Android Central Verdict
If you're looking for a Chromebook that doesn't try to do anything too fancy, while still being plenty powerful, the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 might just fit the bill. Between the 16:10 display and garaged USI pen, this is the perfect Chromebook for taking notes, getting work done, or playing games.
Garaged USI stylus is the way to go
Upward-firing speakers are a nice change from the norm
16:10 aspect ratio is great for getting work done
Has already been found on sale
Another great option if you want Intel Iris Xe graphics
No fingerprint scanner
Higher-spec’ed options aren’t currently available
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Over the course of 2022, we have seen quite a few different Chromebooks come across our collective desks. And perhaps more excitingly, we are still expecting to see more before the calendar flips over into 2023.
And while a few of these Chromebooks really haven't been much to write home about, there are a few that are more than worthy of telling everyone about. And that's where the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 falls, as this might just be the best Chromebook overall when the dust settles.
Acer Chromebook Spin 714: Price and availability
Acer announced the Chromebook Spin 714 in May 2022 alongside the Chromebook Tab 510. It began shipping in July 2022, and is now available at retailers such as Best Buy and Amazon. The Spin 714 is powered by Intel’s 12th Gen chipsets, starting with the Core i5-1235U, but will eventually be able to be configured with an Intel Core i7.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Acer Chromebook Spin 714|
|Display||14-inch WUXGA (1920x1200) LCD touchscreen, 340 nits brightness|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-1235U|
|Storage||256GB NVMe SSD|
|Battery||Up to 10 hours via 56Wh cell|
|Ports||2x Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C), 1x USB-A (USB 3.2 Gen 1), full-size HDMI, 3.5mm stereo combo jack, Kensington lock|
|Dimensions||12.31 x 8.82 x 0.71 inches|
|Extra features||Dockable USI stylus, Intel Iris Xe graphics, webcam privacy shutter, 45W Power Delivery, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2|
Pricing for the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 starts at $729.99 for its Core i5 configuration, which also includes a dockable USI stylus. It’s currently unknown what pricing will be for the Core i7 models once they are made available.
Acer Chromebook Spin 714: Performance
Acer first announced the Spin 714 back in May, and we’ve been excited to get our hands on this one. The company’s Chromebook Spin lineup of options always ranks well amongst the best Chromebooks, and we expected nothing less from the Spin 714. But what really helps propel the Spin 714 above some of the other Chromebooks released in 2022 is the price point.
Unlike the HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook, you aren’t going to need to sell a kidney to enjoy the performance gains provided by Intel’s 12th Gen chipsets. Acer even took things further with the Spin 714, as there is currently not any configuration available using the Core i3 variant. Instead, the “base” model is powered by the Intel Core i5-1235U, which also means that you get onboard Iris Xe graphics.
In our testing, there wasn’t a single time that the Spin 714 couldn’t handle what I was trying to throw at it. That includes playing some games via Steam Alpha, and dealing with upwards of 20+ Chrome tabs being open at any given time. This isn’t going to be like the ARM-powered Chromebooks out there, so don’t be surprised if you hear the fans spin up. But it wasn’t as bad as some of the Chromebooks that use Intel’s 11th Gen chip when performing similar workloads.
Acer Chromebook Spin 714: Design and build quality
If there’s one thing that I have a tendency of harping on when testing out and using different Chromebooks, it’s when we have to deal with bottom-firing speakers. Acer is well-known for opting to use bottom-firing speakers, but when you’re sitting in a chair or on a couch, you might as well just grab some earbuds instead.
Thankfully, that’s not an issue with the Chromebook Spin 714, as Acer is finally, and I mean FINALLY using upward-firing speakers. These won’t blow you away or anything, and still fall short of some other Chromebooks out there. Placed at the top of the keyboard deck, between the keyboard and the hinge, these are loud enough to enjoy your favorite playlists, or if you want to fire up a movie.
Unlike the upcoming Acer Chromebook Vero 514, there’s really nothing super-unique about the design of the Chromebook Spin 714. It’s just another example of a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach, and that’s just fine. This combines aluminum with plastic and glass across the board, albeit with a slight change to the display, but more on that in a bit.
Around the frame of the Spin 714, you’ll find a solid selection of ports, headlined by dual Thunderbolt 4 ports. Both of these work just fine for keeping your Chromebook juiced up, even if you don’t use the included charging adapter. Other than that, Acer includes a full-size HDMI port, a 3.5mm audio combo jack, and a single USB-A port. The power button complete with its LED indicator is on the right, next to the audio jack, while the volume rocker can be found on the right.
At first glance, you might look around the edges of the Spin 714 and think that there’s nothing else to point out, save for the 360-degree rotating hinge. But that couldn’t be further from the truth, as you’ll see when looking at the front of the Chromebook. Beneath the keyboard deck is Acer’s garaged USI stylus, which is something a bit different from what you might expect.
When it comes to the overall build quality, it’s about what you would expect from an Acer Chromebook. There’s a bit of flex in the keyboard deck, but unless you’re a heavy typist, this likely won’t be all that noticeable. The keys are soft to the touch, while still all being backlit, which is somewhat to be expected in 2022, regardless of the price point.
There’s a reason why Acer continues to roll out a similar chassis for its most popular Chromebook models. It works, it’s reliable, and there are a few times when you find yourself wanting something a bit more durable. Could it feel more premium? Sure, but the Spin 714 gets the job done, which is kind of the point here.
Acer Chromebook Spin 714: Display and USI support
Unlike the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3, the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 not only ships with a stylus, but the display itself is compatible with the best USI stylus pens. There are some that bemoan the fact that this is a 16:10 14-inch display, instead of 3:2, but it’s close enough that you likely won’t notice. And if you’re coming from something like a MacBook Air, or certain Windows laptops, then you’ll feel right at home with the Spin 714.
The unit featured in this review sports a WUXGA (1920x1200) resolution, which is plenty crisp enough, especially when you change the display resolution to its native settings. Acer plans to launch another variant with a 2.5K resolution, but at the time of this writing, it’s not currently available. It’s the same story for those who want a higher-end Core i7 chip as opposed to the Core i5 found in our model.
Back to the display, though. Acer didn’t do anything crazy or fancy when it comes to the USI compatibility, as it would be a much bigger surprise if it didn’t include this at all. With the stylus in hand, and Google Cursive or Nebo at my disposal, I can jot down my notes, sign documents, or just scroll through different apps with ease.
I was even able to get my hands on the upcoming Lenovo USI Pen 2 with its USI 2.0 compatibility, and have not run into any problems on that front. That’s what we expect to see from USI compatibility, so while it’s not all that surprising, I still felt that it was worth pointing out.
Acer Chromebook Spin 714: A few minor quibbles
When it comes to using the Spin 714 with its included stylus, it’s a bit of a dual-edged sword scenario. On one hand, I never have to worry about the stylus falling off because the magnets aren’t strong enough. Or more importantly, I never have to worry about leaving my stylus behind entirely. It’s always there, ready for me to take some notes, or just doodle for no rhyme or reason but to help the time pass.
But the other “issue” that I found myself wrangling with is actually remembering that the USI stylus is actually there. With the exception of my Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, whose kickstand case keeps the stylus in place, all of my other devices only attach magnetically, or with the help of a case. That being said, there have been plenty of instances when I reach for my Penoval USI pen in my bag, only to remember after the fact that I didn’t need to do that.
The only thing that stands out to me when working from the Spin 714 is the odd branding in the top right corner of the bezel. Every time my eyes wander towards the top of the screen, they are met with an “Antimicrobial Corning Gorilla Glass” logo. While I’m happy to know that Gorilla Glass is protecting my screen, it’s more than a bit odd to be constantly reminded.
It’s almost like the stickers that various laptop makers, Acer included, insist on slapping on every model. Except, unlike those stickers, this label is “stuck in place” and can’t be simply peeled off.
My last “quibble” with the Spin 714 is the trackpad. This definitely might be a “me” problem, but I’ve become accustomed to larger trackpads than what we had to deal with just a few years ago. I didn’t even notice the smaller trackpad on the Spin 714 at first, but as I spent more time with it, I became more and more disappointed.
The trackpad itself works fine, for the most part, sometimes needing me to press a bit harder to register a click. But it’s just a bit too compact for my taste and is a bit surprising given the larger trackpad offered by the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 from earlier this year. Whether it’s cost-cutting or the addition of the upward-firing speakers, I really hope to see Acer come back next year with a larger trackpad.
Acer Chromebook Spin 714: The competition
As it currently stands, there’s really not all that much in the way of competition for what the Spin 714 has to offer. Lenovo’s only Chromebook with a 12th Gen chip, the ThinkPad C14, starts at more than $1,000 and is focused more on business use cases.
The same is true for HP and its excellent Elite Dragonfly Chromebook. While you can get a version with a lower-end Intel Core i3 processor, this still retails for almost $1,200. Even with the more elegant design and haptic trackpad, that’s a steep jump when trying to compare it to the Chromebook Spin 714.
For now, at least, the Chromebook Spin 714 is kind of just standing in a league of its own. True competition is expected to arrive in the form of an updated ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5, but that will come with a larger 16-inch screen. And it’s unlikely that this is the last new Chromebook that we’ll see before 2023.
Acer Chromebook Spin 714: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if…
- You want the best all-around Chromebook.
- You want a garaged USI stylus.
- You want a solid display with a rotating hinge.
You shouldn’t buy this if…
- You want a more powerful Chromebook.
- You want a fingerprint scanner built into your Chromebook.
- You want a QHD display.
The gripes and quibbles I have with the Spin 714 are truly minor ones. Not everyone wants a larger trackpad, and you might not even care about the Gorilla Glass logo in the top right corner. It’s really not all that noticeable unless you go looking for it.
What the Chromebook Spin 714 offers is a fantastic all-around package. It has plenty of power, even if you can’t get your hands on the Intel Core i7 model. Battery life is just about what you’d expect, easily lasting you through the day, with a little bit left over. And it definitely feels as though Acer has nailed the typing experience, even for those who type a bit harder than others and might notice the deck flex.
But for $730, the Spin 714 is arguably the best all-around Chromebook, making sacrifices where it makes sense, but still providing a very enjoyable experience. And with the garaged USI stylus, you’ll never have to kick yourself for leaving your stylus behind. At this price, it sure feels like Acer has another banger on its hands.
The best for everyone
Acer didn't try to break the mold with the Chromebook Spin 714. It's 14-inch display is bright and vibrant enough for most situations, while the garaged USI stylus ensures you can always take notes or doodle. And with the 12th Gen Intel performance, the Spin 714 is more than capable at handling pretty much every type of task.
Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.