Acer Chromebook Plus 514 Review: A Great Budget Laptop

Last yr, Google trotted out a brand new “Chromebook Plus” label, guaranteeing Chromebooks meet particular {hardware} necessities in order that they’ve a sure threshold of high quality and—importantly—a beginning value of $400. It’s been pretty profitable. Chromebooks from firms like Acer and Lenovo carry out nicely for the cash—purposeful, reasonably priced {hardware} that does the job.

Acer’s Chromebook Plus 514 (mannequin CB514-4H/T) is one more laptop computer that achieves this aim. This particular mannequin identify doesn’t roll off the tongue, nevertheless it signifies that that is the Intel-powered mannequin, to not be confused with the AMD-powered Chromebook Plus 514 (CB514-3H/T) the corporate launched final fall. It’s a bit complicated, and it does not assist that there is additionally the equally named Acer Chromebook Plus 515, which is shut in value however has a bigger display screen and a barely completely different processor.

Front view of open black laptop sitting on a desk with an image of a large partially submerged rock in the ocean on the...

Photograph: Daniel Thorp-Lancaster

Despite slight variations in port choice and display screen ratio between the Intel and AMD variants of the Chromebook Plus 514, count on them to carry out largely the identical. The grunt work for this machine is dealt with by a succesful Thirteenth-gen Intel Core i3-N305 processor, which is on par with different Chromebook Plus fashions and a pleasant bump over Chromebooks of years previous. Combined with the 8 GB of RAM and a 512-GB strong state drive on the CB514-4HT-359X configuration Acer despatched me for this evaluation, you could have a fairly speedy machine for college and work. This mannequin is simply $350 at Costco, and weirdly, the 128-GB mannequin is dearer at Amazon for $380.

Chrome OS is designed to be light-weight, and the Core i3-N305 processor subsequently tears via most duties with ease. My day by day ritual of writing in Google Docs whereas watching YouTube movies with a number of different tabs open by no means felt sluggish or unresponsive. Battery life has held up, getting me via eight-hour workdays, normally with an hour or two of battery life to spare.

Despite pulling from the cloud, Google Photos edits really feel very responsive. I had loads of enjoyable utilizing the built-in editor to tweak my (many) cat pictures, and video edits felt almost instantaneous. Just consider this depends closely on the velocity of your web connection to tug pictures and movies down out of your cloud storage, so your expertise might fluctuate.

I’ve by no means discovered myself drawn to utilizing contact on laptops, however the 14-inch contact panel on the Chromebook Plus 514 grew on me. Chrome OS lends itself to the touch, and the graceful matte show feels nice to make use of below your fingertips (plus it doesn’t go away fingerprints). In my week of testing, I consistently discovered myself reaching out to get a greater choice when modifying pictures within the Google Photos app or after I wished to extra exactly scroll via YouTube.

My one disappointment is that this isn’t a convertible laptop computer. The means to swing the display screen round to show it right into a quasi-tablet would make utilizing contact extra comfy (and enjoyable), so the clamshell design is a bit limiting. On the intense facet, the hinge permits the again of the show to increase downward a bit when opened, propping it up in your desk or lap for a extra comfy angle.

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