Home Tech Acer’s Chromebook Plus 514 is an affordable laptop with many capabilities

Acer’s Chromebook Plus 514 is an affordable laptop with many capabilities

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Front view of an open black laptop computer sitting on a desk with an image of a large rock partially submerged in the ocean in...

Last year, Google unveiled a new “Chromebook Plus” label, ensuring Chromebooks meet specific requirements Hardware requirements so that they have a certain threshold of quality and, more importantly, a starting price of $400. It has been quite successful. Chromebooks from companies like Acer and Lenovo do well for the price: functional, affordable hardware that gets the job done.

Acer Chromebook Plus 514 (model CB514-4H/T) is yet another laptop that achieves this goal. The name of this specific model doesn’t roll off the tongue, but it indicates that this is the Intel-powered model not to be confused with the AMD-powered Chromebook Plus 514 (CB514-3H/T) the company launched last fall. It’s a bit confusing, and it doesn’t help that there’s also the similarly named Acer Chromebook Plus 515, which is similarly priced but has a larger screen and slightly different processor.

Photography: Daniel Thorp-Lancaster

Despite the slight differences in port selection and screen ratio between the Intel and AMD variants of the Chromebook Plus 514, they are expected to perform largely the same. The hard work on this machine is done by a powerful 13th Gen Intel Core i3-N305 processor, which is on par with other Chromebook Plus models and a nice step up from Chromebooks from previous years. Combined with the 8GB of RAM and a 512GB solid-state drive in the CB514-4HT-359X configuration that Acer sent me for this review, you have a pretty fast machine for school and work. This model It’s only $350 at Costcoand interestingly, the 128 GB model is most expensive on Amazon for $380.

Chrome OS is designed to be lightweight, and subsequently, the Core i3-N305 processor handles most tasks with ease. My daily ritual of typing in Google Docs while watching YouTube videos with several other tabs open never felt slow or unresponsive. Battery life has held up, allowing me to get through eight-hour workdays, usually with an hour or two of battery life to spare.

Despite taking them out of the cloud, Google Photos edits feel very responsive. I had a lot of fun using the built-in editor to modify my (many) cat photos, and the video edits were almost instant. Just keep in mind that this largely depends on the speed of your Internet connection to extract photos and videos from your cloud storage, so your experience may vary.

I’ve never been drawn to touch on laptops, but I liked the Chromebook Plus 514’s 14-inch touchpad. Chrome OS lends itself to the touch, and the smooth matte screen feels great to use under your fingertips (plus it doesn’t leave fingerprints). In my week of testing, I constantly looked for a better selection when editing photos in the Google Photos app or when I wanted to scroll more precisely through YouTube.

My only disappointment is that this is not a convertible laptop. The ability to rotate the screen to turn it into a quasi-tablet would make using touch more comfortable (and fun), so the foldable design is a bit limiting. On the plus side, the hinge allows the back of the screen to extend down a bit when opened, resting it on your table or lap for a more comfortable angle.

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