CES 2021: Hands-on with the Acer’s Ryzen-powered Chromebook Spin 514 – Chrome Unboxed

General

Day 3 of CES 2021 and we have a little surprise for you thanks to a little package that Acer sent our way. Alongside the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook2, the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 is the second Chrome OS device to come out of this year’s virtual tech event and we have our hands on a pre-production model of the AMD Ryzen-powered convertible. While we can’t report on performance at this time, we wanted to put together a quick video to give you a brief rundown of what the new Chromebook has to offer and our initial impression of the device. Check it out and then, I’ll break down the details of Acer’s latest premium Chromebook.

Acer Chromebook Spin 514

As I mentioned in the video, Acer is targeting not only the Enterprise market with this new Chromebook but the consumer segment as well. When it debuts next month, the entry-level model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage is going to run $479 but options will range all the way up to a Ryzen 7 with 16GB of RAM and 256GB of NVMe storage. We don’t have pricing on the beefier models at this time but you can probably bet on the top-tier model being no less than $1,000.

Build

The Chromebook Spin 514 may look a tad bit familiar because it shares a lot of design cues with the Spin 713. At first glance, the biggest difference is the display. The Ryzen-powered Chromebook Spin 514 features a 14″ 16:9 display as opposed to the 713’s 13.5″ 3:2 panel. Apart from that, the two devices could pass for close relatives. The new Chromebook 514 has an aluminum lid and base with a magnesium alloy keyboard deck. While the designs are similar, the 514 does feel more “put together” than the Spin 713 and that is likely due to the fact that it has a MIL-Spec rating for drop-testing, water-resistance, and direct downward force. The hinges are tight and the chassis is solid with very little flex or give regardless of the mode you may have it in. The best part is that the Spin 514 only adds one millimeter of thickness over the 713 so it doesn’t feel like a clunky rugged device.

Keyboard and trackpad

The keyboard on this Chromebook is standard fare for an Acer device and that’s a good thing. No, it’s no Pixelbook Go but Acer makes good keyboards and this one is not an exception. The 514 does offer optional keyboard backlighting that looks very good against the black keys. The trackpad is definitely an area where Acer may have cut some corners but that’s not to say that it’s bad. It is for sure not glass but whatever it is made from, it isn’t floppy or cheap feeling. I’d guess mylar but I’ll have to research that one a bit. Either way, it has a decently sharp click and very little play that you occasionally see in non-glass trackpads.

Ports and speakers

Around the outside, Acer added a decent variety of ports. You’ll get two USB-C ports, an A port, MicroSD and for the Ryzen 5/7 models, you get an HDMI port. Of course, there’s a headphone jack and a Kensington lock. The speakers aren’t the best I’ve heard on a laptop but they are far from the works. They are actually quite loud for downward-firing audio and the mids and highs are clear as a bell. There’s just no bass but hey, it’s a laptop. For video conferencing and light media consumption, they’re just fine. That’s about all we have right now until we can get our hands on a retail unit and do some real-world benchmarks. Here’s a breakdown of the specs for the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 which will be available at some point in February or March.

Chromebook 514 Specs

  • Chrome OS / Chrome OS with Chrome Enterprise Upgrade
  • 14″ IPS display, Touch panel, Full HD 1920 x 1080
  • AMD Ryzen Accelerated Processing Unit (APU)
  • Up to 16 GB of DDR4 system memory
  • AMD Radeon Vega Mobile Graphics
  • Up to 128 GB eMMC, up to 256 GB NVMe SSD
  • 2 – USB Type-C ports supporting USB 3.2 Gen 1 (up to 5 Gbps)
  • Display port over USB-C
  • USB 3.2 Type-A port
  • HDMI® port (Acer Chromebook Spin 514 with Ryzen 5 or 7 APU will have a built-in HDMI port. For other SKUs such as Ryzen 3, Athlon Silver will not have a built-in HDMI port)
  • 3.5 mm headphone/speaker jack, supporting headsets with built-in microphone
  • Dimensions: 322.6 (W) x 225.5 (D) x 17.35/17.35 (H) mm (12.7 x 8.88 x 0.68/0.68 inches)
  • Weight: 1.55 kg (3.42 lbs.)
  • Battery Life: Up to 10 hours
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi 5 2×2 MIMO Bluetooth 5
  • Audio: Two built-in stereo speakers; Two built-in microphones
  • Durability: U.S. MIL-STD 810 (Sand and Dust testing based on MIL-STD 810F.)

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