Acer Chromebook 14 Review

The Year of Desktop Linux ;)

As we predicted the Chromebook market will get more interesting over the next several months. Both Acer and HP kicked up the heat, each announcing a new flagship business device. Acer went for extra credit and also announced a flagship consumer device. Here’s a glance at all three:

Make Model Battery Claim Cost
Acer Chromebook 14 for Work 14 Hours $450
HP Chromebook 13 14 Hours $500
Acer Chromebook 14 12 Hours $300



Acer sent us the last model on that list, the Acer Chromebook 14 this week. Here’s our take:


Clone Wars

The Acer Chromebook 14 design is heavily inspired by the Macbook Air 13″. A decade ago Apple explained to the world what a laptop should look like. Almost everyone listened (you stay strong, Thinkpad Design Team) and each year the usual players have lobbed up their version of the Air. The ArCB14 differs from the Air in unsurprising ways: it’s bigger and heavier, the lid has a brushed metal finish, and the port layout.

For a cost of $300, we’ll not only give them a pass but we’ll include a high five.

Real Materials

Acer has strayed from a long history of plastic production and just like the Air, went with real metal. It’s not quite machined from a single block of aluminum and feels almost like a veneer but At $300, that’s pretty rare and makes for a pretty device. While still having the slightest bit of flex to the chassis it’s still reaps the reward of feeling like a cold and solid metal laptop.

We could go into detail on all the design choices, but as mentioned above it appears to be just one design choice at Acer, “Let’s make a Chromebook version of the Macbook Air.”

Here’s some shots:

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Passable Trackpad

Each year the non-Apple market gets steadily louder trackpad complaints. Macbook trackpads set the standard not only on the tactile front but on OS-integrated smarts, such as ignoring unintentional taps and brushes. Acer seems to have given the crowd some attention here as the trackpad is fairly good. They’ve avoided the urge to try something goofy, such as a rough texture, etched scrollbars, etc. Whether you’re a tap to click or click to click fan, you’ll be good with this pointing device.

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Good Internals

A decade ago, having a office workstation with an Intel Celeron usually meant three things:

  1. The user hated their slow computer.
  2. IT hated trying to help the user with their slow computer.
  3. The company saved a good $200 on the purchase.

Fortunately for future Acer Chromebook 14 owners, they’ll need to try pretty hard to bog down their machine. The N3160 Celeron in the Acer Chromebook 14 zips through browser windows, chomps through heavy javascript, and feels like a great chip underneath Chrome OS.

There’s a similar theme with the amount of 4GB of RAM in the Acer Chromebook 14. 4GB of RAM in a 2016 laptop seems low but combined with Chrome OS and fast storage, it’s plenty. In the rare case that the quantity becomes a bottleneck, paging to speedy storage in this case essentially wipes away the whole concern.

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Acer Chromebook 14 Review Summary

At a $300 price tag this is a great piece of equipment, especially when considering it’s got a 1080p display. It’s fantastic for folks heavy in the Google ecosystem, but also great for those reliant upon Microsoft tools as well. We’re giving it a thumbs up.

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