The new Acer Chromebook 514 ($459.99) strikes a delicate balance. Looking for a Chromebook can leave you torn between bulky compacts made for K-12 classrooms and more stylish models whose prices seem a little steep for what amounts to a web browsing and Gmail machine. The Chromebook 514 costs less than $500 but is more potent than cheap Chromebooks for kids and has a battery life that lasts all day. Compared to Chromebooks powered by Intel or AMD, the 514’s ARM processor is a clear winner.
A High-Quality Design
c. It’s a 2022 model with an eight-core MediaTek Kompanio 828 processor, but other models with ARM and Intel Core CPUs are also available. The MediaTek MT8192T, the dual-core Intel Core i3-1115G4, and even the quad-core Intel Core i5-115G7 are among the silicon options. The top Intel systems range in price from $399 to $779. (To see how the Core i3-based Chromebook 514 performed in testing, see our recent review.
The Companion 828 model is similar in design to the Core i3 version, with 8GB of memory and 64GB of eMMC flash storage. The dimensions are nearly identical (0.66 by 12.7 by 8.9 inches, 2.87 pounds), as is the overall layout, from the thin-bezel display to the basic chiclet keyboard.
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Performance Without the Premium on the Acer Chromebook 514
I compared the Kompanio 828-powered Acer Chromebook 514 to a few other Chrome OS laptops for our testing. In addition to the Intel Core i3 model mentioned above, I included Chromebooks with comparable processing power, such as the Intel Celeron-based Dell Chromebook 11 and the Asus Chromebook Flip CM3, which uses a different MediaTek CPU. That left one spot for the Editors’ Choice award-winning Acer Chromebook Spin 713, allowing us to see how the Kompanio stacked up against a high-end Core i5 Chromebook. The specifications of the contenders are listed below.
- The first is Principled Technologies’ CrXPRT 2, which assesses everyday performance in applying photo effects, graphing a stock portfolio, analysing DNA sequences, and generating 3D shapes with WebGL.
- And our test unit delivered on battery life, not just finding a happy medium between the low-cost and high-end ends of the Chromebook market but also managing an 11-hour runtime that rivals the best in the category. That’s more than enough juice to get you through a full day of work or school without needing to bring along an AC adapter.
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Acer Chromebook 514 Pros and Cons
- Solidly built construction
- Outperforms most low-cost Chromebooks in terms of performance.
- Long battery life
- Includes padded carrying sleeve
- Slower than Chromebooks with Intel Core processors.
A Surprisingly Graceful Budget Play
The Kompanio 828-based Acer Chromebook 514 is an elegant machine that offers much of what you want in a premium Chromebook, including modern construction and relatively lively performance while remaining reasonably priced. At $459.99, it’s significantly less expensive than a $700 or more Intel Chromebook while handling everyday apps competently and providing hours of battery life. Although it is not the best Chromebook available, the Acer 514 may be the best midrange Chromebook under $500. This item is available on Amazon.