Chromebooks are basically budget machines that more often than not do not emphasize on the design. It is rare to find a Chromebook boasting of affordability, portability and a premium design all packed in a single Chromebook.
Google tried to bring the beautiful designs into the Chromebook world with the release of their much hyped Chromebook Pixel, but they failed to impress with its high price tag. The Acer Chromebook 14 comes into the picture with the expectations of filling up the design gap.
The Chromebook is housed in an aluminum alloy with a well sized keyboard and a premium look while remaining affordable. The Chrome OS based system is powered by a quad-core Intel Celeron N3160 processor clocked at 1.60 GHz, combined with 4 GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The display in this 14-nch Chromebook is also amazing with a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels thus offering good image quality.
Chromebook users already know what they want, so this is a system for users after basic computing such as web browsing, editing documents, emailing, streaming videos and watching movies who are not interested going for the Windows or Mac option.
The Acer Chromebook 14 exudes an air of class with the all-aluminum chassis, a brushed-metal shell, amid a pile of plastic competitors. The Chromebook measures 0.67 by 13.43 by 9.31 inches and weighs at 3.32 pounds, just like what we have seen on most laptops in this category.
The Toshiba Chromebook 2 CB35 comes in at 2.97 pounds and the Dell Chromebook 13 weighs at 3.23 pounds. Their lightness could be attributed to their smaller screens compared to the Chromebook 14.
The battery life of this Acer is part of its selling point for users who want a system to use all day without having to carry their charging adapter with them. Acer promises 12 hours of usage, but we were able to get 9hours and 30 minutes on our battery run down test while using wireless. The laptop yielded 12 hours for playing videos only. As such, you can comfortably expect around 10 hours of juice with mixed usage, which is ideally good at this price tag.
The Acer Chromebook 14 houses an Intel Celeron N3160 Quad-Core Processor clocked at 1.6GHz that can run up to 2.4GHZ. The processor is supported by 4GB LPDDR3 Onboard SDRAM Memory and integrated Intel Graphics.
The combination can comfortably handle a number of tasks such as streaming movies, editing documents, web browsing and playing music, things that are common among Chromebook users. As such, the Acer can comfortably load between 6 to 10 tabs and ply music or stream a video simultaneously without slowing down.
However, opening more tabs with a number of web apps running you will be pushing the Acer beyond its limits hence you will experience some lag. The system includes 32GB of internal storage that is barely enough for storage of necessary files. You will additionally receive 100GB of Google Drive storage service for two years hence you can access all your documents from anywhere so long as you are connected to the internet.
In terms of connectivity, the Chromebook 14 features two USB 3.0 ports for connecting to other devices and faster transfer of data. There is an HDMI port for extending the display to larger screens like HDTVs and Monitors to enjoy watching your movies or make a presentation.
There is also a headphone jack. Unfortunately, the Chromebook does not include an SD or MicroSD which could have come in handy to supplement the paltry 32GB storage. For now, users have to contend with the limited storage and learn to utilize the 100GB Google Drive storage provided.
Internet connectivity is available through 802.11a/b/g/n/ac connectivity for data and Bluetooth 4.2 compatibility for peripherals. This is spectacular considering that not all Chromebooks support Bluetooth, save for the latest standard.
The laptop comes with a 14-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels. The screen is sharp and bright unlike o what we were accustomed to on the smaller Chromebooks such as the Asus C202 which comes with a resolution of 1366 by 768 pixels.
The real-estate screen space is ideal for those into word processing documents or spreadsheets. You can as well enjoy your movies and streaming of videos with a sharper resolution that gives clear detail of the images.
The In-Plane Switching Technology allows you wide viewing angles up to 178 degrees hence you can sit at different angles with friends to watch a movie.
There is an HD webcam on top of the display so you can chat with friends and family via programs like Skype. You can comfortably use this laptop in a brightly lit room, thanks to the matte antiglare coating on the screen.
The acer comes with a standard non-backlit keyboard that is spacious enough but it feels shallow at times unlike its high end competitors. Typing on this Chromebook feels nice in as much as a more feedback while typing could be much appreciated. The search button replaces the Caps lock and there is no delete key, a common scenario on Chromebooks. The touchpad is also well sized with enough space for multi-touch gestures.
The Acer Chromebook 14 stands out from the crowd thanks to its brushed aluminum chassis and high resolution display. The Chromebook also comes with other niceties such as a beautiful design, a sturdy keyboard and a battery that promises to give you up to 12 hours of usage. The system is capable of handling day to day tasks having been fitted with an Intel Celeron N3160 Quad-Core Processor, 4 GB of system Memory and 32 GB of internal storage.
The Chromebook only faults on the lack of a MicroSD or SD slot for storage expansion and a keyboard that feels a bit stiff. Those who might want to scale down their budget with an ultraportable Windows Laptop, then they may consider the Dell Inspiron 11 300 series (3162).
All said, the Acer Chromebook 14 delivers a great, well-rounded experience thus giving you value for the money.