Acer Chromebook 14 review

No, it isn't a MacBook Air

Acer Chromebook 14

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The way Chrome OS is built means that specs aren't quite as important as they would be for an ordinary Windows PC. That said, there are a few things to be aware of with the Acer Chromebook 14.

Spec Sheet

The Acer Chromebook 14 configuration provided to TechRadar is as follows:

  • CPU: 1.6 GHz Intel Celeron N3160 processor (quad-core, 2MB cache, up to 2.24GHz)
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 400
  • Screen: 14-inch 1,920 x 1,080 display
  • Storage: 32GB solid state drive
  • Ports: 2 x USB 3.0, HDMI, headphone jack
  • Connectivity: Intel 802.11ac, Bluetooth
  • Camera: Built-in webcam
  • Weight: 3.42 pounds (1696g)
  • Size: 13.4 x 9.3 x 0.67 inches (340mm x 236 x 17mm) (W x D x H)

Acer Chromebook 14

Specs-wise, the Acer Chromebook 14 is comparable to similarly-priced Chromebook models out there, like the HP Chromebook 14, right down to its Intel Celeron processor. Acer offers a Chromebook 14 model that starts at $279 (about £192 , AU$375), but a model with the faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi and more powerful quad-core Celeron processor costs only $20 (about £13 UK, AU$27) more.

Compared to Windows notebooks, the 32GB of storage is tiny, but it's a decent amount when compared to other Chromebooks, which often come with only 16GB of storage. The lack of an SD card slot means that you can't add more storage down the road, though.

Depending on your usage patterns, this may not be a big deal: storage space is less of an issue on web-centric Chromebooks than it is with a typical Windows PC or Mac.

Acer Chromebook 14


In regular usage – such as streaming music, browsing the web, watching YouTube videos and writing this review, the Acer Chromebook feels plenty responsive, even though its 1.6GHz Intel Celeron N3160 is hardly a powerhouse by modern PC standards.

Video playback was hit-and-miss, though: I noticed stuttering and dropped frames while watching 1080p HD video, an issue I also noted with the HP Chromebook 14.


Here's how the Acer Chromebook 14 fared in our suite of benchmark tests:

  • Mozilla Kraken 1.1: 3958ms
  • Octane 2.0: 8228
  • JetStream 1.1: 47.312
  • TechRadar Battery Test (movie test): 9 hours, 2 minutes

These benchmark results place the Acer Chromebook 14 right there with other lower-end, Celeron-based Chromebooks. The Kraken benchmark score of 3958 milliseconds is roughly on par with that of the similarly-specced HP Chromebook 14.

It lags well behind that of the more powerful – and more expensive – Dell Chromebook 13, however, which scored 2139 milliseconds on the Kraken test (lower scores are better), and 13,795 on the Octane test (higher scores are better).

How big an issue the Acer Chromebook 14's relatively slow performance is depends on how you use it. If all you're doing is working in Google Docs, browsing the web and so forth, you'll probably be just fine with this notebook.

If you're watching a lot of HD video or performing more advanced tasks – like performing frequent image editing in a tool like Pixlr Editor – maybe you'll want to spring for a more powerful Chromebook.

Acer Chromebook 14

Solid battery life

And, if you're not a super demanding user, you should be pretty happy with the Acer Chromebook 14's battery life. In TechRadar's Chromebook battery test – in which we play an HD video continuously until the battery calls it quits – the Acer Chromebook 14 managed a runtime of about 9 hours and 2 minutes (screen set at 50%brightness).

While that's a few hours short of the 12 hours of run time that Acer promotes, and well behind the Dell Chromebook 13's 14 and a half hours, it's still longer than day's worth of work. In my hands-on time, the battery paces for closer to 7 hours with the screen at about 65% brightness.

Put another way, this Chromebook should be able to make it through most of your workday without a charge, but you may want to pack the power adapter, just in case.