Acer Chromebook 14 Review
This model has all the features and performance reviewers expect from a good Chromebook, with a more upscale design. Its crisp, 14-inch, full-HD display also impresses experts.
The Acer Chromebook 14 (starting at $299, Amazon) is another budget model that's eschewed the drab plastic exteriors of yesteryear for a stylish brushed aluminum shell which ups the aesthetic appeal while giving this laptop a more durable feel.
Another nice feature of this Chromebook is its 14-inch display, which a PC World reviewer says looks crisp and bright, and has wide viewing angles. The audio is also reported to be better than average in the affordable range, with good sound and respectable bass. The battery is solid, too, lasting almost 9 hours in PC World's tests (although Acer claims the 3 cell battery can run for a maximum of 12 hours).
The Acer Chromebook 14 runs on the Google Chrome OS 64, uses an Intel Celeron CPU, and comes equipped with 4GB of RAM. It has a 32GB eMMC hard drive, which is rather small considering there's no media card slot for extra storage. On the other hand, Chromebooks are intended to rely on online storage. The IPS display has a resolution of 1920 x 1080, powered by an integrated Intel graphics chip. The laptop has a built-in 720p webcam. The connection options for the Acer Chromebook 14 include 802.11ac, the fastest Wi-Fi standard, as well as Bluetooth 4. It also has a headphone jack, an HDMI port and two USB 3.0 ports, but you won't find any of the latest USB-C ports here.
The PC World expert was less than impressed with the Acer Chromebook 14's keyboard and its hard, plastic keys, but said the touchpad worked well enough. A Digital Trends reviewer, however, found the keyboard to be comfortable and liked the large keys, adding that the roomy touchpad makes for easy multi-touch gestures. As for the Chromebook 14's performance, it's reported to handle typical Chromebook tasks just fine, which makes it good enough for day-to-day web surfing, email, documents, and the like, but don't expect it to excel at graphics- or video-intensive tasks. That's not what it's designed to do.
The Acer Chromebook 14 is a step above run-of-the-mill competitors in terms of its design and construction, but its performance is pretty typical for a budget model. The small hard drive is a drawback given the lack of a media card reader, so users of this Chromebook will rely heavily on cloud-options, such as Google Drive, to shoulder storage loads.