Considering its performance, size, and cost, the Acer Chromebook 314 provides a lot of value as a laptop. Anyone in the market for the best Chromebook 2021 has to offer, expecting excellent battery life, reliability, a crisp screen, and small yet not-too-small package – it has a 14-inch screen, after all – will appreciate this portable.
The Acer Chromebook 314 is not a monster of a laptop and it knows this, working extremely within its limitations. As such, it manages to balance performance, battery life, features, usability, and design for a well-rounded computing experience.
Highlights include a screen that is crisp, clear and bright, and the size of the screen allows for a roomy display with plenty of space to arrange apps, view tabs and documents; all promoting productivity greatly.
Equally, the battery life of a good 12 hours is a great thing to have, and really helps you get the most out of the solid performance that the 314 offers.
It'll handle all your online work needs, including web browsing, admin and watching entertainment. The keyboard is satisfying and a joy to use, with a satisfying click and clack, while the touchpad interacts well with all your fingers' movements and commands.
The connectivity and ports offered are pretty good, too. There's two of each kind of USB (C and A) to keep your extra devices live (one USB-C is for charging the Chromebook).
However, you'll quickly run out of space after you've connected a mouse, keyboard and phone or external drive, so that could be seen as an opportunity missed, particularly if its trying to emulate a laptop experience.
It also has no external display ports so there's no opportunity to hook this up to a monitor or screen for presentations, unless you use an adapter - again, sacrificing a USB port.
However, when you team the range of ports with its very reliable WiFi connection, the overall connectivity of Acer Chromebook 314 is pretty solid - though not spectacular.
It's not as compact as some might like, making it slightly more unwieldy - a hangover of its laptop-inspired design. It also suffers a bit from not having a touchscreen - unlike its smaller brother the Acer Chromebook Flip 311 which really gives that Chromebook an edge in interaction. It also lacks a fingerprint reader, though that seems like nitpicking somewhat.
If you're looking for something to use as an everyday next-to-the-sofa laptop or something to do all your online work on with no trouble, then this is the best Chromebook for you.
Here is the Acer Chromebook 314 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: Intel Celeron N4000 1.1Ghz (dual-core)
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 600
Screen: 14-inch LED; high definition 1366 x 768 pixels
Storage: 32GB eMMC
Ports: 2 x USB-A; 2 x USB-C; MicroSD; Audio jack
Connectivity: Wireless IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac; Bluetooth 5.0
Cameras: HD webcam
Weight: 3.75 pounds (1.7 kg)
Size: 12.8 x 9.1 x 0.78 inches (32.5 x 23.1 x 2 cm; W x D x H)
Price and availability
Acer's Chromebooks are some of the most readily available in the world, and as a result, at the time of writing - and to be expected - the Chromebook 314 is available globally.
However, it does appear to have to be imported into Australia, so expect to pay more for it there; it might not quite be the same value as it is elsewhere. The list price is $300 for the US, and £230 in the UK (around AU$490 - and that's before any import fees that may well apply).
They're a reputable maker of tech and machines so there's no reason to be unsure about the quality too. And at its price point, the Acer Chromebook 314 is certainly an attractive proposition.
Receiving the silver variant of the machine (it's also available in black), straight out of the box, you'd think the Acer Chromebook 314 was a small laptop or notebook.
And that's not to the detriment of the 314's design: it's pleasing as a result and immediately feels familiar.
The metallic silver casing surrounds it all apart from the black keys on the board and the black surrounding the screen. A pleasing contrast and exactly what you'd expect from a sleek Chromebook.
The screen itself is nestled nicely in the dark frame with a thick bezel on the bottom housing the logo, two thin ones on the sides, and a medium one at the top. The latter houses the camera and does it so neatly that you have to look hard to confirm its there. Nice and subtle.
Underneath that, the traditional restrained Chromebook keyboard is bang in the middle of the bottom pad and sits neatly above the large touchpad. Simple and effective; it never feels like we accidentally hit buttons or the pad so there's a good balance in the layout.
Stepping back its modest dimensions of 12.8 x 9.1 x 0.78 inches (32.5 x 23.1 x 2 cm; W x D x H) do allow for that spacious keyboard and touchpad arrangement and the roomy and bright screen that's plenty big enough to feed your eyes with spreadsheets, docs and data. And everything else.
Given its place at the larger end of the Chromebook-size spectrum, the fact it weighs only 3.75 lbs (1.7 kg) is great too. Even for someone with small hands, picking it up one handed from pretty much whatever angle is not much trouble at all. When closed, the Acer Chromebook 314's thin nature and lightness results in a very easy to handle machine. This makes it perfect to live next to the side of the sofa for a living room browsing machine.
All in, the design and build gives the Chromebook a very attractive look. It's particularly successful in mimicking the design of a laptop.
It ensures you have the look, feel and even the same means to interact with it as you'd expect on a modern, fully-fledged laptop that you may be used to - or just plain prefer.
This is all while retaining the restrained make up and, importantly, a smaller price tag than most laptops, which we have come to expect with good mid-to-high range Chromebooks.
However, this will be a double-edged sword for some. The laptop-esque size will appeal to many people, particularly those looking to keep their Chromebook looking and feeling familiar. But it also denies any opportunity for compactness that some Chromebooks excel in.
Here’s how the Acer Chromebook 314 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
JetStream2: 52,460 (higher is better)
JetStream 1.1: 81.415 (higher is better)|
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 (lower is better): 2313.7ms
Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 12 hours and 55 minutes
Interacting with that great design and actually using the Acer Chromebook 314, is, generally, a joy. It really is a lovely machine to work with and engage with.
The first and most obvious reason for this is the tactile factor: it is very satisfying to both type with and click around using the touchpad.
The click and clack of the keyboard is very pleasing, and each push of the touchpad feels significant despite each interaction being brief. There's a pleasing near-symmetry to the setup of the ports too, so using them is neat and tidy and allows you to plug in what you need and keep the cables and dongles out of the way.
We used the Chromebook for a range of work tasks and casual browsing and watching over a number of days and it handled everything that was thrown at it. Even the speakers are respectable enough for a machine of this composition and makeup proving adequate enough for a bit of YouTube rabbit holing and Netflix binging.
We used the Acer Chromebook 314 to book an important event during our tests, and this presented an opportunity to get a serious amount of tabs, sheets and docs open up at once.
Ploughing through the data and tabs and information in order to organise, book and plan a big trip was an ideal chance to put the Chromebook 314 through the ringer and it handled it easily.
The bright, roomy screen makes it ideal to peruse maps and images as well as documents and forms, seamlessly transitioning between tasks. Combine this intensive work out with usual work tasks and still the Acer Chromebook 314 had no trouble doing exactly what was required of it without any hiccups.
The advertised boot time of around 8 seconds is about bang on, too, and it's always easy enough to close the lid, and open it again to pick up from right where you left off, no matter the task. No rebooting or restarting delays here which is a big plus.
Simply put, the battery life is excellent. On the video loop test - where we set off a looped video at 720p with the Chromebook at 50% brightness and 50% audio - the Acer Chromebook 314 clocked up 13 hours - longer than the marketed 10 hours.
That represents roughly two full working days of life when in constant use and will see you through a heap of work and tasks. Whether you want to watch a looped video for that long is another question entirely, but regardless of how you run the battery down, the USB-C charging is incredibly efficient and will see you back to a full tank (from absolute zero) in about two hours.
Buy it if…
You're looking for an easy-to-use, well-performing Chromebook
Simply put, this is a great Chromebook, all in. So if you're looking around the $230 / £200 mark, and to get a great product for your money, this is it.
You want a laptop-esque Chromebook
Even just the design of the Acer Chromebook 314 screams 'laptop', so if you're looking for something that feels and interacts like your laptop to use online, this is a great choice.
You're after a large, bright screen
The screen is really excellent on the Acer Chromebook 314 and its brightness, clarity and sharpness sets it aside from some other models, like its sister the Acer Spin 311, in terms of display.
Don’t buy it if…
You’re looking for something extra tough and durable
Pretty, chic and slim is the Acer Chromebook 314's game here, so if you're looking for something that'll survive bumps and accidents this is not the one for you.
You're after a machine with good speakers
The Acer Chromebook 314's speakers are literally just fine for a Chromebook, but they lack depth and richness. It might be a construct of designing a slim Chromebook, but the audio is middling.
You can stretch your budget a little further
For the price you can't complain about the Acer Chromebook 314, but If you really want to get the most out of a Chromebook, you might find that stretching that budget to a more premium model like the Google PixelBook Go, which will get you more bells and whistles.
- These are the best Chromebooks