The Acer Chromebook Spin 514 is the company's first Chromebook with AMD's Ryzen processors, and it's a part of something we expect to be a major trend of CES 2021: PC makers releasing more and more laptops without Intel inside.
The 14-inch convertible, which has a mid-range price, has the durability that the modern chaotic life demands and is also being released in an Enterprise version. Will that be enough to make it to our best Chromebooks list? Let's find out.
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Processor: AMD Ryzen 3000 C-Series
Display: 14-inch, Full HD
Graphics: AMD Radeon | AMD Radeon Vega Mobile
Weight: 3.4 pounds
Dimensions: 0.7 inches thick
Memory: Up to 16GB
Storage: Up to 256GB
Ports: 2x USB-C, 2X USB-A, microSD reader, optional HDMI
Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0
Acer Chromebook Spin 514 price and release date
The Acer Chromebook Spin 514 debuts in America this February, with a starting price of $479.99. It will hit the Europe, the Middle East and Africa in March for €529. The specific configurations available, as well as pricing, will vary by region, because nothing is simple.
Then, there's the Acer Chromebook Enterprise Spin 514, which hits North America in March, with a starting price of $749.99. It will arrive in Europe, the Middle East and Africa at €799.
Acer Chromebook Spin 514 design and durability
The Chromebook Spin 514 has the fine touches that you look for in a premium notebook: an anodized and sandblasted aluminum chassis that's durable to boot. Acer notes that the Spin 514 passed multiple MIL-STD 810H tests that prove it can endure dust and sand, high and low temperatures, mechanical shocks with drops, rain and more.
It's also available in three different colors: Pure Silver, Steel Gray and Mist Green. While the first two will likely be hard to tell the difference between, the Mist Green is a pleasant shade that is reminiscent of the recent Midnight Green iPhone.
Acer did not provide the Spin 514's full dimensions, but at 0.7 inches thick and 3.4 pounds, it's thicker and heavier than the just-announced Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 (0.6 inches, 2.7 pounds), which is a little more expensive at $549.
And since the Chromebook Spin 514 is a convertible, it can be used in laptop, tablet display and tent modes.
As for ports, you get dual USB-C ports (which support USB 3.2 Gen 1 @ up to 5GBps, DisplayPort over USB-C and USB charging) and dual USB-A ports (USB 3.2, Gen 1). There's also a microSD memory reader, and some models will have HDMI out.
Acer Chromebook Spin 514 performance
The Chromebook Spin 514 will run on different versions of the AMD Ryzen processors announced for Chromebooks this past September. Acer's press materials only refer to the Ryzen 5 3500C and Ryzen 7 3700C options, not noting the entry-level Ryzen 3 3250C processor — though we wouldn't be surprised to see that as the chip in the $479 entry-level model.
Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 models will have AMD Radeon Vega Mobile Graphics, while any other models will have AMD Radeon Graphics.
Entry level memory and storage were not listed, but the Spin 514 will be sold with up to 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
The industry-wide move from Intel to AMD (or in Apple's case its own M1 chip) may not seem like a big deal, but it's a sign of computer makers seemingly tired of the smaller advancements that Intel's made in recent years, and seeing that AMD's progress is significant. Chromebooks aren't ditching Intel around the world, though. The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2, for example, comes in Intel Celeron and Core i3 configurations.
Acer Chromebook Spin 514 battery life
Acer's only claiming a modest "up to 10 hours" of battery life. We look forward to testing it with our web surfing-based battery test to see if it matches that claim, over-delivers or disappoints (the least likely option given the Full HD display).
Acer Chromebook Spin 514 outlook
As the tide turns to AMD processors, Acer's making sure the rest of the laptop looks good. The Chromebook Spin 514 packs more ports than it needs to, and its anodized aluminum shell will likely impress for this price, especially in Mist Green.
But since this is a CES we're covering remotely, we're going to be waiting a bit to give our hands on impressions in our full review. Stay tuned, folks — the world of laptops is getting shaken up, seemingly for the better.