The Acer Chromebook Spin 514 is an excellent middle ground between too-small-but-ultraportable 11.6-inch models and large-but-not-as-portable 15.6-inch Chromebooks. The larger 14-inch 1080p display gives you extra room to work when you’re away from your desk but still compact enough for a daily commute or carrying around campus. Plus, it has a good port assortment making it a good pick for anyone who is doing a mix of remote work and being in an office with hoteling or hot-desking.
A durable metal body, strong performance, nearly 10 hours of battery life and a comfortable backlight make the Spin 514 easy to recommend, especially if you can find it on sale. That said, if you need something that’s better for video conferencing and has faster wireless for the future, an Intel-based version is coming soon that will be a better fit.
- Strong performance
- Durable build
- Excellent port assortment for hybrid work
- Dim display
- Older 802.11ac wireless
The base model is about $440 running on an AMD Ryzen 3 3250U processor, 64GB of eMMC flash for storage and 4GB of DDR4 memory. The configuration I tested doubles the memory and storage in the base model and has an AMD Ryzen 5 3500C processor for $629. This model regularly goes on sale for more than $100 less, though, which is a genuine bargain for all that you’re getting inside and out. The AMD-based Spin 514 is available in the UK for £400. It’s not currently available in Australia, but the price converts to approximately AU$760.
Acer Chromebook Spin 514 (CP514-1H)
|Price as reviewed||$629|
|Display size/resolution||14-inch 1,920×1,080-pixel touch display|
|Processor||2.1GHz AMD Ryzen 3500C|
|Memory||8GB DDR4 (dual-channel)|
|Graphics||Radeon Vega 8|
|Ports||USB-C (x2, 3.1 Gen 1), USB-A, audio/mic jack, HDMI out, microSD card slot|
|Networking||802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0|
|Operating system||Chrome OS/Android 9.0|
|Weight||3.6 pounds (1.7 kg)|
On our Chromebook benchmarks, its performance is on par with 10th-gen Intel Core i5 Chromebooks and slightly behind 11th-gen Intel Core i3-based models with otherwise similar configurations. Battery life is respectable at 9 hours, 48 minutes on our streaming video test. The eMMC flash storage is slower compared to the PCIe NVMe solid-state drives typically found in premium Chromebooks and could slow down its performance some. But, I didn’t run into hiccups or lag.
For me, it’s the older 802.11ac wireless (Wi-Fi 5) that’s more disappointing at its price. Considering the Spin 514’s auto-update expiration date is June 2029, newer, faster 802.11ax Wi-Fi support would’ve given this Chromebook a bit of future-proofing.
The Chromebook Spin 514 is a two-in-one convertible, so you have the option to use this as a tablet or in tent or presentation modes. The 14-inch widescreen combined with this Chromebook’s 3.6-pound weight makes it awkward and heavy to use handheld as a tablet. But, the touchscreen does support USI pens so putting this down on a desk or on your lap in tablet mode to draw or write on the screen is certainly doable. The display doesn’t get terribly bright, though, and that makes it tough to see past reflections when working outdoors or next to a sunny window.
However, if you’re looking for a Chromebook that lets you easily connect up to an external monitor and other peripherals at home, school or in the office, the Spin 514 has you covered. There’s a full-size HDMI port along with two USB-C ports, a USB-A port and a microSD card slot. The reinforced metal chassis looks and feels great, too, and it’s built to mil-spec durability standards. It should stand up to regular travel just fine.
Intel update worth the wait?
They might share the same name, but the upcoming Intel version of the Chromebook Spin 514. Starting at $700 when it arrives early this year, the 14-inch convertible will have up to an 11th-gen Intel Core i7 processor inside a fanless body design for silent operation. Paired with a 1080p webcam, dual mics and stereo speakers flanking the keyboard, this update is aimed at people who need a better video-conference experience from their Chromebook.
Also, the 14-inch display on the Intel version will have slim bezels on all four sides to really cut down on the Chromebook’s overall footprint and the body is still made from reinforced aluminum. The update will have faster Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), too, as well as dual USB-C ports, Wi-Fi 6, a backlit keyboard and a Gorilla Glass touchpad.
The changes aren’t insignificant but not everyone needs better video conferencing and faster Wi-Fi. Also, the top AMD configuration is still less expensive than the expected starting price of the Intel model. If you’re looking for a premium two-in-one Chromebook for work or school, the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 is an easy recommendation. You might still want to wait for a sale, though.