The Acer Chromebook 14 is something of a rare breed, a Chromebook with high-end specifications. Chrome OS has gained a reputation for being the base for affordable hardware aimed at students and people who want to travel light to places with an Internet connection.
The Chromebook 14 eschews the typical Chromebook plastic for a fully aluminium chassis with rounded corners and what appears to be a brushed metal chassis. The 14-inch display is available in two resolutions, 1366×768 or 1920×1080 Full HD. At this size, the latter is probably your better bet but Acer hasn’t revealed how much extra it will cost.
Acer hasn’t got all-out to build a premium Chromebook. The Chromebook 14’s eye-catching design houses components that are nothing to write home about compared to Windows machines, showing that Acer is reluctant to stray too far from the tried-and-tested formula.
There’s a choice of dual-core or quad-core processors, both from the low-end Intel Celeron line, and either 2GB or 4GB of RAM. Storage will be a paltry 16GB or 32GB, although Chrome OS’ seamless integration with the cloud means this may be not an issue. Acer has also included a 720p front-facing webcam, two USB 3.1 ports, an HDMI port and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The entire package weighs only 1.55kg and is 1.7mm thick.
The lack of a powerful processor allows the Chromebook 14 to claim an impressive 14-hour battery life, likely to be enough for even the most intensive mobile user. The figure decreases slightly to 12 hours for the full HD variant. Even so, carrying a power cord could become a thing of the past as even with real-world adjustments the laptop is likely to last well above 10 hours on a single charge.
Acer has hinted that it could expand the available configurations in the future to include more high-performance component options. This would mirror Dell’s approach with the Chromebook 13, available in variants costing from $399 to $899.
Acer hasn’t announced exact pricing yet. The Chromebook 14 will start at $299 though, traditional Chromebook territory. Beneath the metal lid, there isn’t anything really outstanding here. As with other Chromebooks, the laptop’s main attraction will be its all-day battery life and low cost compared to Windows laptops.
Chrome OS is a far less demanding platform than Windows so the low-end specs may not be a problem to people who only want to write documents or browse the web while on the go. The Chromebook 14 is a laptop for people who want the low-cost of Chrome OS blended with the premium design of pricier Windows notebooks, a request Acer has just delivered.