Acer Chromebook 514 (2022, Kompanio 828) review | Techy Kings

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The latest Acer Chromebook 514 ($459.99) pulls off a tricky balancing act. If you’re in the market for a Chromebook, you may find yourself struggling to decide between the chunky compacts made for K-12 classrooms and the fancier models that seem a little more expensive when it comes to Internet browsing and Gmail. But for under $500, the Chromebook 514 looks as good as any premium laptop, offers all-day battery life, and is more powerful than budget Chromebooks for kids. Of course, while other Chromebooks are slower than the Intel or AMD processors we’ve tested, the 514 is the one we recommend.


Premium design

The Acer Chromebook 514 (model CB514-2HT-K0FZ) shown here is part of a larger lineup of Chromebooks that carry the 514 designation. It’s a 2022 model with an octa-core MediaTek Companio 828 processor, but other models are available that use both ARM and Intel Core CPUs. Silicon choices include the MediaTek MT8192T, dual-core Intel Core i3-1115G4 and quad-core Intel Core i5-115G7. Prices range from $399 to $779 for high-end Intel systems. (See our recent review of the Core i3-based Chromebook 514 to see how it performed in testing.)

Acer Chromebook 514 aluminum lid

(Photo: Molly Flores)

Equipped with 8GB of memory and 64GB of eMMC flash storage, the Companio 828 model is similar in design to the Core i3 version. The dimensions are very similar (0.66 by 12.7 by 8.9 inches, 2.87 pounds), and the overall layout is the same, from the thin-bezel display to the basic chiclet keyboard. One notable, but notable difference, is the absence of a drop hinge to propel the laptop during use. The Companio processor doesn’t generate the same amount of heat as the original Intel chip, and this difference allows the laptop to sit flat on the desk and have smaller holes in the chassis.

Acer’s aluminum build is solid and feels more luxurious than you’d expect from a sub-$500 Chromebook. The bare aluminum has a silver finish, and the edges have a decorative chamfer around the corners and a handy cutout below the touchpad to keep the deck’s edge from digging into your wrist.

Acer Chromebook 514 below

(Photo: Molly Flores)

The chassis itself uses a mixture of aluminum and polycarbonate on the lid for the base and the keyboard. However, unlike the Core i3 Chromebook 514, the balance is much better, and the laptop doesn’t seem ready to tip in the slightest.

That stability comes in handy with the 14-inch Full HD display’s touch capability. It’s useful for anyone who wants to use Android apps on their Chromebook, whether it’s for productivity or gaming. And the system has a sealed handle for transportation.

Acer Chromebook 514 keyboard and touchpad

(Photo: Molly Flores)

On either side of the keyboard is a grill for the Chromebook’s built-in stereo speakers, and below the keyboard is a generous touchpad covered in Corning Gorilla Glass. Both the keyboard and touchpad provide an adequate user experience, and the backlight makes it easy to see what the keyboard is doing even in dark environments.

Overall, the Acer 514 has a very basic design, but is extremely functional and straightforward. The webcam above the screen includes a bright green indicator light, so there’s never any question whether your camera is on or off. The webcam’s 720p sensor delivers good image capture, but colors look a little washed out, and high contrast isn’t great for handling light.

Acer Chromebook 514 left ports

(Photo: Molly Flores)

Port selection is not as generous as we would like. On the left side you’ll find a single USB 3.2 Type-C port for the laptop as a charging port, along with a USB Type-A port and a combined headphone/earphone audio jack.

Acer Chromebook 514 right ports

(Photo: Molly Flores)

On the right side is a single USB-C port. That added HDMI video output and SD card slot isn’t as powerful as the Core i3 model we sampled.


More mature Chrome OS

Chrome OS has grown exponentially over the years, not just in terms of its users — it overtook Apple’s macOS last year — but as a relatively solid laptop experience.

Chrome’s environment is still online, relying on cloud-based apps like Google Workspace rather than locally stored software, but that paradigm has expanded to include all kinds of productivity and management tools, making it an ideal choice for casual commuters. Business professionals.

Cloud apps and Chrome browser extensions take the place of most traditional programs, but the addition of Android support makes Chromebooks a challenge for mobile users who rely on their smartphones for work and play, bringing all kinds of devices to bear through the Google Play Store.

At this point, if you’re willing to be flexible about which devices you use to get to the finished product, you can do everything you need to do with a Chromebook (except for professional workstation apps).


Testing the Acer Chromebook 514: Performance without the premium

For testing, I compared the Companio 828-powered Acer Chromebook 514 to a few other Chrome OS laptops. In addition to the aforementioned Intel Core i3 variant, I’ve included Chromebooks with similar processing power, such as the Intel Celeron-based Dell Chromebook 11 and the Asus Chromebook Flip CM3, which uses a different MediaTek CPU. That leaves one spot for the Editors’ Choice award-winning Acer Chromebook Spin 713, so we can see how the Companio stacks up against the top-end Core i5 Chromebook. Below you can see the details of the contestants.

For Chromebook performance testing, we rely on three benchmarks—one native to Chrome OS, one based on Android, and one online only. The first is Principled Technologies’ CrXPRT 2, which measures everyday performance on a variety of common tasks, including applying photo effects, designing stock portfolios, analyzing DNA sequences, and creating 3D shapes using WebGL.

The second test, UL PCMark for Android, runs several productivity metrics on a smartphone-style window. Finally, Basemark Web 3.0 is a browser-based test that combines low-level JavaScript calculations with CSS and WebGL content to measure online productivity, which is central to the Chromebook experience. Higher scores are better at all three.

The 514’s MediaTek Kompanio processor outperformed low-end processors from Asus and Dell. But it couldn’t match Acer’s beefier Intel Core CPUs, which delivered higher scores across the board and were priced higher.

Next, we test the Chromebook’s CPU and GPU performance using Primate Labs’ Geekbench and GFXBench 5.0, respectively. The first simulates real-world applications ranging from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine learning to multi-core processors. The second is the laptop’s integrated graphics for testing graphics and calculating shadows for both low-level, texturing and high-level, game-like rendering and results measured in frames per second (fps).

Finally, to test the battery, we grab a 720p video of the open source Blender movie. Tear of steel Screen brightness at 50%, volume at 100%, and Wi-Fi and keyboard backlight disabled until the system shuts down. For Chromebooks like the 514, whose local storage is too small to hold the file, we play the video from an external SSD plugged into the USB port.

Again, we see performance that outpaces the less expensive Chromebook CPUs but trails the Core i3 and Core i5 systems. The MediaTek Kompanio 828 offers a good middle ground for users who want good performance without the premium you pay for a more powerful Intel chip.

And our test unit really delivered on battery time, not finding a middle ground between the cheap and premium Chromebook category but managing an 11-hour run that matches the best in the category. This will give you more than enough juice to get you through a full day of work or school without bringing the AC adapter with you.

Acer Chromebook 514 right angle

(Photo: Molly Flores)


Amazing posh budget game

Based on the Kompanio 828, the Acer Chromebook 514 brings to the table a machine that offers a lot of what you want in a premium Chromebook, including a sleek build and relatively good performance, but still at a budget-friendly price. At $459.99, it’s more affordable than the $700 or more Intel Chromebook, handling everyday applications efficiently and boasting hours of battery life. It’s not the best Chromebook you can buy, but this Acer 514 might be the best mid-range Chromebook under $500.

Acer Chromebook 514 (2022, Kompanio 828)

Bottom line

The Acer Chromebook 514 with an ARM Kompanio processor offers a stylish design and above-average battery life at an affordable price.

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