With the best Chromebooks, we’ve seen a larger variety of features and power levels than we’ve seen with other models. Chromebooks with Ryzen processors have made their way into the market and proven to be just as successful as those with Intel processors, and detachable have made an appearance with the Lenovo Duet and now the ASUS CM3, and just over a year after we saw the introduction of 10th Gen Intel processors in Chromebooks, we’re seeing the introduction of our first 11th Gen Intel processors into Chromebooks like the Acer Chromebook 514.
Another notable feature of the Acer Chromebook 514 is that it is one of the very, very few Chromebooks to launch with Thunderbolt 4 connections rather than standard USB-C ports. This means that the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 is capable of 40Gbps data transfers and can now be used with a metric crapton of docking stations, external drives, and other peripherals that were previously only available for Macs and higher-end Windows laptops, such as the Microsoft Surface Pro 3.
|Processor||Intel Pentium N4200|
|Processor Speed||1.1 GHz|
|RAM (as Tested)||8 GB|
|Boot Drive Type||eMMC Flash Memory|
|Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested)||64 GB|
|Screen Size||14 inches|
|Native Display Resolution||1920 by 1080|
|Variable Refresh Support||None|
|Screen Refresh Rate||60 Hz|
|Graphics Processor||Intel HD Graphics 505|
|Wireless Networking||802.11ac, Bluetooth|
|Dimensions (HWD)||0.7 by 12.7 by 9.1 inches|
|Operating System||Google Chrome OS|
As the first Thunderbolt Chromebook I’ve had the pleasure of testing out, the Acer Chromebook 514 has shown to be a welcome addition to the Chromebook lineup. As a result of the Mac-like configuration, your USB-C hub or docking station will be required to be plugged in on the left side of the Chromebook. However, Thunderbolt is the preferred spec for most high-quality docking stations because it supports twice the data transfer speed, allowing you to connect more peripherals and external displays with a single cable.
When I tested it, I tried it with a variety of docking stations, USB-C hubs by Aukey and Uni, as well as a Dell UltraSharp 27 USB-C Hub Monitor, and it worked flawlessly with all of them save for a handful of occasions where pass-through charging was not detected by the system. If you want something other than Thunderbolt, there is also an HDMI connector, one USB-A port, and a microSD card slot, but it is unlikely that you will need it with most of 514 configurations, which have internal storage ranging from 64GB to 256GB. For anyone who expects to utilize a big number of Linux programs, Android applications, or to store a significant amount of downloaded content for those 12-hour transcontinental trips, this is fantastic news!
With regard to long trips, while the Acer Chromebook 514 would probably not last you a full 12 hours on a single charge, I’ve been getting 7-9 hours per charge in my use over the previous several weeks. The brightness of the screen is always a consideration, but I maintained it between 30 and 40% for most of my testing. It was significantly easier to use this screen outside because it was a non-touch type, and the matte coating made it slightly simpler to do so. However, the screen’s brightness is still just 250 nits, so you’ll want to keep it in the shade. If you require a Chromebook that is bright enough to be used outside, the 450-nit Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is the model for you.
The power available for the Acer Chromebook 514 is more than enough — but it is also totally dependent on whatever configuration you choose, which is quite costly. If you want to use this Chromebook for full-time work, I strongly advise you to get an Intel Core i3 or a better processor. Also, if you need to use your Chromebook to perform actual work while on video chats, I recommend getting a model with 8GB of RAM. Video calls may take up a lot of resources.
Due to the fact that this is a business-grade Chromebook, the options allow organizations to reduce costs by skipping more storage and a touch screen. The 514 comes with three different screen configurations, however only one of them is touch-enabled. This was my first non-touchscreen Chromebook in about a year, and I’ll be the first to confess that I’ve been a little spoilt by the experience.
Using the same logic, it’s tough to accept the idea of $600 Chromebooks lacking a touchscreen, especially given touchscreens are standard on so many models these days. Just do yourself a favor and purchase a touchscreen device; this will make engaging with applications and games a much more pleasant experience overall.
More Chromebooks with 11th Generation Intel CPUs are starting to appear, but for the time being, the Acer Chromebook 514 is going up against the HP Pro c640, and the Acer comes out on top in every area, from performance to battery life to screen quality. The HP x360 14c is a far superior rival, and it has the advantage of being a 2-in-1 that can be used from a wider range of angles.
Some of the most formidable competition for the 514 comes from within the Acer lineup: the Acer Chromebook Spin 514, which is less expensive thanks to its Ryzen processor and more flexible thanks to its 2-in-1 format, and the new Acer Chromebook Spin 713, which went on sale last week and has a significantly better 2K touchscreen, better speakers, and the same 11th Gen processors and Thunderbolt ports as the 514.
The Acer Chromebook 514 has the battery life to last for seven to eight hours, which is equivalent to a full working day.
The Geekbench 4 battery benchmark, which simulates normal PC use in the background with the display’s brightness locked at 150 nits, produced a result of seven hours and 21 minutes when run in the background. That is extremely consistent with what I observed on a day-to-day basis. If you are able to tolerate lowering the screen’s brightness to less than 150 nits, you can extend the screen’s life even more.
If you’re going to be working away from a power outlet for an extended period of time, the good news is that the Acer Chromebook 514 only takes approximately 90 minutes to completely recharge. After an hour on the mains, I was able to fill the tank to around 73-75 percent of its capacity from empty.
Everything else about this device leaves a lot to be desired, except for the battery life. Overall, performance is disappointing, the display is only OK, and the trackpad is a source of frustration. We were expecting more at this price. That is the core of the problem with the Acer Chromebook 514: it is too small. Despite the fact that it is priced to compete with luxury laptops, the laptop does not live up to expectations.
It is expected that expectations would rise if the Chromebook 514 is offered at a lower price point. However, this is not the case, regrettably. For the same money, you can purchase a Chromebook that is considerably more powerful and competent. In comparison to the Chromebook Flip, it’s difficult to suggest the 514.
- Excellent battery life.
- Touch display looks great.
- Comfortable backlit keyboard.
- Big touchpad.
- OK speakers
- Processor need update