Acer Chromebook 514 (2022, Intel Core i3) review | Techy Kings


Back when Chromebooks were new, the idea of ​​a premium Chrome-powered laptop seemed ludicrous. Who would pay for a premium laptop that can’t even do half of what a cheap Windows machine can do? But the 2022 Acer Chromebook 514 ($679.99)’s sleek design and features combined with the latest version of Chrome OS, Android app support, and a relatively powerful processor make that question even more reasonable today. While not the best option we’ve seen for the money, it’s a compelling mix.

Style with some elements

Even before opening the Acer Chromebook 514, you might find yourself wondering if it’s actually a Chromebook. Of course, the Chromebook logo is clearly printed on the lid. But when you cast your gaze to the glittering gems and feel the luxurious aluminum lid or swipe at the 14-inch full HD touchscreen, you wonder if this isn’t a little more premium.

Well, as Chromebooks go, it is. it is. Quite a premium indeed, but you know what I mean. In a category long characterized by cheap plastic construction and marketing aimed solely at classroom kids, it’s easy to think this is anything but a well-built Intel Core i3-equipped laptop. Surely that backlit keyboard and touchpad on Gorilla Glass are indicators that this is a Windows machine, right? But that’s not what you’re thinking. This is a Chromebook.

Acer Chromebook 514 (Core i3) 14-inch touchscreen

(Photo: Brian Westover)

The laptop’s aluminum lid and reinforced plastic chassis are tough enough to survive Acer’s Chromebook’s MIL-STD-810H military-grade durability, even if only to survive waist-high drops and other emergencies. The 514 steel gray finish is sophisticated enough for an office environment, and it doesn’t look as baby-proofed as other rugged Chromebooks often do. No, this is a laptop for the adults in the room.

But the combination of the relatively heavy aluminum lid and lighter plastic base used in the Chromebook 514 means that this 0.76-by-12.7-by-8.7-inch laptop is unbalanced. The system’s 3.09-pound weight isn’t as over-the-top and spilling your drink as some designs we’ve seen, but it’s enough that it doesn’t feel as stable sitting on your lap or a table. It can protect from a 14-inch laptop.

Acer Chromebook 514 (Core i3) with aluminum lid

(Photo: Brian Westover)

But once you get used to the disproportionate weight, the Chromebook 514 sits like a regular member of the Chromebook family, for better or worse.

Ports and touch screen included.

When it comes to ports, the Chromebook 514 is a satisfying mix, with modern additions like two USB-C connections, DisplayPort over USB-C, Thunderbolt 4 and USB charging – both for charging the laptop and powering up your device. Phone or tablet.

Ports on the left side of the Acer Chromebook 514

(Photo: Brian Westover)

But you’ll find more traditional ports like a USB-A port for older storage devices and peripherals, a microSD card slot, and an HDMI-out port for connecting to a monitor or TV without an adapter. Throw in the headphone jack and case lock slot, and you’ve got a well-equipped laptop.

Ports on the right side of the Acer Chromebook 514

(Photo: Brian Westover)

The Acer Chromebook 514 includes touchscreen capability, which is not only a great addition for general use, but also an essential feature for using Android apps on the laptop.

But touch is only one aspect of the display. The IPS panel offers rich color and wide viewing angles, as well as good contrast and brightness. While Chrome OS doesn’t support our typical laptop display tests, it’s still easy to see that it’s better than the full HD panel on many of the lower-resolution screens found on less expensive models for students.

More improved Google Chrome OS

While Chrome was once designed to offer minimal support outside of the web browser, the latest version of Chrome has grown significantly. It’s still a browser-first experience, but the number of apps and extensions now available for Chrome can effectively replace the most common Windows software, and the addition of Android app support greatly expands the range of devices and services available through mobile. Planet Google.

Acer Chromebook 514 (Core i3) viewed from an angle.

(Photo: Brian Westover)

With popular cloud-based productivity tools from major players like Microsoft and Adobe and Google’s robust and growing collection of Google Drive-connected tools, Chrome has become a viable option for many users.

Chromebook 514: Testing Premium Core i3 Performance

Our Chromebook 514 review unit is the CB514-1WT-3481, which has a dual-core Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor, 8GB of memory, 128GB of SSD storage, and Intel UHD graphics.

If you want to increase the processing power, the Acer CB514-1W-5280 ($779.99) offers a Core i5-1135G7 CPU and Intel Iris Xe graphics, but no touchscreen. If you want the sleek looks of the Chromebook 514 but don’t want the power of the Core i3 model, there’s a less expensive model (CB514-2H-K3E7) that uses a MediaTek Kompanio 828 processor that retails for $399.99. We’ll have a review of this model soon if you want to compare performance and specs.

Between its sleek design and better-than-average Intel Core i3 processor, the Chromebook 514 promises to fare well against other Chrome-based laptops, but it faces stiff competition from similarly dressed models like the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 Chromebook 13. 2021), which also uses a Core i3. It should be better than those with less powerful CPUs like the Dell Chromebook 11 (3100) and HP Chromebook x360 14a that use Intel Celeron and Pentium chips. The Asus Chromebook Flip CM3 is a common choice for manufacturers looking to cut costs while ditching Intel for a completely out-of-the-box Chrome-based laptop.

But, more importantly, this set of competitors shows the breadth of the Chromebook category. Once made entirely of small chassis and screens and cheap designs, it has since grown to include more premium materials, sophisticated 2-in-1 designs, and hardware ranging from lackluster to luxe.

We run three benchmark tests on machines running Chrome, ChromeOS, Android, and online performance. The first is Principled Technologies’ CrXPRT, a suite of Chrome OS productivity apps that measures how quickly a system can perform routine tasks like applying photo effects, mapping a stock portfolio, analyzing DNA sequences, and generating 3D shapes using WebGL.

Here, the Acer 514’s Intel Core i3 processor delivered the best results we’ve seen, beating the similarly equipped Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 and outpacing less powerful competitors from Dell, Asus and HP by a mile.

The second test is UL’s PCMark for Android Work 3.0, which performs various productivity tasks in a smartphone-style window. The test simulates productivity tasks ranging from text and image editing to data charting and video playback, and spits out a numerical score at the end.

Acer shows its chops again in PCMark with 11,587 points and 11,587 points, neck and neck with Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 (11,684 points). While most systems struggle to reach the 10,000-point threshold, the Acer Chromebook 514 still delivers one of the highest scores of any Chromebook we’ve tested, thanks to its powerful CPU and healthy RAM allocation.

Finally, Basemark Web 3.0 combines low-level JavaScript calculations with CSS and WebGL content to run in a web browser, making it a good test for Chrome. It calculates the result into a numerical score, higher numbers are better.

A similar performance difference was seen on Basemark Web 3.0, where most Chromebooks lag behind by hundreds of points. The only outlier is the Core i3-powered Lenovo, which creeps ahead, but not by much.

The two more specific benchmarks we work on focus on processing and graphics performance, respectively. The first is the Android version of Primate Labs’ Gekbench, which scores using simulated applications covering real-world applications ranging from PDF translation and speech recognition to machine learning.

Another is GFXBench 5.0, which measures graphics performance in both low-end routines, while GFXBench 5.0 simulates graphics and calculates shadows, in frames per second (fps).

The Chromebook 514 leads the pack in both Geekbench and GFXBench, with better processing and graphics than systems using Intel’s Celeron or Pentium chips, or MediaTek’s lower-power processors. But it edges it ahead of the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5, which uses the same model’s Core i3 processor. The Acer takes the lead with a higher Geekbench score, but even in the graphics-focused GFXBench test, the Lenovo managed 2 to 4 frames per second.

Side profile of the Acer Chromebook 514 (Core i3).

(Photo: Brian Westover)

Finally, we test battery life with a portable video file, at 720p resolution. With the laptop down to 50% brightness and Wi-Fi disabled, we unplug the fully charged laptop and run the video over and over again until the battery runs out.

And here the Acer really excels, with a battery life of nearly 12 in our run test. While it’s not a perfect simulation of full-day use, it still makes it clear that you can get through school hours or make a full charge without plugging yourself into an outlet or even bringing a power adapter. along with.

Beauty and brains, but at a premium

There’s no denying that this new Core i3 version of the Acer Chromebook 514 is good, if a little expensive. From its stunning design to its top-notch performance, it’s premium power…for a Chromebook. It competes with the best in its category, but that category will always have interesting limitations due to the nature of Chrome OS itself.

The slick Chromebook 514 is one of the best out there, but that makes the competition tough—and while it offers some decent performance and battery life for a Core i3-powered laptop, it’s up against the likes of the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 Chromebook (2021). ) and Editors’ Choice winner Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (2022). And in that equation, it comes in a little too expensive and not enough power to justify that extra cost. Still, if you’re ready to splash out on a fancy Chromebook, it’s a well-built machine that won’t disappoint.

Acer Chromebook 514 (2022, Intel Core i3)

Bottom line

The Chromebook 514’s Acer’s Core i3 refresh combines luxury with solid performance and features, and it’s topped off with great battery life.

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