the companio 800 series. At least this current generation were looking at a june 2029 end date on updates, so that means youre good to go for seven plus years at the time of filming Music. It would be easy to look at the acer, chromebook, 514 and just kind of shrug it off ill admit. I only had a passing interest in it right off the bat because of the untested companio 828 thats inside of it, but as ive used it and carried it in my bag for the past few weeks.
All the pieces that make up this chromebook have just impressed me far more than i expected them to the superlatives like the keyboard, the trackpad and the battery life. They all help to prop up all the less flashy elements like the okay screen and the plastic chassis and the mid range performance its funny. But this is exactly why we cant review a chromebook just on a spec sheet its about this entire experience nowadays and acers. Put together a bit of a surprise with the 514. at ‘9 dollars for the model we tested id, give anyone looking for an affordable laptop in absolute green light to go and snag one of these things right away, but guys thats it for this one. If you enjoyed this video, give us a thumbs up head down there, hit that subscribe button and be sure and ring the notification icon as well.