Almost the complete package for Chrome OS – Phandroid
Even if the kids aren’t out of school for the summer, it’s time to start thinking about the next school year, which means we’re going to see a lot more Chromebooks available soon. One of those options is the new Acer Chromebook Spin 514, which was recently released through Best Buy and uses AMD Ryzen chipsets which aim to provide an improvement by comparing price to performance. We’ve spent some time with Acer’s latest offering, so how does it work and should you consider it for yourself or as a recommendation for someone else? Let’s find out.
Acer Chromebook Spin 514 review: specifications and price
When you first take out Acer’s Chromebook Spin 514, you might not even recognize that it’s a Chromebook at first. Well, at least until you see the Chrome logo that is found on every other Chromebook. But seriously, it looks like one of those awesome ultrabooks that have hit the market left and right.
Before we dive into our experiences with the Spin 514, here’s a breakdown of the specs:
Specifications such as reviews:
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3500C
- Operating system: Chrome OS
- Memory: 8 GB DDR4
- Storage: 128 GB eMMC
- Display: 14 inch IPS, 1920 x 1080 resolution, 16: 9 aspect ratio, multi-touch LCD display
- Graphic: AMD Radeon Vega 8
- Battery: 56 Wh
- Webcam: 120p
- Security: Kensington lock slot
- Keyboard: Backlit
- Connectivity: 802.11AX (2 x 2) and Bluetooth 5.0
For the frame and construction, Acer uses aluminum for the majority of the laptop, with some chrome trim (no pun intended) around the screen and keyboard. The Acer logo on the top of the lid offers the same finish, providing a bit of shine whenever the light catches it. Acer states that the Chromebook Spin 514 has successfully passed MIL-810H testing to avoid shock, vibration, and extreme temperatures in the environment. It’s quite impressive and makes it a great choice if you travel a lot or maybe for that student who tends to be brutal with their electronics.
When it comes to connectivity, the Chromebook Spin 514 doesn’t disappoint, as you’ll find just about anything you can think of here. On the left side you’ll find a USB-C 3.2 port for power, a standard USB-A 3.2 port, a headphone jack, and even a microSD card slot which will probably come in handy. Oh, and there’s a power button with an LED indicator to let you know when the Spin 514 has been fully charged and you’re not actively using it.
Moving to the right side, and we have a security lock slot at the top (again great for students and travelers), another USB-C 3.2 port, a volume rocker when you put it in tablet mode and an HDMI port. It’s not more often that you see a full-size HDMI port on a laptop, especially a port as thin as this. In fact, there really isn’t much space between the edges of the port and the keyboard itself.
Keyboard and touchpad
I’m just going to go out and say this now. I’m a fan of a great keyboard, and if a laptop or accessory includes a shoddy keyboard, it’s likely to end up relegated to my pile of poor electronics. But typing and using the keyboard on the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 is an absolute dream to type on. The buttons offer just enough feedback to make it seem like I’m not pushing against the underlying mechanics, and quite the opposite compared to my 2019 MacBook Pro. Instead, it looks more like what you’ll find with it. Apple’s new Magic Keyboard, including the Magic Keyboard available for the iPad Pro.
The fact that it has an LED backlight adds to the fun of using this keyboard. This can be adjusted via the row of functions at the top, but having a backlit keyboard is extremely handy, especially if you tend to work late at night like I do. Acer really nailed the keyboard here, which made my issues with the trackpad even more frustrating.
Functionally, there is nothing wrong with the trackpad on the Spin 514. It works as you would expect from any other trackpad, and is large enough that I don’t feel no need to use a bluetooth mouse instead. It’s a bit cramped on a 14in screen, but it still stretches wider than the space bar, so there’s really nothing limiting it in that regard.
My biggest problem was clicking or tapping on the trackpad throughout the day. Every now and then I would press down on the trackpad, only so that the Spin 514 wouldn’t recognize what I had done. When using the Spin 514, it didn’t matter where on the trackpad I clicked, it just didn’t register the random click, forcing me to try again. It’s not a snap, but it’s a frustration that I wish I wasn’t present on an otherwise stellar typing experience.
Display and sound
Acer has integrated a 14-inch 1080p touchscreen into the Chromebook Spin 514, while sporting a 16: 9 aspect ratio. While we might have liked seeing something like a 3: 2 display for those productivity nerds, it works great even when multitasking or placing the shelf to the left or right of the screen. .
The colors were okay, but more often than not I had to increase the brightness to see all the detail I needed. Whether it’s just watching a movie or editing photos, I felt like the Spin 514’s screen just wasn’t vibrant enough for my needs without increasing the brightness. Of course, that’s not much of a problem when you’re plugged into a charger, but going mobile with this Chromebook at full brightness can put a little too much strain on the battery.
As the name suggests, the Chromebook Spin 514 features a rotating hinge that allows you to “spin” the screen and flip it over for use in tablet mode. We didn’t encounter any real issues when using the Spin 514, although a 14-inch screen is a bit bulky when trying to use it like a traditional tablet. Taking advantage of tent mode is great for supporting it, and we’re happy with the versatility offered here.
My biggest gripe regarding my time with the Spin 514 was the speakers. As someone who likes to sit on the couch to work listening to Spotify or watching YouTube for a while, the speakers were appalling. This is because Acer chose to use bottom-firing speakers, which meant that the sound would be muffled when the speakers rested against my thighs when I was sitting on the sofa or on a sofa. chair. When set on a desk or table, or using the Spin 514 in tent mode, the speakers were usable. You won’t find anything revolutionary here, so if you want a more consistent audio experience, you’d better use headphones.
We are not sure if this was just our unit, but we have heard from other people with similar issues. Performance when not plugged into the wall resulted in stuttering when using the Spin 514. This may be a limitation of the AMD Ryzen chipset used, as similar issues were found. elsewhere in the market, including Microsoft’s new AMD. -Powered Surface Laptop 4. This stuttering and slowness can be corrected by simply plugging it into the wall.
Other than that, we didn’t encounter any issues when it comes to the performance of the Chromebook Spin 514. It was able to handle some photo editing sessions with ease, as well as intense search sessions with 10 or more browser tabs and more. ‘other applications. open at the same time. Acer really determined its performance here, and I was delighted to use the Spin 514 every day thanks to the combination and this amazing keyboard.
So who is the Chromebook Spin 514 for? It’s priced at $ 499 for the base model here in the US at Best Buy, which includes the Ryzen 3 3250C, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of eMMC flash storage. Acer also offers configurations of the Spin 514 that include 8GB of RAM and 64GB of flash storage for $ 529, and the model we tested with the Ryzen 5 processor retails for $ 599.
Between the incredible keyboard experience, the versatility offered by the rotating hinge, and the MIL-STD 810H rating, this would make a wonderful Chromebook for a student. 14in screens are sort of the sweet spot for productivity, as 11in screens are just too small and anything bigger tends to be too heavy to carry for long periods of time.
The Acer Chromebook Spin 514 really is the complete package, and if you can overcome the potential frustrations with the trackpad, then we would definitely recommend it for just about anyone. It’s a bit more expensive, but that’s what happens when you get all of those ports, plus the switch using AMD Ryzen chipsets on Chrome OS.
- The keyboard is a dream to type and use
- Build quality is top notch and includes MIL-STD ratings
- Lightweight enough to carry in a bag all day
- Numerous ports, including two USB-C ports and one HDMI
- The speakers just aren’t good
- Display is not as dynamic for creative work
The bottom line
Acer’s Chromebook Spin is a great option for those who want a solid 14-inch Chromebook and like to use a fantastic keyboard. With plenty of I / O and a reversible hinge, the Spin 514 can handle just about anything you throw at it.