We finally have the final piece of the Chromebook Plus hardware puzzle in the house, folks! When we were in New York for the event, I figured we’d end up with all the new models, so I didn’t spend a ton of time with the devices on display. And for some reason, this particular Chromebook ended up being one I spent extremely little time with and it was the only one we didn’t end up with. Until now.
With the Acer Chromebook Plus 514, we now have a version of all 8 new Chromebook Plus devices in our hands, just in time for the review onslaught to begin. Though we already reviewed one Chromebook Plus device (the ASUS CM34 Flip), we still have 7 others to tackle. With the Acer Chromebook Plus 514 now in-hand, we can get down to business over the coming weeks. For now, though, it’s time for first impressions on a Chromebook I’ve spent very, very little time with.
On the outside, the Acer Chromebook Plus 514 comes in an all-plastic chassis, but it doesn’t bother me too much. It has a solid feel in the hand and the build quality is great: no sharp edges and a pretty satisfactory rigidity makes handling it very nice. The subtle two-tone finish on the lid adds a unique look that doesn’t collect fingerprints at all.
Powered by an AMD Ryzen 3 7320C processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, the Acer Chromebook Plus 514 will definitely be a solid performer. Like the ASUS Chromebook CM34 Flip that has the same internal setup, I’d expect the 514 to breeze through tasks. Initial impressions definitely point to that being the case.
The 16:10 Full HD touchscreen is nice as well, though I don’t think we’re hitting 300 nits on this one. There’s a matte finish to the display, so that will help mitigate brighter lighting a bit, but a 350 nit screen on this device would have been a fantastic addition.
The 514 comes with a wide variety of connectivity options, too. With two USB Type-C ports, a full-sized HDMI port, USB-A port, and a headphone/microphone jack, it’s ready to go on the desk with no need of a docking solution if you want. I’ve been enjoying all the Chromebooks of late that have all the ports you need to get work done without any sort of dongle, and the Acer Chromebook Plus 514 takes care of that nicely.
The upward-firing speakers are loud and clear but lack a bit in the bass department. There’s nice stereo separation and with the speaker placement, you won’t have to worry about having this Chromebook on your lap for a video call and dampening the audio.
The camera performs well, too, especially with the temporal noise reduction feature which is now a staple in Chromebook Plus devices. Acer’s been delivering this noise reduction in their Chromebooks for a couple years at this point, and the 514’s camera shows that off quite well. And, because it is Chromebook Plus, the new camera options like real-time background blur and lighting fixes can be used with the standard camera app when needed. I love that!
Keyboard and Trackpad
The keyboard and trackpad are definitely a spot where this Chromebook shines. The keys have a great, clicky feedback while still staying quiet and comfortable. The trackpad, though not real glass, glides smoothly and responds well to clicks. It’s also quite large, too, and once again Acer proves that their eco-friendly Ocean Glass is a superior material for superb trackpads. Nothing to gripe about on this one.
With a price tag of $449, available exclusively at Costco at the moment, the Acer Chromebook Plus 514 is yet another compelling Chromebook Plus package. It’s a great blend of performance, utility, and affordability. Despite its minor quibbles like slightly-dim screen and sub-par speakers, it’s a device that checks many boxes for a regular user. Keep an eye out for the full review, coming soon.