The latest next@Acer press conference is in the books and we were lucky enough to get our hands on the newest Chromebook in their lineup: the Chromebook Spin 714. This device shares a lot of similar DNA with the multiple iterations of the Chromebook Spin 713 that have come before it, but it also has a bunch of great additions that help set it apart from that group as well. While the device we have in the office is an early pre-production sample, there are some things we can learn from it, so let’s check it out.
Acer Spin DNA
As soon as you lay your eyes or hands on this new Chromebook, there’s no denying its lineage. From the color to the texture to the familiar lines, this new Chromebook Spin 714 is undeniably Acer in all the best ways. While not calling too much attention to itself, it takes cues from the last few Acer Chromebook Spin models by adopting a slightly boxier design while still looking sleek.
The top and bottom feel cool to the touch thanks to the all-aluminum outer portions and the composite keyboard deck – while not metal – is perfectly color matched, not taking anything away from the premium feel of the Spin 714. The whole thing feels solid, rigid, and well-built. Around the outside of that chassis we have some fan ports (the included 12th-gen Intel processors need that), a USB Type-C port on both sides, one USB Type-A port, a full-size HDMI port, and headphone/microphone jack. Also, you’ll note the addition of the stowed USI pen on the front-right of the device. I love that addition.
Once inside, there are some notable changes versus the previous Spin 713. First up is the screen which has been changed to a 14-inch panel (hence the 714 naming scheme) that is 16:10 in aspect ratio, giving you the same sort of tall-ish feelings you get with the 3:2 13.5-inch screen in the previous Spin 713. I think this screen size and aspect ratio strike a great balance, giving users portability and a large enough screen to get a lot of work done.
The display is still quite bright – we tested it at 400+ nits – and sharp, too. The unit we spent time with comes in at 1920×1200, but there will also be a QHD version available with a 2560×1600 resolution as well. Like the Spin 713 before it, the screen on the Spin 714 is bright, punchy, and colorful, covering 100% of the SRGB gamut. It also keeps the bezels in check and even gets the lower bezel down to a very tiny size for a convertible device.
This is notable as we were able to still pull off the one-finger open in clamshell mode, making this one of the few convertible devices we’ve ever seen have both a 360-degree hinge and the ability to open with one hand when on a desk. It’s an impressive bit of engineering.
Up top is a FHD webcam with a privacy shade and beneath the screen sit the speakers. No longer relegated to the underside of the Chromebook, the Spin 714 gets the sound up and out, providing wide stereo separation and some really decent range. Generally speaking, speakers get better on Chromebooks as they are tuned closer to launch, so if these improve before this device hits store shelves, it will mark some of the better Chromebook speakers you can buy at this point.
Solid keyboard and trackpad
Moving on down the device, we come to the backlit keyboard that is pretty standard, modern Acer fare. It’s comfortable, clicky, and responsive. While still not my favorite keyframes out there, Acer’s devices have become far better in the past couple years, and the Spin 714 feels like it will carry that momentum forward. The glass trackpad under the keyboard is smooth, clicky and solid, but I’d love it if it were a tad larger. With the more rectangular shape of this Chromebook, there’s simply less top-to-bottom room to work with. Perhaps if the speakers were on the left and right of the keyboard as opposed to above it, I think a larger trackpad would have fit. Either way, it is still great to use, so no big complaints, here.
12th-gen Intel speed
Inside, our device has the 12th-gen Intel Core i5, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of NVMe storage. While we can’t discuss benchmarks or anything like that for this pre-production device, we all know that these latest Intel processors are really, really fast. This one will be no exception, so you won’t need to worry with speed if the Spin 714 looks good to you. Additionally, this device should work well with Steam games down the road, so you are covered with it if you’d like to get some gaming in as well.
Acer is saying this new Spin 714 will be available in the USA in August and the price for the unit we have on us will run $749 to start. We all know how often Chromebooks go on sale, so imagining all this hardware eventually coming in for around $600 is crazy. This is a very, very solid Chromebook at a reasonable price that I could see being in contention for the best Chromebook of the year. There are quite a few we expect to launch in the coming months, but what Acer has put together in the Spin 714 is very, very impressive at this point. We’ll have a better feel for it closer to launch in August, so stay tuned for our full review in the coming weeks.