Over the years, Acer’s Chromebook Spin series has produced numerous fan favorites. The Chromebook Spin 713 from 2020 and 2021 are among the most popular, most loved Chromebooks ever made and the Chromebook Spin 513 is one of my personal favorite Chromebooks of 2022. With the Spin 714, Acer went in a slightly different direction this year, opting for a different screen size, aspect ratio, and resolution. There are some redeeming qualities of this device over previous 700-series Spin Chromebooks, but are they enough to make the 714 a fan favorite again this year?
A look back at the Spin 713 and 513
The story of the Spin 714 is an interesting one. In some ways, I feel like it is a better device than the previous Spin 713 models, but in other ways I sorely miss those devices by contrast. With the Spin 714, Acer changed up their winning formula by taking the general chassis and design for the Spin 713 and relegating it to the well-received MediaTek-powered Spin 513. If you didn’t know any better and I handed you the new Spin 513, you’d likely mistake it for the Spin 713 from both 2020 and 2021. Aside from the lack of fan ports, a lighter chassis and a slightly thinner body, the Spin 513 is Acer’s 2022 3:2 QHD Chromebook.
So, with the Spin 513 holding down that particular form factor for this year, Acer took some of their more-premium pieces and crafted the Spin 714 with the latest 12th-gen Intel processors inside. The model currently on sale at Best Buy comes in at $729 and is equipped with the Core i5, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of NVMe storage. As always, there may end up being other variants on Acer’s website, but for now, the Best Buy model is what’s available, and this thing is crazy fast. For those of you that get into benchmarks, we’re talking Octane scores around 80,000 and Speedometer 2.0 scores pushing 240. Trust me: it’s really fast.
Changing the formula
Apart from solid internals and a convertible form factor, the Spin 714 actually departs from the tried-and-true Spin 713 formula in nearly every other way, however. While this isn’t a versus video, I think it is important to talk about the Spin 714 in reference to the Spin 713 models that preceded it. Regardless of Acer’s intent, people are viewing the Spin 714 as the Spin 713 successor, and that’s both a good and bad thing for this Chromebook.
Let’s talk first about why that’s a bad thing for the 714. One of the biggest wins Acer has had in the past few years with the Spin 713 has been the display used in each model. With a QHD resolution, 13.5-inch size, and 3:2 aspect ratio, the Spin 713 has always been beloved mainly because of the screen: many times even in spite of some serious shortcomings with those previous Chromebooks. It’s easy to forgive a mediocre keyboard and speakers when the screen you look at every moment you use a Chromebook is so damn good, right?
Where the Spin 713’s standout feature was absolutely the screen, the Spin 714 sacrifices in this area a bit. And I say “a bit” because I actually like the screen, aspect ratio and bezels on the Spin 714 quite a lot. It’s FHD, not QHD (technically it’s 1920×1200), 16:10 instead of 3:2, and 14-inches versus 13.5. It does get quite bright at around 350 nits, has great viewing angles, and covers 100% of the SRGB color space, however, so it’s not like this is a slouch of a screen by any measure. Additionally, Acer sidestepped the large bottom bezel normally present on their convertibles, and the small bezels all around give the Chromebook a far more modern look than most.
Is the display as nice as what you get on the Spin 713 or 513? No, but the combo of smaller bezels and a more landscape layout may appeal to some users out there, and the truth is it isn’t a hindrance or problem spot on this Chromebook when it comes time to actually use it. Different? Sure, but there’s been nothing about this display panel that has been off-putting or problematic for me.
The other negative to this form factor change comes down to the trackpad. While glass, smooth and great to use, it is considerably smaller due to the combo of upward firing speakers on the keyboard deck and an overall smaller footprint on this Chromebook from top to bottom thanks to the 16:10 aspect ratio. It didn’t cause me issues, per se, but it took a bit of time to get used to. I love the huge trackpads we’ve had on the past couple Spin 713’s and the new Spin 513, so this was definitely a step in the wrong direction in my opinion.
Changing for the better
The rest of this device moves the needle forward and the good stuff you get in this package far outweighs the couple downgrades you get compared to last year’s Spin 713. We’ve already mentioned the screen, so let’s quickly discuss what’s above it: the 1080p webcam. While moving from 720p to 1080p isn’t a massive undertaking, the quality of the camera is a most welcome change. The cameras on the previous Spin 713 models were really bad, and the Spin 714 corrects this. The resolution is good, but the dynamic range and exposure is wildly better this time around, and it’s been noticed by others when I’m on video calls. They also included a privacy shade, too, and you know I’m always happy to see that addition.
Acer also improved the speakers and keyboard in pretty significant ways, giving us dedicated upward-firing speakers and a far better key frame than what any Spin 713 or Spin 513 has had in the past. While I still prefer HP’s high-end keyboards better, this Spin 714 has been an absolute pleasure to type on. The backlight looks great against the steel blue chassis and I’ve been perfectly happy typing on this Chromebook daily since surrendering the HP Elite Dragonfly a few weeks ago.
The speakers are no slouch, either. Granted, the Spin 713 had atrocious speakers, but the Spin 714 goes far above and beyond to not only best those other Chromebooks, but put itself in the upper class of what Chromebook speakers are capable of. Again, this isn’t Pixelbook Go territory, but they are very loud and very full. I’d have no problem catching up on a few episodes of a show on Netfix or catching the latest upload from any number of YouTubers I follow without reaching for the headphones.
While the port selection is what you’d expect from a powerful Chromebook in this price range, the full-sized HDMI port is an always-welcome addition to the 2 USB 4.0 Type C Thunderbolt ports (positioned one on a side), the single USB Type A port and headphone/mic jack. But as you are examining those ports, don’t miss the one on the front that houses the recharging USI pen that houses itself completely flush with the bottom of the Spin 714. This is a solid little stylus that, as I’ve said before about stowable pens, is always right there when you need it, charged up and ready to roll.
And speaking of charging, the Spin 714 supports fast charging to give you an additional 4 hours of use in only 30 minutes of charging. You won’t need it terribly often as I found the 10-hour battery life that Acer touts for this one is pretty close to reality if you keep your screen brightness in the 60%-70% range. Jump up to 100% and you’ll push back to the 7-hour range, though with this sort of power under the hood, that’s a very solid number for sure.
Changes equal great value
Like other 12th-gen Intel-powered Chromebooks, the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 gets regular updates until June of 2030, so you can feel good about knowing that if you choose to snag one of these, you can plan on holding onto it for quite some time. Sure, devices like the HP Dragonfly have literally everything you could ask for in one device, but they also command huge price tags. With a starting price of $729, the Spin 714 will only see discounts from this point forward, and in this price range, the Spin 714 is a real contender.
When you compare what you are getting in the box to something like the HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook, the value proposition for this Chromebook is very high. You don’t get the 12th-gen Core i5 and 256GB of storage on the cheap, and when we put those impressive internals inside a device with an aluminum chassis, great keyboard, screen, and included pen, I start to better understand what Acer was aiming for with this Chromebook. I’ve loved my time with it for sure, and I’d bet many of you will as well. While it maybe isn’t the follow-up to the Spin 713 you were expecting, it is a great addition to the Spin family of devices, and is easily one of my favorites of 2022.