Acer Chromebook 514 Touchscreen | CB514-1HT | Silver
USB Type-C port supporting:
Acer Chromebook Spin 713: the Chromebook to buy
Several Chromebooks came out this year vying to become the best “premium” Chromebook of 2020. Two big factors set Acer’s Chromebook Spin 713 apart from the rest.
The first is its 3:2 display. Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook, Asus’ Chromebook Flip C436, and many of last year’s top contenders like the Pixelbook Go all used a 16:9 aspect ratio — a more square 3:2 screen is taller and gives you significantly more vertical space.
The second is the price. The Spin 713 starts at $629 (and has been on sale for $529 already). That’s fairly midrange as Chromebooks go, but it significantly undercuts some competitors from Samsung, Google, and Asus. By unveiling the Galaxy and the C436 at CES 2020, the companies essentially posed the question: can a Chromebook be worth $1,000?
The existence of the Spin 713 says that the answer to that question is no (for now). It’s not a perfect Chromebook, but it offers similar specs and performance benefits to those high-end competitors at a much lower cost. There’s no other way to say it: this is the best Chromebook I’ve used this year.
- Excellent 3:2 screen
- Good keyboard
- Great port selection with HDMI
- Performance and battery on par with more expensive competitors
- Bad speakers
- No fingerprint sensor
- Utilitarian design
Buy for $629.00 from Best Buy
Almost every feature of the 713 is excellent. The keyboard is one of the best keyboards I’ve ever used on a Chromebook, with a smooth and comfortable texture, decent travel, backlighting, and a satisfying but quiet click. The port selection means you’re unlikely to need a dongle: there are two USB-C ports, a USB-A, a headphone jack, a microSD slot, and something you don’t see on thin Chromebooks every day: HDMI. The Gorilla Glass trackpad is quite smooth and has no issues with palm rejection (though it’s a slightly stiffer click than some of the best touchpads out there).
A few corners have been cut, but the fact that they’re even worth mentioning is a testament to how excellent this laptop is. For one, there’s no biometric login — fingerprint or facial — which is a feature that Samsung and Asus have both built into their devices. The downward-firing stereo speakers are also not great. The music was tinny and even at maximum volume was just barely loud enough to be heard from across my living room.
USB-C and HDMI on the right.
But the main drawback is the design — and again, by “drawback,” I really mean “aspect that’s not quite as exceptional as everything else.” The Spin’s chassis isn’t necessarily ugly, but I’d call it utilitarian. It’s on the bulky side at 3.02 pounds. (Holster the pitchforks — I know that’s not heavy in the grand scheme of laptops, but it’s noticeably heavier than the Galaxy and the Go.) There’s a shiny aluminum lid and a plastic keyboard deck, and it’s all a sort of drab gray color. And there’s a clunky bottom bezel with a large Acer logo that dates the screen a bit. Again, the 713 isn’t an eyesore, but it’s not what I’d call stylish: It just looks like something I might expect to see on a school laptop cart.
The upside of that is that this Chromebook is quite sturdy. I was afraid of putting the Galaxy down too hard on my desk while I was testing it, but I would be quite comfortable battering the Spin around in my backpack all day. There’s very little flex in the keyboard and screen. Acer says it’s able to survive drops of up to 48 inches and downward force of up to 132 pounds. I didn’t test those claims, but I’d believe it.
But the absolute highlight of this Chromebook, as I mentioned earlier, is the display. If you’ve been using a 16:9 display your whole life and you try a 3:2, you’ll probably never want to go back. You get noticeably more vertical screen space, and I could comfortably stack windows side by side without ever having to zoom out.
Aspect ratio aside, the 713’s touch display is gorgeous, delivering a sharp picture and vibrant, accurate colors. Side-by-side, it actually looked better than the MacBook Pro’s screen: I would say it’s not too far from the screen of the Galaxy Chromebook, which was one of the company’s primary justifications for its $1,000 price tag. The only thing to note is that the Spin’s screen is glossy, and I did experience some glare when using it in direct sunlight.
The Spin 713 carries Intel’s Project Athena label, which is meant to certify that the laptop’s performance and battery life are up to Intel’s standards. A host of higher-end 2020 Chromebooks, including the Galaxy and the C436, have earned this distinction but have still yielded disappointing battery life results. I’m relieved to say that the Spin 713 delivers comparable performance to those devices without that drawback. I got eight and a half hours with my usual load of around a dozen Chrome tabs and apps at 50 percent brightness. It also charges quickly, juicing from zero to 35 percent in 30 minutes.
The model I tested, which costs $629, has a Core i5-10210U processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. (You can configure it with an i3 or an i7, and can jump up to 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage as well.)
I didn’t encounter any performance issues with that system when I ran it through my daily load of office work, which included bouncing between 10–12 Chrome tabs and spreadsheets, Slack, Twitter, Spotify, streaming, and occasional photo editing. It’s a load that has given weaker systems (like Lenovo’s $279 Chromebook Duet) some trouble. Everything was smooth and stable, with nothing freezing or randomly quitting. The fans (this Chromebook contains fans, unlike the Galaxy and the Go) did an excellent job of cooling the chassis, and I never once heard them.
This configuration worked so well that I’m comfortable saying the i7 model is really best for developers and other power users who are coding or running desktop Linux applications. Everyone else can stick with the Core i5 model and save the cash.
The 713 supports all the latest Android apps, which are in varying stages of development for Chrome OS. Some are still just blown-up versions of their Android counterparts, which makes them hit-or-miss on a laptop screen. (Slack, for example, is somewhat glitchy and crashed a couple times, and you can’t highlight in the Google Docs app without physically holding down and dragging the cursor, as you would on a phone screen.) This isn’t the worst problem for an operating system to have — these apps have fine browser counterparts — but it does mean there’s something of a learning curve to figuring out where you’ll use what. Other apps, on the other hand, have adapted well to Chrome OS over the years; Spotify now has a nice laptop interface, for example.
Apps aside, Chrome OS as a whole ran smoothly and looked great on this system. There’s a nice tablet mode that uses Android-esque gesture controls as well.
If you’re deciding between the Spin 713 and the $1,000 Galaxy Chromebook or the $849 i5 model of the Pixelbook Go, I would say you need a pretty good reason not to choose the Spin.
Specifically, if you’re looking for a laptop for everyday multitasking, office work, and streaming, and you’re going to shell out an extra couple hundred for those devices, what you’re really paying for is design. That’s the primary department where both of those computers, despite other drawbacks, are top of their class (and one where the 713 is very much not). You’ll want the Galaxy if your top priority is a bold look that turns heads and the Pixelbook if you need a sleek and elegant vibe. If those aren’t your top priorities and you just want a good Chromebook, don’t bother with those and just get the Spin.
The more interesting comparison is to Asus’ Chromebook Flip C434, which offers less powerful specs (a Core M3 instead of an i5 and 64GB of storage rather than 128GB) for a slightly lower price ($599 for the model with 8GB of RAM). The C434 also has a 3.3-pound aluminum chassis and the same port selection minus the HDMI, but small bezels give it a more premium look.
To a certain extent, the best choice comes down to your preferences. But if you’re stuck between the two, I think the 713 is worth buying for the screen alone. The 3:2 panel is a game-changer, and the extra storage, standout keyboard, and HDMI port are icing on the cake. Personally, I would pay a bit more.
In short, some people thought 2020 might be the year of the premium Chromebook, the year companies proved that it was worth paying $1,000 for a nice Chrome OS device. The Spin 713 shows that, for the majority of us, it’s still not. 2020’s best Chromebook doesn’t look like a fancy, flashy, high-end machine — it looks like this.
Photography by Monica Chin / The Verge
Acer Chromebook 315 Touchscreen | CB315-3HT | Silver
USB Type-C port, supporting:
Discrete H1 Trusted Platform Module (TPM) solution for Chromebook
Acer Chromebook 317: World's first-ever 17-inch Chromebook is now official alongside the Chromebook 314
Alongside its gaming laptops, desktops and monitor, Acer has also launched a couple of Chromebooks for business and educational purposes. The Acer Chromebook 317 (CB317-1H) is one of the larger Chromebooks on the market. On the other hand, the Acer Chromebook 314 (CB314-2H) is relatively more portable.
As its name somewhat suggests, the Acer Chromebook 317 ships with a colossal 17.3-inch FHD screen that supports touch inputs. The webcam is optional and needs to be added separately for some reason. Its keyboard comes with a Numpad, which is somewhat of a rarity in many notebooks. Under the hood, Acer Chromebook 317 packs new Intel Celeron processors. Acer hasn't mentioned the exact model, but it could be the newest Tiger Lake-based Intel Celeron 6305E or Celeron 6305. Connectivity options on the Acer Chromebook 317 include Wi-Fi 6, two USB Type-C Gen3.2 ports, two USB Type-A ports, a micro SD card reader and a 3.5mm audio jack.
As the cheaper alternative, some of the Acer Chromebook 314's specifications are a tad watered down. For starters, the Chromebook features a 14.4-inch FHD touch-enabled screen. A MediaTek MT8183 chipset with four ARM Cortex-A73 cores, four Cortex-A53 cores, and a Mali-G72 GPU powers the Chromebook. It is one of MediaTek's newer offer designed explicitly for low-power notebooks.Connectivity options are limited to one USB Type-A port, two USB Type-C ports and a 3.6mm audio jack.
The Acer Chromebook 317 (CB317-1H) hit shelves worldwide in June. It will cost US$379 in North America and EUR 399 (US$486) elsewhere. Similarly, the Acer Chromebook 314 (CB314-2H) will be available in North America in July for US$269. Global availability will commence in August, starting at EUR 329 (US$401).
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Touchscreen acer chromebook
How to Fix It When a Chromebook Touchscreen is Not Working
When your Chromebook touchscreen stops working, it could be as simple as a dirty screen, accidentally toggled setting, or a basic software issue. One of the great things about Chromebooks is that if all else fails, a powerwash will usually get things back on the right track. That's the last resort though, so make sure you start with the simple stuff and work from there.
What Causes a Chromebook Touchscreen to Stop Working?
Chromebooks are designed to be easy to use and easy to fix, and in the instances where the touchscreen stops working, it can all be traced to just a handful of issues with fairly easy fixes.
Here are the most common reasons that Chromebook touchscreens stop working:
- Dirt or debris on the screen: If the screen is dirty, the touchscreen functionality may not work. The same is true if your hands are dirty or wet.
- System settings: The touchscreen may have been disabled accidentally, in which case you can fix the problem by re-enabling it.
- Software problems: Most Chromebook software issues can be resolved through a basic hardware reset or a factory reset.
- Hardware problems: The touchscreen digitizer or other hardware may have failed.
How to Fix a Chromebook Touchscreen That Doesn't Work
If you want to try to get your Chromebook touchscreen working yourself, there are a number of fairly easy steps you can take and fixes that don't require any special technical expertise or tools. You'll start by making sure the screen isn't dirty, move on to verifying that the screen isn't toggled off, and then finally attempt a basic reset and a powerwash, which are able to fix most Chromebook problems.
To fix your Chromebook touchscreen, follow these steps in order:
Clean the screen. Shut down your Chromebook, and thoroughly clean the screen using a lint-free cloth. The steps are similar to cleaning the screen on an iPad. Be careful to remove any dirt or debris, any food crumbs or sticky residues, and also dry the screen if it has any liquid on it.
If the screen is really dirty, you can use a cleaning solution that's specifically designed for LCD screens and a microfiber cloth. Use as little liquid as possible, and don't drip on the keyboard or allow the cleaning solution to run down behind the screen. Finish up by completely drying the screen with another microfiber cloth.
Never use any cleaning product that includes ammonia, ethyl alcohol, acetone, or anything else that isn't designed for use with Chromebook touchscreens.
Clean and dry your hands. Before you try your touchscreen again, make sure your hands are clean and dry. If your hands aren't clean, or if they are wet, the touchscreen may not function correctly.
If you have a touchscreen stylus, check to see if that works.
Make sure the touchscreen isn't turned off. Chromebooks have the option to toggle the touchscreen on and off. If this setting is accidentally toggled, the touchscreen will stop working until you toggle it back on.
To activate the Chromebook touchscreen toggle, press Search + Shift + t.
This toggle isn't available on every Chromebook, and you may have to navigate to chrome://flags/#ash-debug-shortcuts and enable debugging keyboard shortcuts to use it.
Hard reset your Chromebook. If your touchscreen still doesn't work, perform a hard reset. This is different from simply closing the lid or pushing the power button.
To hard reset a Chromebook:
- Turn off the Chromebook.
- Press and hold the refresh key and push the power button.
- Release the refresh key when the Chromebook starts up.
To hard reset a Chromebook tablet:
- Press and hold the volume up and power buttons.
- Wait 10 seconds.
- Release the buttons.
Reset your Chromebook to factory settings. If your touch screen still doesn't work, then the next step is to completely reset it to factory settings. This process is known as powerwashing, and it will remove all local data, so make sure any local files have been backed up to your Google Drive.
When to Consider Professional repair
If your touchscreen still doesn't work after performing a full powerwash, it may be time to take your Chromebook to a professional for repairs. You're probably dealing with a hardware failure that will require a technician to diagnose and replace your touchscreen digitizer or another related component. If your touchscreen works, but it registers you as touching the wrong part of the screen, that sort of probably is usually indicative of a hardware failure.
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Acer Chromebook 514 review: Stylish, but limited
While it’s true to say that Chromebooks come in all shapes and sizes, the vast majority of them are small and cheap. Yes, there’s Google's premium Pixelbook Go, which definitely doesn’t fit that description, but for the most part, you know precisely what you’re getting for your money.
The Acer Chromebook 514 tries to find a gap between the Pixelbook and the dirt-cheap Chromebooks vying for the sub-£300 market, but is that just a recipe for invisibility?
Buy now from Acer
Acer Chromebook 514 review: What you need to know
With that in mind, Acer has attempted to come up with a stylish, feature-packed Chromebook that won’t break the bank. How does it square that circle? By pitting middling innards (a 1.1GHz dual-core Intel Celeron N3350 and 4GB RAM) with elegant looks and nice extras. You’ve got a 14in 1080p touchscreen, a metal frame, a Gorilla Glass-topped touchpad and backlit keys, making it look outwardly more MacBook than Chromebook.
The gamble Acer is making is that ChromeOS’ more limited functionality means you won’t notice the three-year-old chip running the show. And in most use cases, it’s probably correct.
Acer Chromebook 514 review: Price and competition
For that, Acer is asking for £379, although it also sells a slightly improved version with an Intel Pentium N4200 processor instead of the Celeron for £399.
You may balk at that price considering the ageing processor, and I don't blame you if you’re already happy with Windows 10. In that price bracket, you can definitely get more power, especially if you’re prepared to give AMD Ryzen-powered devices a spin.
But that’s kind of a moot point when the 514 deliberately doesn’t run Windows. So obviously it’s fairer to compare it to other Chromebooks. Our favourite of the species is the Google Pixelbook Go, which will set you back £629 for the base model but is worth every penny thanks to its slim, lightweight design, supreme battery life and outstanding keyboard. If it's raw power you're after, the Asus Flip C436F is a super speedy Chromebook capable of doubling up as a tablet thanks to its reversible hinge but is very much a premium option, with the Intel Core i5 model we reviewed costing £999.
READ NEXT: The best Chromebooks
Acer Chromebook 514 review: Design
As I’ve already hinted above, the Acer Chromebook 514 makes an excellent first impression. The aluminium chassis is very stylish when closed, and it’s reasonably lightweight at 1.5kg. When opened, things get a bit more utilitarian with sharp angles and quite wide bezels top and tailing the screen – although the ones to the side are impressively narrow measuring just a few millimetres thin.
You also won’t have any trouble setting the screen at a comfortable angle, as it dips all the way back to be completely flush with the keyboard. It’s a pity it doesn’t go the full 360 degrees to become a convertible, given the touchscreen, but it’s still impressively flexible.
That flexibility continues into its connectivity, too, with an impressive range of ports. Like the larger and considerably less pleasant to use Chromebook 315, it has two USB-C ports (one used for charging), two USB-A ports, a microSD card slot, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Kensington lock.
It’s not all good news, though. While the Acer Chromebook 514 is reasonably attractive to look at, it has some annoyingly sharp edges, especially on the underside. It could definitely snag on trousers if used on the lap, and you might want to be careful not to toss it onto the sofa when not in use, too.
Acer Chromebook 514 review: Keyboard and touchpad
The Chromebook is primarily intended for productivity, and I’m happy to report that the Acer Chromebook 514 has no issues at all in this area. The keyboard is firm and responsive, offering just the right amount of give on the keys, feeling somewhat reminiscent of the MacBook Pros of old. It’s also backlit in a manner that’s faint but noticeable in lower light – just what you need from a backlight, in other words.
Most pleasingly of all, unlike the Acer Chromebook 315 we were sent at the same time, there have been no missed spacebar presses. This feels like a quality keyboard that won’t let you down. Top marks, Acer.
The TouchPad is equally pleasing, and Acer has given it a coating of Corning Gorilla Glass to give it a smoother feel than regular plastic pads. Again, this feels MacBook-like, with gesture controls working without a hitch, with just the right amount of resistance to clicks.
Buy now from Acer
Acer Chromebook 514 review: Display
Things begin to go a touch awry with the screen. It’s a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution touchscreen that does the job but it's far from the best we’ve seen.
To set any initial fears to one side: this is nowhere near as bad as the Acer Chromebook 351's panel, which had such weak contrast (341:1) that everything appeared washed out and grey. Here, contrast is a far more respectable 885:1, and it definitely shows.
But it’s still not great. For starters, the panel actually covers even less of the sRGB colour spectrum at just 57%, meaning your colours are going to look a bit dull. This may not bother you too much if you’re not a graphic designer (and most Chromebook owners aren’t), but the brightness might: at a peak of just 272cd/m2 you’ll struggle to use the Chromebook 514 in bright sunlight.
As a touchscreen, it’s functional, if that’s your thing, but I’m not very sure it adds all that much. Given the screen can’t flip 360 degrees, prodding at it just makes the screen shake. Yes, you can have it flush with the keyboard, if you want, but then your keys just end up getting in the way.
Acer Chromebook 514 review: Performance and battery life
Stick to the Chromebook 514’s intended purposes – typing away at your masterpiece on Google Docs, filling in spreadsheets, internet shopping and some light YouTube videos – and the Chromebook 514 feels absolutely fine, with no hints that its internals are somewhat dated.
If you’re the kind of person who can’t keep to under ten tabs, however, then you’ll begin to feel it. This is doubly true if you intend to make use of ChromeOS’s early support for Android and Linux apps.
Benchmarking on ChromeOS is hard because of its reliance on webapps. Those that we have, however, were as uninspiring as you’d expect, given its modest innards. It managed 14fps in the WebGL Aquarium with 5,000 fish and managed the Mozilla Kraken 1.1 benchmark in 3,794.1ms. For context, a Kaby Lake Intel Core i7 – released in the same year as the Celeron in use here – manages that task in 622ms.
Battery should be absolutely stellar, with the Acer promising up to 12 hours on a single charge. We found that to be somewhat optimistic in our looped local video test, which managed just five hours and ten minutes, though in every day internet browsing, anecdotally, it fared far better. I’ve been tapping away at this review for three hours, and Chrome OS reckons it has another four left.
Buy now from Acer
Acer Chromebook 514 review: Verdict
I have a lot of time for the Acer Chromebook 514, and – for me – it makes a solid case for ChromeOS. The keyboard and trackpad are wonderful, it looks the part and it has plenty of ports.
But you can’t overlook its drawbacks: its screen is distinctly middling, it has sharp edges and the battery life isn’t up there with the best of them despite Acer’s promises. Worst of all, packing a three-year-old processor in a product of its price feels mean spirited, even if performance is generally fine as Chromebooks go.
Unfortunately, all of that leaves the Acer Chromebook 514 in the no-man’s land I feared at the start of the review. Too expensive for the budget market, but ultimately not good enough to trouble the premium end either.
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Acer Chromebook 314 Touchscreen | CB314-1HT | Silver
USB Type-C port supporting:
Discrete H1 Trusted Platform Module (TPM) solution for Chromebook