What you need to know
- Acer is debuting a Ryzen-powered 14-inch 2-in-1 Chromebook at CES 2021.
- The Acer Chromebook Spin 514 starts at $479 and the Enterprise Spin 14 starts at $749.
- In addition to up to 128GB eMMC internal storage, there's also a slot for an M.2 SSD, something seldom seen in Chromebooks.
- There will be three colors available: Pure Sliver, Steel Gray and Mist Green.
- The Acer Chromebook Enterprise Spin 514 will include an HDMI port, a protective sleeve and a mouse.
CES 2021 is off to a good start for Chromebook fans, with Samsung showing off the Galaxy Chromebook 2 as a more affordable, more reasonable version of last year's $1000 4K beauty, but Samsung isn't the only manufacturer showing off the new hotness today. Acer delivered one of the Best Chromebooks of 2020 in the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 — a Project Athena Chromebook that was actually built to get work done instead of just look thin and pretty — and now it's back with the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 and the Acer Chromebook Enterprise Spin 514, and even after less than 24 hours, I think this Chromebook is going to make waves this year.
Starting at $479, the Spin 514 is a 14-inch touchscreen 2-in-1 poised to inherit the ASUS Chromebook C434's market share now that the C434 is two years old and its successor is over $800. It's powered by Ryzen processors, with the Ryzen 3 3250C processor in the model I'm typing on right now up to the Ryzen 7 series for the beefier Enterprise configurations.
There is a fan here to keep things cool, and so far it's been quiet even when I'm juggled two dozen tabs. On the memory side, you can get up to 8GB of RAM, and I'm hopeful that all but the most basic configurations have 8GB rather than 4GB given how video conferencing has taxed 4GB Chromebooks in the work from home era.
Oh, please make this extra M.2 slot a trend on Chromebooks.
One standout feature here is that in addition to having 64-128GB of eMMC internal storage, there's also a slot for an M.2 SSD drive, meaning that you're not stuck slotting in a microSD card if you want to turn your Chromebook into a database for offline content. While a few Chromebooks have used SSD storage in the last three years, usually it was just the primary slot and if you wanted to upgrade it, you'd have to re-image the system after replacing that SSD with a bigger model. This is a welcome change and one I hope more manufacturers decide to implement on Chromebooks going forward.
|Category||Acer Chromebook Spin 514|
|Display||14-inch IPS multi-touch
1920 x 1080 px, 250 nits
Gorilla Glass 3
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 3000 C-Series Mobile Processors
Ryzen 5 & Ryzen 7
M.2 SSD slot
Audio combo jack
microSD card slot
HDMI (Enterprise only)
|Battery||Up to 10 hours|
|Features||Backlit keyboard option
MIL STD 8.10H durability
Google Assistant Lab Ceritication
|Dimensions||12.7" x 8.88" x 0.68/0.68"|
|Starting Price||$479 (Spin 514)
$749 (Enterprise Spin 514)
The Spin 514 feels big to me after spending the last two months on an 11.6-inch Chromebook, but even at 4.25 pounds, it's not too heavy to carry from room to room or rest in my lap as I work. The sandblasted, anodized aluminum shell feels smooth and solid in the hand. The 14-inch 1080p Gorrilla Glass 3 touchsccreen is crisp and responsive, and while it's only 250 nits, so are basically all other Chromebooks in that segment. I'd love to see 300-450 nits become the norm, but 250 nits is enough to be workable even with the morning sunlight streaming through my windows. Bezels around the screen are slim but still easy enough to grip for re-adjusting the screen, and the hinge has a nice firmness to it so that the screen won't angle back when using the touchscreen with fervor.
Port selection here is nice, with a USB-C and USB-A port on each side of the chassis in addition to a headphone jack and microSD slot on the left side. The Enterprise version also sports a HDMI port, but I understand leaving it out to keep the consumer model pricing down. Another cost-cutting measure that I'm not as understanding of: only some configurations of the Acer Spin 514 will have backlit keyboards, and that backlighting is not particularly bright. It's helpful when I'm doomscrolling in the dark, but I didn't even realize this one had backlighting until I turned off all the overhead lights.
Battery here is only listed as "up to 10 hours", and I'm inclined to believe you'll probably get 7-9 hours on a charge depending on your brightness. I've only had time to run the battery down once, so it'll need further study, but it's not going to get the 12-14 hours the latest Acer Spin 311 did or the 10-12 hours I've gotten on the Lenovo Flex 5.
The regular Spin 514 will be available in three colors: Pure Sliver, Steel Gray and Mist Green (left above), which is subdued and very appealing to me after missing out on the Sorta Sage Pixel 5 a few months back. The Enterprise Spin 514 only comes in Steel Gray, which helps differentiate models more easily. The Acer Chromebook Spin 514 will launch in North America next month starting at $479 and in Europe in March starting at €529. The Enterprise model will launch in both North America and Europe in March and run from $749 / €799 and up.
Acer's Best Chromebook
Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (CP713-2W)
Can't wait for the Spin 514? Buy Acer's best today.
There's a lot of reasons to love the Spin 713 — the 2K screen, the ample port selection, the beefy internals — but what I think I adore the most is that while other Project Athena Chromebooks were chasing ultra-thin, ultra-minimal designs, Acer instead focused on providing a complete experience at a reasonable price.
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