Acer

Acer Chromebook 514 Short Review (2022, Kompanio 828)

Acer Chromebook 514 Short Review (2022, Kompanio 828)

The latest Acer Chromebook 514 ($459.99) pulls off a tricky balancing act. If you’re in the market for a Chromebook, you might find it hard to choose between chunky compacts designed for K-12 grades and sleeker models that seem priced a bit high for what amounts to browsing. Internet and a Gmail machine. But at under $500, the Chromebook 514 looks as good as any high-end laptop, offers all-day battery life, and is more powerful than budget Chromebooks for kids. In fact, while other Chromebooks with ARM rather than Intel or AMD processors we’ve tested were particularly slow, the 514 is the one we recommend.


A high-end design

The Acer Chromebook 514 seen here (model CB514-2HT-K0FZ) is part of a larger line of Chromebooks with the 514 designation. Other models are also offered that use both ARM and Intel Core processors. Silicon choices include the MediaTek MT8192T, the dual-core Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor, and even the quad-core Intel Core i5-115G7 processor. Prices range from $399 to $779 for the best Intel systems. (Check out our recent review of the Core i3-based Chromebook 514 to see how it fared in testing.)

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Acer Chromebook 514 aluminum cover

(Photo: Molly Flores)

Equipped with 8 GB of memory and 64 GB of eMMC flash storage, the Kompanio 828 model is similar in design to the Core i3 version. The dimensions are much the same (0.66 by 12.7 by 8.9 inches, 2.87 pounds) and the overall layout is similar, from the thin bezel display to the basic chiclet keyboard. A noticeable but significant difference, however, is the lack of a drop hinge to support the laptop during use. The Kompanio CPU doesn’t generate the same kind of heat as a consumer Intel chip, and this difference allows the laptop to sit flat on the table and have fewer vents on the chassis.

Acer’s aluminum build is sturdy and feels more luxurious than you’d expect for a Chromebook under $500. The bare aluminum has a silver finish, and the edges are highlighted with a chamfer cut into the corners and a comfortable cutout under the touchpad that prevents the edge of the bridge from digging into your wrists.

Acer Chromebook 514 bottom

(Photo: Molly Flores)

The chassis itself uses a mix of materials ranging from aluminum on the lid to a polycarbonate plastic for the base and keyboard. However, unlike the Core i3 Chromebook 514, the balance is much better and the laptop doesn’t feel like it’s ready to tip over at the slightest nudge.

This stability will come in handy using the touchscreen capability of the 14-inch Full HD screen. It’s also a boon for anyone who wants to use Android apps on their Chromebook, whether for productivity or gaming. And the system comes with a padded cover for transport.

Acer Chromebook 514 keyboard and touchpad

(Photo: Molly Flores)

On either side of the keyboard is a grille for the Chromebook’s built-in stereo speakers, and below the keyboard is a generously sized touchpad covered in Corning Gorilla Glass. The keyboard and touchpad provide a fairly pleasant user experience, and the backlit keyboard makes it easy to see what’s going on even in darker environments.

Overall, the Acer 514 has a very basic, yet extremely functional and simple design. The webcam above the display includes a bright green indicator light, so there’s never a question of whether your camera is on or off. The webcam’s 720p sensor offers decent image capture, but colors look a bit washed out and it’s not very good at handling high contrast lighting.

Acer Chromebook 514 port left

(Photo: Molly Flores)

Port selection isn’t as generous as we’d like. On the left, you’ll find a single USB 3.2 Type-C port that doubles as a laptop charging port, along with a USB Type-A port and a headphone/headphone combo audio jack.

Acer Chromebook 514 right ports

(Photo: Molly Flores)

On the right is a single USB-C port. It’s not as robust as the Core i3 model we sampled, which added an HDMI video output and an SD card slot.


A more mature Chrome operating system

Chrome OS has grown tremendously over the years, not just in terms of user numbers – it overtook Apple’s macOS last year – but also as a relatively robust laptop experience.

The Chrome environment is still online first, relying on cloud-based apps like Google Workspace instead of locally stored software, but this paradigm has expanded to include all manner of productivity tools. and management, making it a viable choice for both casual and professional corporate surfers.

Cloud apps and Chrome browser extensions replace most traditional programs, but the addition of Android support also makes Chromebooks tempting for mobile users who rely on their smartphones for work and play, bringing all kinds of tools via the Google Play Store.

At this point, you can do just about anything you need to do (except professional workstation apps) on a Chromebook, as long as you’re willing to be flexible about the tools you use. to access the finished product.


Acer Chromebook 514 review: Performance without the Premium

For our tests, I compared the Kompanio 828-powered Acer Chromebook 514 to a handful of other Chrome OS laptops. In addition to the Intel Core i3 variant mentioned above, I’ve included Chromebooks with similar processing power like the Intel Celeron-based Dell Chromebook 11 and the Asus Chromebook Flip CM3, which uses a different MediaTek processor. That left room for the Editors’ Choice award-winning Acer Chromebook Spin 713, so we could see how the Kompanio fared against a high-end Core i5 Chromebook. You can see the specs of the contenders below.

For Chromebook benchmarks, we rely on three benchmarks: one native to Chrome OS, one based on Android, and one purely online. The first is CrXPRT 2 from Principled Technologies, which measures daily performance in a variety of common tasks such as applying photo effects, graphing a stock portfolio, analyzing DNA sequences and generating 3D shapes using WebGL.

The second test, UL’s PCMark for Android, runs a number of productivity tests in a smartphone-like window. Finally, Basemark Web 3.0 is a browser-based test that combines low-level JavaScript calculations with CSS and WebGL content to measure the online productivity that’s so essential to the Chromebook experience. Higher scores are better in all three.

The 514’s MediaTek Kompanio processor outperformed low-end processors from Asus and Dell. But it couldn’t match the more powerful Intel Core processors of other Acers, which scored higher across the board and had higher prices to match.

Next, we test a Chromebook’s CPU and GPU performance directly using Geekbench and GFXBench 5.0 from Primate Labs respectively. The first simulates real-world applications ranging from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine learning to stress multi-core processors. The second leverages a laptop’s integrated graphics to test graphics and compute shaders in low-level routines like texturing and high-level, game-like image rendering, with results measured in frames per second (fps).

Finally, to test the battery, we loop a 720p video of the open-source Blender movie Tears of Steel with screen brightness set to 50%, volume to 100%, and Wi-Fi and keyboard backlight off until the system shuts down. For Chromebooks like the 514 whose local storage is too small to hold the file, we play video from an external SSD plugged into a USB port.

Again, we saw performance that edged out budget Chromebook processors, but trailed Core i3 and Core i5 systems. The MediaTek Kompanio 828 offers a good middle ground for users who want decent performance without the premium they’d pay for a more powerful Intel chip.

And our test unit really delivered on battery life, finding no middle ground between the cheap and premium ends of the Chromebook category, but managing a best-in-class 11-hour battery life. That gives you more than enough juice to get through a full day of work or school without packing the power adapter.

Acer Chromebook 514 right angle

(Photo: Molly Flores)


A surprisingly chic budget game

What the Kompanio 828-based Acer Chromebook 514 brings to the table is a sleek machine that offers a lot of what you want in a high-end Chromebook, including a sleek build and relatively nice performance, but that’s always sells at an affordable price. At $459.99, it’s far more affordable than a $700 or more Intel Chromebook, while still efficiently handling day-to-day apps and delivering hours of battery life. It’s not the best Chromebook you can buy, but this Acer 514 might be the best midrange Chromebook under $500.

Acer Chromebook 514 (2022, Kompanio 828)

The essential

The Acer Chromebook 514 with an ARM Kompanio processor offers a sleek design and above-average battery life at an affordable price.

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