Acer laptops don’t always stand out from the crowd, but there are two things the company does consistently well: make excellent Chromebooks and offer great value. Acer’s newest laptop, the Chromebook Spin 514, checks both boxes, location itself as the recommendation for those who want a premium laptop at a budget-friendly price.
I haven’t tested the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 yet, so the laptop might hit a snag when it’s released, but this looks like a strong entry looking at the specs and price alone. The fixed feature of the Spin 514 is the new AMD Ryzen 5000 C-series processors, which should provide a huge performance jump over the previous model and compete with the speeds of the pricier Intel-based Chromebook Spin 713. It is connected to portable metal design, 1080p display, and some other welcome features.
Pricing and availability
The Acer Chromebook Spin 514 will be available in the third quarter of this year at a starting price of $ 579 when equipped with an AMD Ryzen 3 5125C CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD.
Acer Chromebook Spin 514 design, specifications, and battery life
The Chromebook Spin 514 isn’t the most exciting looking device. To put it mildly, it looks utilitarian. What it offers is durability and quality materials: the Spin 514 has aluminum top and bottom covers and has been certified to STD 810H military grade durability standards.
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There are some pleasing angles on the deck and some decorative chrome trim, but that’s about it—this is your basic black-on-silver convertible with chunky display bezels. At 3.3 pounds and 0.63 inches, the Spin 514 is as portable as most premium laptops in this class, and shouldn’t add much weight to your backpack as you haul it to your next class.
The most exciting thing about the Spin 514 is three letters: AMD. The laptop uses the newly announced Ryzen 5000 C-series chip, Chromebook-specific versions of AMD’s Barcelo: refreshed Zen 3 APU. If that’s gibberish, it means the Spin 514 should be faster than any previous AMD-powered Chromebook — and by a margin should be huge. In fact, AMD says that the flagship Ryzen 7 5825C chip has 67% better web browsing performance than the previous Ryzen 7 3700C, which is likely to top Intel’s 11th Gen chips.
We’ll have to validate those results ourselves, but I’m pretty optimistic given the excellent performance we’ve seen from AMD laptops over the past year or so. As always, your mileage may vary, because the Spin 514 starts with Ryzen 3 5125C and goes up to Ryzen 7 5825C. The second is tit is the first eight-core, x86 CPU for Chromebooks. These chips are paired with 16GB of LPDDR4 RAM and up to 256GB SSD.
Each of these chips will be powerful enough to stream your favorite shows or movies, displayed on a 14-inch, 1080p display. There’s nothing special about this panel, and in fact, it’s one of the few 16:9 screens left in its category. I personally would prefer a higher aspect ratio, and I hope the next version moves to at least 16:10.
Nice perks not found on all Chromebooks are a Gorilla-coated glass touchpad, an optional backlit keyboard, and a 1080p webcam. You also get two USB-C ports, a USB-A portheadphone jack, and HDMI connection (it’s that last one but on several units, apparently).
Acer rates the battery life of the Chromebook Spin 514 at up to 10 hours, which got me worried. If it’s 10 times, that would be only slightly above average for Chromebooks. However, laptop makers tend to exaggerate by using outdated benchmarks. I’d be surprised to see similar results in my own testing, which more closely mimics real-world run times. We should find out in the coming month when Acer sends us a review sample.