Acer Chromebook 14 review

No, it isn't a MacBook Air

Acer Chromebook 14

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Lower end notebooks always involve tradeoffs, and the Acer Chromebook 14 is no exception.

With this Acer Chromebook 14, you'll get one good looking machine: it's sleek and attractive, even if its appearance is a little derivative of a certain laptop. It's also very well constructed and feels as solid as a rock. For 300 bucks? Nice.

But, you pay the price a little in terms of performance. While I find the Acer Chromebook 14 to be fast enough most of the time, HD video playback was also choppy at times.

We liked

With its clean lines and reasonably slim profile, the Acer Chromebook 14 makes for a subdued, classy notebook. In today's world of metallic-styled laptops, the Acer Chromebook 14 won't really turn heads, but that isn't a bad thing.

Although its screen isn't the best I've ever seen, it's crisp and sharp. And while not stellar, the keyboard and trackpad combination definitely gets the job done. Battery life impresses as well, even if it falls a bit short of Acer's 12-hour claim in real-life use.

We disliked

This is the second Chromebook I've reviewed here at TechRadar, and both exhibited issues with 1080p video playback. Depending on the sequence, videos dropped frames or appeared choppy at times.

Sure, it's a lower-end system, but just the same, this is 2016. You should expect even 1080p video to play back smoothly. Plus, the onboard speakers are pedestrian, even by notebook standards.

Acer Chromebook 14

Final verdict

The Acer Chromebook 14 could be an unequivocal winner. It has the looks. It has rock solid build quality. It has a satisfactory screen, keyboard, and touchpad.

But, intermittent video playback issues, even on the lightweight Chrome OS, holds this Chromebook back. And, that's really too bad, because Acer was so close to downright nailing it.