For those of you that are fans of this site, you may be familiar with my love affair with the Luxury Gold Acer Chromebook 14. The overall design and feel of the 14″ Full HD Macbook look-alike is, for the most part, unparalleled in the Chrome OS space and we have long yearned for a refresh of this device that would bring it up to par with the current generation of Chromebooks.
While Acer has been putting in some serious overtime launching new Chromebooks, Chrome Tablets and Chromeboxes this year, an updated version of the Chromebook 14 doesn’t seem to be in the cards at the moment but that doesn’t mean you don’t have an option if a new 14″ device is on your wishlist.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. “Who the heck is Poin2?” Well, I’ll tell you. Poin2 is a small but ambitious support and development company based in Seoul, South Korea. Prior to 2018, their only offering to the Chrome OS community was a slightly obscure RK3288 device similar to those released by companies like Haier and Hisense.
These inexpensive Chromebooks, built on the same chassis as the ASUS Flip C101, were affordable and mass-produced but they were built for the most basic of tasks. They served their purpose in education as well as being a handy second device but they weren’t really a consideration for use as a daily driver when you needed horsepower or a lot of features.
Fast forward to 2017 and you will see a device that we had been tracking for some time by the name of ‘Birch‘. Now, we haven’t heard much about this MediaTek Chromebook lately but a few weeks ago it popped up on the Chromium Developer’s list of official devices and sure enough, it’s creator is Poin2 Labs.
Now, you may remember that this time last year, we reported on two new devices from Poin2 and I had actually been in some in-depth back and forths with their marketing manager about when we might see these devices come to market. Unfortunately, Poin2 met some speed bumps and as of September 2017 production had been delayed and my contact wasn’t sure how long it would be before things were back on track.
Well, it looks like they’ve worked out the kinks because sometime in the past two months, Poin2 quietly released their Chromebook 14(Birch) and the Chromebook 11C(hanawl) and they’re available now at various retailers in the U.S.
Both devices are built off of the same board and MediaTek 8173C processor found in the Acer Chromebook R13 but I want to focus specifically on the Poin2 Chromebook 14 because it offers up some very unique features that you won’t find on many other current devices.
Poin2 Chromebook 14
Let’s take a look at what Poin2’s Chromebook 14 has to offer for only $299.
- Chrome OS
- MediaTek MT8173 Quad-Core (ARM)
- 4 GB LPDDR3 RAM
- 32 GB eMMC onboard storage
- 14.0 Inch FHD LCD IPS / Multi-touch Touchscreen
- 1 x USB-C, 1 x USB-A 3.0, full-size HDMI port, SD card reader, 3.5mm headphone jack and Kensington lock
- 180º fold-flat hinge
- Gunmetal aluminum finish
- 342mm x 240mm x 18.4mm; 1.69kg
- Andriod Apps out of the box
Okay, so on paper the Poin2 Chromebook 14 doesn’t knock your socks off but it is living in a very limited space that it essentially shares with only the HP Chromebook 14 G5 that’s powered by my least favorite chip, the Apollo Lake N3350.
If you’re a fan of the Acer Chromebook 14 and the design and size that it offers, the Poin2 Chromebook 14 hits on a lot of points that made the Acer great and brings new features like USB-C and a touch display to the table in a chassis that looks as luxurious as any device out there.
Let’s not forget, the MediaTek processor is no slouch. With roughly a 20-25% performance boost over the Braswell N3160, the ARM-based chip handles daily tasks and Android apps with ease and can make a great daily driver for those who don’t need a ton of horsepower under the hood. Shoot, the Acer Chromebook 14 was my go-to for months before the Skylake devices landed on the scene.
As far as build quality is concerned, I can’t really make a call on the Poin2 until I get one in my hands. With any luck, that will be in the next week or so. I’m anxious to see how much, if any of the chassis is actual metal, how the hinge holds up and how bright the IPS panel is.
If you like the look of the Poin2 and a 14″ Chromebook is your heart’s desire, you can grab one on Amazon for a little over $300 or you can pick one up from Staples and have it shipped to your door or a local store for $299 w/free shipping.
If you get yours before I do, drop back by or shoot me an email and let me know your first impression. If this Chromebook is built well, it will likely be my second device to keep in my bag.