There’s a proud workhorse feel to the Acer Chromebook 314. It’s not the highest-spec Chromebook on the market and it’s not the most feature-rich, but it’s a solid option for a Windows laptop, with a wide 14-inch screen and compact enough to slip into a small bag.
The best Chromebooks on the market have touchscreens, and we’re particularly fond of the beefy Google Pixelbook series that feature the Intel Core i7. But while the Acer Chromebook 314 falls short compared to those beefier and more expensive Chromebooks, this compact machine knows who it’s for. This is one of the best laptops for students in the market.
Acer Chromebook 314 Configuration:
CPUIntel Celeron N4000 1.1Ghz (Dual Core)
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 600
Random Access Memory: 4 jib
Memory: 32 GB flash memory
Screen: 14-inch LED; High resolution 1366 x 768 pixels
Storage: 32GB eMMC
Ports: 2 x USB-A; 2 x USB-C; Micro SD Audio jack
relationshipWireless IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac; Bluetooth 5.0
Cameras: HD web camera
Weight: 3.75 lbs (1.7 kg)
Size: 12.8 x 9.1 x 0.78 inches (32.5 x 23.1 x 2 cm; W x D x H)
The Acer Chromebook 314 works within the limitations of its components – notably the Intel Celeron N4000 1.1Ghz (dual-core) CPU and Intel UHD Graphics 600 chip – to provide a machine capable of running multiple applications, streaming video and running multiple browsers. Tabs, while maintaining a long battery life. I found it easy for 10 hours in my testing, which included working with several art applications and video streaming applications.
The large screen easily displays multiple open documents and tabs without feeling too cluttered. I feel this budget Chromebook shows its price tag when it comes to user experience, for example the trackpad is ‘clicky’ and the bezel is a bit flimsy. We were careful to dispose of this Chromebook.
There are two builds of the Acer Chromebook 314. This is the one I’m testing here and it’s a slightly more expensive model with a touch screen and twice the memory. Below I’ll go into more detail about the Acer Chromebook 314 standard model, running through the pros and cons of using a budget Chromebook for everyday use and light artwork purposes.
Acer Chromebook 314 review: In the box
The beauty of Chromebooks is that you don’t need anything other than a good internet connection to set them up. That means you get a power cable in the Acer Chromebook 314 box, and that’s pretty much it (it comes in a sleek but not-so-durable sliding case).
All the heavy lifting is done by Google OS. Simply open the lid, connect your Google account or set up a new one, and away you go—the process takes less than 10 minutes, and this laptop boots up in less than eight seconds from shutdown.
The ease of using a browser operating system on a standard Windows laptop can take some getting used to; Everything runs in the cloud and most apps run as Chrome browser attachments and shortcuts. There is no such thing as a ‘desktop’ as everything runs in your cloud-based Google Drive.
Acer Chromebook 314 Review: Design
The Acer Chromebook 314 has the size and feel of a small PC laptop, and thankfully it’s a little bigger than a notebook. Finished in metal, this Chromebook is sleek and feels like an aluminum finish, even though the Acer Chromebook 314 is completely plastic.
The overall appeal of the Acer Chromebook 314 is a mid-range PC laptop. Its dimensions of 12.8 x 9.1 x 0.78 inches (32.5 x 23.1 x 2 cm; W x D x H) ensure a comfortable typing space, with room for your wrist to rest. But this large size and design comes with some drawbacks.
The shape of this laptop-style Chromebook feels good in the hand, but it’s a bit heavier compared to the more powerful touchscreen Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (1.7kg and 1.3kg respectively). There’s a sense of bulk to this Chromebook.
It’s hard to tell where this weight comes from, as the all-plastic Acer Chromebook 314 is heavier and heavier than the aluminum Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook (which isn’t my preferred Google Chromebook). One of the design choices this reminds me of is on the cheaper end of Chromebooks.
At the same time, the plastic finish is a little cheaper. The core of my test model is slightly skewed and off-kilter, meaning it has a distinct wobble when placed on a flat surface. The rear tire feet are firmly seated but the front left side is on the partition floor. Coupled with a refined trackpad, there’s a sense that some corners have been cut to bring the price down.
Fortunately, the keyboard itself is solid and sturdy, and shows good physical movement. This is where the Acer Chromebook 314 comes into its own in this price bracket (RRP is $249.99 / £249.99). This is a workhorse Chromebook that takes one or two, I tapped the keyboard during my testing and it didn’t disappoint. Note, this is an ‘elevated’ keyboard, so it will take some getting used to if you’re used to soft-touch or quiet high-end laptop keyboards.
Acer Chromebook 314 Review: Performance
For this review, I spent a week with the Acer Chromebook 314 running some basic art apps, such as the browser-based Sketchpad, and running the streaming services you want to use, like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. I also used Google’s various office applications such as Google Sheets and Google Docs.
The screen is decent, a 14-inch panel encased in a thick black bezel with a camera on top. The design is clean and uncluttered, but I have some complaints about the brightness and quality, especially if you’re using the Acer Chromebook 314 to do artwork. The 1366 x 768 pixel resolution is effectively 720p, which is fine for 14-inch video streaming but requires more interesting or serious visual tasks.
There’s heavy anti-reflection (courtesy of the ComfyView Matte finish) covering the screen. This is great for tasks like writing, notes or blogging and I actually find it good for watching video too, but again if you want to work with images and see true colors this is not the screen for you. The Acer Chromebook 314 touchscreen model with a full HD screen would be a better fit in this price range.
Since this Acer Chromebook 314 model does not have a touch screen, I connected the Intango Pablo tablet to the laptop. In its favor, this machine is not short on ports, and it places them well in parallel – the USB-C and USB-A ports are placed on both sides of the keyboard. While I found the USB-A ports a bit stiff, the USB-C is perfect, with fast (up to 5Gbps) connections and device charging.
The size of the screen and where Chrome OS comes into its own is in routine tasks like typing, browsing the web, and making reservations and participating in video calls. Multiple documents and tabs can be opened easily without any lag. Google has come a long way in recent years and the expansion of its office tools is on par with Microsoft, and this is the strength of a cheap and accessible laptop like the Acer Chromebook 314 – it’s versatile enough for student life and costs a lot less. One of the best Windows laptops.
I also used the Mozilla Kraken benchmark to test the Acer Chromebook 314’s browser speed. The Acer laptop scored 2349.8ms, which is okay. In comparison, our older Google Pixel scored 1378.9ms. As an addendum, my Apple MacBook Pro (2019) rated 1013ms. As a rule, the lower the number, the better the performance. It’s also worth noting that the Acer Chromebook 314 costs $750/£750 and $500/£500 less than the other laptops.
|Acer Chromebook 314||Google Pixelbook||Apple MacBook Pro (2019)|
|Jet Stream 2||48.9||77.5||121.6|
|Kraken||2349.8 ms||1378.9 ms||1013 ms|
Behind these stats, the Acer Chromebook 314 is practically a joy to pick up and use. The eight-second boot-up speed is impressive, and even better, you can close the lid and open it again without losing any work and the laptop restarts in less than a second. Again, the beauty of a cloud-based operating system is that all your work is saved continuously.
One downside to note, however, is the lack of a touchscreen. While touchscreens are relatively new on a PC laptop, they’re becoming more and more important on a Chromebook. Touchscreen Chromebooks allow you to download and use all Android apps, while non-touchscreen laptops like the Acer Chromebook 314 struggle with every app I’ve tested.
Acer Chromebook 314 review: Battery life
If I have some issues with the Acer Chromebook 314, battery life is not one of them. As a test, I streamed just under ten hours of video of the third season of Snowpiercer at 50% brightness and volume, and ran through the entire Snowy Sin Bin nonsense. Expect to get about 13 hours from a single full charge, which is what Acer promises.
If you’re working and not spending your days watching Netflix, that’s the equivalent of two days of continuous use, which is great if you’re going on a long trip or remote work. That time is tied to additional devices, such as the Intangbo Pablo drawing tablet and a second screen, but you’re still getting 10+ hours from this laptop.
Even if the battery dies, as mentioned, the Acer Chromebook 314 has enough ports to support fast charging via USB-C (it charges from zero to full in about two hours).
Acer Chromebook 314 Review: Price
The Acer Chromebook 314 sits at the lower end of the Chromebook market, RRP is $249.99 / £249.99 but you can expect to pay a lot less (around $179.99 / £199 on Amazon and Acer has regular 30% discounts).
It’s also worth checking which version you’re watching. I’m testing the 32GB flash memory model here, but there’s also a slightly more expensive 64GB flash memory version. Considering how this laptop is designed to store a lot of files in the cloud, you don’t need a large amount of memory. However, more Android apps are using on-device storage so you might want to pay a bit more. Note, the Acer Chromebook 314 has a microSD card slot, which can be done cheaply.
I’d say the Acer Chromebook 314 is worth considering for a non-touch model; The full HD screen greatly expands the usability and usability of this laptop. The touchscreen model is £50/£50 more expensive than the version I’m testing, so keep that in mind as it’s still cheaper than a comparable Windows PC or Mac.