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Acer Chromebook 714 Review

Verdict

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It’s hard to recommend the Acer Chromebook 714 as it comes with a comparatively high price for a Chromebook, offering limited functionality and older hardware than its competitors. But then again, for those wanting a device with decent build quality, a good selection of ports and a Full HD display, this is still a decent budget laptop option.

Pros

  • Smooth performance for day-to-day tasks
  • Great battery life
  • Full HD screen resolution
  • Gunmetal-grey metal construction looks classy

Cons

  • Surface Laptop Go offers better value
  • ChromeOS has limitations
  • Meagre screen brightness
  • Fairly heavy

Availability

  • UKRRP: £600
  • USARRP: $799
  • EuropeRRP: €700
  • CanadaRRP: CA$1009.99

Key Features

  • Full HD display:With a 1080p resolution, this laptop offers a sharp image for Netflix and YouTube content.
  • Intel Core processor: Fast enough performance for students and office workers.
  • Superb battery life:Lasted 13 hours and 28 minutes in our battery test.

The Acer Chromebook 714 finds itself at a difficult price point, being more expensive than the majority of Chromebooks, and approaching the cost of a Windows 10 portable.

It’s arguably got the specs to justify such a cost, with an Intel Core processor and 8GB RAM under the hood. But with the Surface Laptop Go offering more up-to-date innards as well as the freedom of Windows, the appeal of this Chromebook is diminished significantly.

But with a 14-inch Full HD display and a superb battery life, there’s still plenty of reasons to buy this Chromebook if you’re happy to ditch Windows for ChromeOS.

There are multiple flavours of the 714 designed to suit a few different price points that come with either an i3 or i5 processor and various storage options.

The version being reviewed here is the top-of-the-line model with an Intel Core i5-8250U processor, 8GB of RAM and 128GB’s worth of eMMC storage. That all clocks in at the price of £600, which is steep for a Chromebook.

However, for those who are less inclined to spend that much, Acer does offer a version with 64GB of storage for £50 less, as well as two other less powerful options with an 8th-gen i3 chip.

  • Dark grey shell suits a business-class Chromebook
  • Thick bezel hinders its overall looks somewhat
  • Decent port selection, good-sized touchpad and firm keyboard

The Acer Chromebook 714’s all-metal and grey outer body certainly looks the part with colouring that could be mistaken for a Space Grey MacBook.

Despite that, this specific Chromebook feels a tad hollow when given a light knock, and its relatively thick bezels on the top and bottom make it look a tad dated. Having said that, its all-metal outer shell does mean it still looks decent and carries a fair bit of weight.

Acer Chromebook 714 ports

In fact, at 1.6kg the 714 isn’t the most portable laptop in the world – but it isn’t overly heavy, even if carried in a bag with other things.

Acer has bundled a decent selection of ports in the 714 – there’s two USB-C ports for transfer and charging, one USB-A 3.2, a headphone jack, microSD and a Kensington Lock for security. Even if this laptop isn’t all too well built, it’s nice to see Acer try to make up for it on the ports front.

The speakers, as with most budget or mid-range options, are nothing to write home about; they’re passable for the odd bit of casual viewing. In addition, the grilles are downwards facing, which can hinder overall performance if placed on soft surfaces.

Acer Chromebook 714 keyboard and trackpad

The keyboard feels relatively solid, with keys decently tactile and firm. It’s backlit as well, which makes the 714 a good option for working after dark. The security buffs out there will be pleased to learn that Acer has opted to put a little fingerprint sensor on the 714, too.

Compared to some of the cheaper counterparts in Acer’s assortment of Chromebooks, the 714 makes use of a good-sized trackpad. Comprising Gorilla Glass, tracking is smooth and accurate and there’s plenty of space for your fingers.

  • Standard issue 1080p display with a 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 14-inch panel offers a decent amount of screen real estate for viewing
  • General image quality can appear dim

Acer has provided the 714 with a 14-inch, 1080p IPS panel. It’s touch-enabled, too, but the large bezels top and bottom do mean that the overall screen-to-body ratio is a little low for my liking.

Considering the Acer Chromebook 714 is one of the more expensive Chromebooks, it’s fair to say that its screen falls short when it comes to image quality.

Acer Chromebook 714 screen

When watching a few different shows on BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video, colours appeared to show up a little fuzzy and a tad dim; the latter point can be attributed to the 714’s meagre 254 nits of brightness.

However, viewing angles are relatively decent, as is the fact that the 714 makes use of a matte panel that’s fine for use in brighter settings. Just be aware that the sub-par brightness levels and dim colours may not be ideal for prolonged binging sessions.

  • An 8th-gen Intel i5 chip ensures a smooth performance
  • 8GB of RAM and 128GB storage provide decent headroom
  • ChromeOS is restrictive, but keeps things simple

With the 714 packing an Intel Core i5-8250U and 8GB of RAM under the bonnet, this Chromebook offers a smooth performance that easily handles basic apps and day-to-day workloads.

The i5-8250U ensured that the 714 remains snappy and responsive in activities such as web-browsing and video viewing. However, it’s worth noting that the 714 does come with a now three-generations older processor than similarly priced laptops such as the Surface Laptop Go and Honor MagicBook 14.

Acer’s premium option makes use of 8GB of RAM too, which means there’s plenty of headroom for having multiple Chrome windows open. I’m pleased to report that there was relatively little slowdown overall. The 128GB of eMMC storage is admittedly on the low side if you want to store a lot of photos and videos, but this is fairly standard at this price point.

MicroSD and USB-C ports on the laptop's right side

However, the prevalent issue with how the 714 performs isn’t a result of the hardware it runs; it’s because of the software. ChromeOS is a great option for those who want something hassle-free and just works, but for anything other than just the basics, it can feel restrictive.

The 714’s major competitors, the Honor MagicBook 14 and Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Go, both run Windows 10, which offers more freedom for downloads. With Acer’s offering, you’re strictly limited to what’s available in the Google Play Store. This could prove problematic if you ever need to download some obscure software, although it does feature all of the most popular apps.

  • Lasted 13hrs 28mins in the tests
  • Capable of lasting a few working days

It’s on the battery life front where things begin to pick up for the 714. This high-end Chromebook managed just under 13-and-a-half hours in our tests, making it ideal for those wanting to complete a full day of work away from the mains.

This decent figure helped it smash the competition, with Microsoft beaten off by five hours and the MagicBook 14 from Honor finishing at just under nine hours.

I can’t help but feel a little underwhelmed by the Acer Chromebook 714. While its performance offers a degree of balance and its battery life is ideal for day-to-day working, it does have a fair few shortcomings.

The 714 is let down by its dim display, hollow-feeling shell and the simple fact it runs ChromeOS. Considering that the budget-end of the laptop scene is increasingly being occupied by decent Windows machines that can offer more freedom and superior performances, Acer’s Chromebook is a hard sell right now.

That said, if you’d actually prefer the simplicity of ChromeOS over Windows, and fancy a smooth performance for office/student workloads, then the Acer Chromebook 714 is still a worthwhile laptop option to consider. Check out our Best Chromebook and Best Budget Laptop lists to check out alternatives.

Should you buy it?

You want a powerful Chromebook with great battery life
If you’re set on buying a Chromebook and want one of the best performances possible, then the 714 is a great option. It offered a similar performance to the Surface Laptop Go and boasted a fantastic battery life.

You value Windows functionality over anything else
The biggest issue with the 714 is the fact it’s limited to the Google Play Store for downloads, and so doesn’t offer the same flexibility on offer from similarly priced Windows machines.

Verdict

It’s hard to recommend the Acer Chromebook 714 as it comes with a comparatively high price for a Chromebook, offering limited functionality and older hardware than its competitors. But then again, for those wanting a device with decent build quality, a good selection of ports and a Full HD display, this is still a decent budget laptop option.

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FAQs

Does it have a touchscreen?

Yes it does have a touchscreen.

Does it have a 2-in-1 convertible design?

No, it can’t be flipped into tablet mode.

Can you upgrade the hard drive?

Unfortunately not.

Full specs

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CA RRP
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