The Acer Chromebook Spin 514 has some eye-catching features that give this ChromeOS 2-in-1 a premium feel and performance. The star is the large 14-inch Full HD touchscreen that is widescreen and ideal for video streaming. It's large enough to be used as your home laptop and compact enough to take on your travels.
The size of the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 means it ideal for crafters looking for the best Chromebooks for Cricut as as well as a good tablet alternative, ensuring it's one of the best tablets for students – the Spin 514 is a 2-in-1 laptop that can be folded into a tablet.
This Chromebook can be folded and flexed in a number of ways with ease, and unlike cheaper 2-in-1 laptops the metal frame and sturdy hinges ensure durability. There are plenty of ports on the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 too, meaning you have HDMI, USB 1.0 and dual USB Type-C ports for charging and connecting to a second monitor or device.
The model I'm reviewing here is the quad-core AMD Ryzen 5 processor and AMD Radeon GPU with 8GB RAM and 128GB eMMC flash memory. There is a cheaper build with a dual-core AMD Ryzen 3 and 4GB. If you need more power this brand has the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 that comes with an AMD Ryzen 7 processor.
To review this 2-in-1 laptop I used it over two months, on work and craft projects, as well as connecting it to a Xencelabs pen tablet (the USB-C port made this easier than on other Chromebooks). Read our guide to how we test and review on Creative Bloq and in particular how we test laptops, PCs and workstations for more details of my process.
Acer Chromebook Spin 514 review: design
The Acer Chromebook Spin 514 is built from brushed aluminium and feels solid in the hand and under your fingers as you type. The keyboard keys are ever-so slightly raised a little higher than those on a MacBook Pro, but it's the same size and layout, giving you enough space to type freely and unhindered. The trackpad is a little smaller than a MacBook Pro and can feel a little laggy when used, the upshot is the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 has a touchscreen so you soon learn to tap the screen for quick responses.
Operaring system ChromeOS
CPU AMD Ryzen 5 3500U processor quad-core 3.7 GHz
GPU AMD Radeon Graphics shared memory
Display 35.6 cm (14") Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 Touchscreen
RAM 8 GB
Memory 128 GB Flash Memory
Dimensions 22.55 x 32.26 x 1.73 cm
Weight 812 g
This 2-in-1 is loaded with ports – two USB-C, USB 2.0, HDMI, a MicroSD slot and a 3.5mm audio jack – and makes it an ideal cheap laptop for students who need to transfer data easily. The downside to featuring the older USB 2.0 ports is it does give the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 a chunkier profile than some more forward-facing Chromebooks, like the Lenovo IdeaPad 5i Chromebook or the HP Chromebook X2.
The screen is the star here. This is a 14-inch Full HD, IPS display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and a 16:10 aspect ratio – this is unusual for a 2-in-1 as they often come in a square format. While the ratio means there's a larger black bezel below the screen the sides have ultra-narrow bezels.
This is a vibrant screen with bold and rich colours, the white is bright and crisp and overall an ideal display for work and play – you'll happily watch Netflix on the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 or work on video, images and digital art. The size of the display means you can have multiple apps and tabs running at once, and ChromeOS can handle a lot of work at once.
Acer Chromebook Spin 514 review: performance
As a 2-in-1 laptop the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 is capable of being used in a number of ways, from traditional laptop to tablet mode. In use is a solid and well-made device with strong hinges that ensure you can flip between modes without fear of cracking the case or damaging the screen connection.
There's a slight downside to tablet mode; the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 weighs 1.5kg and when compacted into tablet mode it's just about light enough to hold in one hand but not comfortably.
Better is the touchscreen that performs well and is very accurate. Its colour range is excellent and the white bright and sharp, though you'll need to up the brightness of the screen for best use, which can knock back the battery life. Speaking of which, the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 lasted just under 10 hours of continued use (streaming video) and proves a dependable laptop.
Browsing is fast and responsive, no matter how many tabs are open. The benchmark Kraken showed a speedy 887 milliseconds, making it one of the faster Chromebooks we've tested and double the speed of the HP Chromebook x2.
JetStream 2 106.725
GFXBenchmark Driver Overhead 2, 59fps; ALU 2, 60fps; Tessellation, 60fps
The Ryzen 5 processor is ideal for whizzing around ChromeOS apps, such as Docs and Sheets, and with the new app shelf this Chromebook is far easier to use than older models – ChromeOS is a browser-based, cloud system so the artificial app shelf replicates the sense of using a traditional laptop.
The new ChromeOS is fully integrated with Android apps and games, which means there's a good spectrum of tools to use. Of course you can run full software as you would on a Surface Pro 9 or advanced apps such as Procreate that are exclusive to Apple.
If you're a gamer the AMD Radeon GPU won't run triple-A games or 3D apps, so you're restricted to Android games (good news for Marvel Snap addicts). A workaround is to download the Xbox Game Pass app and stream advanced games over Wi-Fi 5, the Full HD screen is excellent for the best Xbox games and the Xbox controller can plug and play into this laptop.
As with most ChromeOS laptops the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 is excellent for everyday tasks and the spread of office apps ensures its an affordable laptop for students and work. But if you're a video editor, advanced digital artist or dedicated gamer you will need more power and adaptability.
Acer Chromebook Spin 514 review: should I buy one?
The Acer Chromebook Spin 514 (model CP514-1H) reviewed here is the Ryzen 5 build with 8GB RAM, and costs $579.99 / £599.99 but Acer also does a cheaper Ryzen 3 build for $399 / £379. There are also various other builds of the Spin 514 around, for example there's a fanless Intel i5 model with 256GB SSD but as you'd expect the price will get closer to $800 / £800, and for a Chromebook that's a little costly.
This Ryzen 5 Acer Chromebook Spin 514 does just fine for any task you'll want to ask of a Chromebook. It's speedy, reliable and the build quality is excellent. I particularly love the sharp FHD touchscreen and the widescreen 16:9 format is excellent for video streaming, and there's more space for opening multiple browser tabs.
For the price the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 proves a versatile laptop, and it's rare to get a 14-inch touchscreen of this quality for under $500 / 500, and while the Ryzen 5 build is the top end of that price point it represents excellent quality if you're after a solid 2-in-1. As ever with ChromeOS, its apps are limited to the Google Play Store, so do some research and ensure you're happy with the spread of options – but as a day-to-day web browser, office work and video streaming laptop, the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 is excellent.
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