HomeBlogREVIEWAcer Chromebook 514 (CB514-1W) evaluation: Impressively good worth

Acer Chromebook 514 (CB514-1W) evaluation: Impressively good worth

For producers, mid-range Chromebooks are at all times a balancing act. The low-resolution screens and weedy processors of the finances fashions received’t be accepted at a £400 to £500 value level however go too far with the display screen or the specification and also you begin hitting premium Chromebook territory.

What makes the newest Acer Chromebook CB514-1W so fascinating is that it will get you very near the premium expertise with out sacrificing affordability. With one caveat we’ll get to later, it’s nearly as good a Chromebook as you’ll be able to look forward to finding for £400.

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Acer Chromebook CB514-1W evaluation: What you could know

Acer has been doling out variants of the mid-range Chromebook CB514-1W for few years now, they usually’ve usually fallen into two sorts.

The cheaper fashions have suffered from sluggish, outdated Intel Celeron processors and poor, low-resolution screens.

The costlier fashions have had higher, Full HD 1080p shows however typically had weak internals. The Chromebook CB514-1W makes neither mistake. It has an aesthetic chassis, a good 14in, 1080p display screen and one in all Intel’s latest Eleventh-generation Pentium Gold 7505 processors. What’s extra, it comes with some options you may not anticipate, together with assist for Wi-Fi 6, two Thunderbolt 4 ports and a built-in fingerprint reader.

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Acer Chromebook CB514-1W evaluation: Value and competitors

There’s some first rate competitors at this value level. The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i is £30 costlier however comes with an Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor, a 13.3in display screen and a 2-in-1 convertible design.

There’s a model of the HP Chromebook x360 for a similar cash however with a slower, older Pentium Silver N6000 CPU. The opposite clear rival is the 4GB model of the Acer Chromebook Spin 513, which makes use of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7c processor somewhat than an Intel chip. We’ll get to how the 2 examine later however the CB514-1W on evaluation is weaker in some respects whereas being barely stronger in others.

Acer Chromebook CB514-1W evaluation: Design

One factor the Chromebook CB514-1W has in frequent with the Spin 513 is that neither appears or appears like a sub-£500 gadget. Look carefully, and also you’ll discover the deck across the keyboard is a metallic plastic somewhat than the gunmetal alloy of the lid but it surely feels sturdy and well-fitted to the curved edges and shallow physique.

The last-generation 514 really had an aluminium keyboard deck however with some odd sharp edges and a careless be a part of to the plastic base. The extra plastic-heavy revision is arguably an enchancment.

What you received’t get with the CB514-1W are any of the Spin 513’s versatile 2-in-1 convertible tips. It’s a normal clamshell-design laptop computer and it doesn’t also have a touchscreen. Nevertheless, Acer’s streamlined design and slim bezels hold the scale right down to a 323 x 220mm desktop footprint, a 20mm most thickness and it weighs a mere 1.4kg. Used both on the lap or on the desk, it’s a really comfy and efficient productiveness machine, constructed to get issues carried out.

The connectivity mirrors a few of Acer’s higher-end Chromebooks and is surprisingly beneficiant. On the left edge are two USB Kind-C ports that assist Thunderbolt 4, together with a 3.5mm audio jack and an HDMI output. On the best, there’s a USB-A 3.1 port and a microSD card slot.

The icing on the cake is the Wi-Fi 6 connectivity. That is nonetheless removed from a given on mid-range and finances Chromebooks and it ensures you may get , quick connection anyplace across the residence, offered you’ve upgraded your community with 802.11ax package as properly.

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Acer Chromebook CB514-1W evaluation: Keyboard and touchpad

I haven’t been persistently impressed by the standard of Acer Chromebook keyboards – there have been some horrifically mushy efforts via the years – however the CB514-1W’s keyboard is definitely fairly good.

There isn’t an entire lot of journey, however the really feel is agency with extra tactile suggestions than the keyboard on the Spin 513, with a barely crisper motion than the Acer Chromebook Spin 713. There’s no nasty flexing within the centre whenever you’re typing and no terrible structure decisions, both.

The trackpad is even higher. It’s topped with Gorilla Glass, measures 105 by 65mm, and is tough to fault each for monitoring pointer actions and for registering swipes and faucets. It’s one other space the place the CB514-1W feels costlier than it’s.

Just under the bottom-right nook of the keyboard there’s additionally a fingerprint reader, which can be utilized to unlock the Chromebook when it’s gone to sleep. It’s straightforward to arrange and works properly in apply, though – for safety causes that baffle me – you’ll be able to solely unlock your Chromebook with it from standby. It received’t work when first turning on the CB514-1W from chilly, or in the event you’ve manually signed out.

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Acer Chromebook CB514-1W evaluation: Show and sound

Right here’s one other nice shock: the display screen is surprisingly good. Earlier 514 Chromebooks I’ve checked out have both had grainy, uninteresting HD screens or barely dim Full HD shows however the display screen on the CB514-1W is comparatively sharp and brilliant.

I measured the max brightness at 274cd/m2 and distinction at an affordable 1,095:1 and, whereas these figures aren’t nice by the requirements of your common £699 or extra laptop computer, they’re considerably higher than most different sub-£500 Chromebooks. It’s a advantageous display screen for informal Netflix or YouTube viewing, Google Stadia gaming or onerous work.

The place it falls quick is color. For a begin, it could actually solely reproduce 61% of the sRGB gamut, so in the event you’re on the lookout for wealthy and correct colors, you’re not going to seek out them right here. The common Delta E color variance measure of 5.78 isn’t really that dangerous, however anybody desirous to edit images or video at a critical stage will nonetheless must go upmarket.

As for the audio system, they go surprisingly loud at peak volumes however that’s the place the excellent news ends. The output is boxy, harsh and a bit carrying on the ears at something above the midway mark.

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Acer Chromebook CB514-1W evaluation: Efficiency and battery life

We’ve seen plenty of Chromebooks with Intel Core i3 processors and a good few with the previous, low-end Pentium N vary however not many with the more moderen Pentium Gold or Silver CPUs.

Let’s hope the 514-1W is an indication of issues to return, as a result of it seems to be a candy possibility. Speeds are under the degrees of the Eleventh Gen Intel Core i3 Chromebooks we’ve examined not too long ago however an enormous enchancment on Celeron and Pentium N gadgets, because of the two-core, four-thread setup and three.5GHz max burst velocity.

The CB514-1W scored 922 within the single-core Geekbench 5 64-bit benchmark and 2071 in multi-core, placing it behind the Core i3-based Spin 713 at 1161 and 2600 however means in entrance of the Pentium N-based Chromebook 514, which scored 342 and 1,237. Within the extra rigorous BaseMark and CRXprt benchmarks the distinction was much more marked, with the 514-1W scoring 881 and 127 respectively, the place the previous mannequin scored 267 and 48.

This distinction is noticeable typically use. Whereas the CB514-1W has solely 4GB of RAM, it nonetheless feels slick and speedy, leaping from browser tab to browser tab and Net-based app to Net-based app and not using a hitch, and coping properly when there are a dozen browser tabs open and competing for assets.

Sadly, there’s one draw back to this sooner spec and display screen superiority, and that’s under par battery life. We’re getting fairly nonchalant now about Chromebooks lasting twelve hours or extra, so having a Chromebook that runs out of juice after simply 7hr 8mins of looping video playback comes as a shock.

It’s one thing I’d be prepared to reside with given the standard of the gadget elsewhere, however in the event you want a Chromebook with stamina, look elsewhere. In reality, the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 can be place to begin: though it lags behind the 514-1W on on a regular basis efficiency, its battery lasted over three and a half hours longer in the identical video take a look at.

Acer Chromebook CB514-1W evaluation: Verdict

Up to some extent, the Chromebook CB514-1W rewrites the foundations for mid-range Chromebooks. It’s low-cost, it appears good, it has wonderful connectivity and it’s greater than quick sufficient for many functions and the display screen is without doubt one of the greatest I’ve seen for beneath £500, too.

It’s solely battery life that disappoints so the choice over whether or not to purchase one or not comes right down to priorities. Should you want a slimmer, lighter, extra versatile Chromebook to be used totally on the transfer, the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 edges forward, however in the event you’re on the lookout for a steadiness of value, efficiency and nice usability, the CB514-1W is the very best mid-range Chromebook of the second.

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