Hands-on Gear Review

Acer 14 Review

Top Pick Award
Price:   $300 List | $240.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Fast web browsing, large screen, great keyboard and trackpad, nice metal body
Cons:  Larger size somewhat less portable than other models
Bottom line:  A perfect choice if productivity or movie watching is a priority, and you don’t mind carrying around a machine that is the same size as a traditional laptop
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Acer

Our Verdict

The Acer 14 is discontinued as of Spring 2018. For more information about recent models, take a look at our updated review.

The Acer 14 offers a large screen for getting work done and a great typing experience for when you need to write a lot of emails. However, the upgraed Acer 15 is a bit larger and adds touchscreen capability. Since the Acer 15 is actually less expensvie than the Acer 14, it is the better choice for most people.



RELATED REVIEW: The Best Chromebooks of 2018

Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

Last Updated:
Monday
November 28, 2016

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Performance Comparison



The Acer 14 clearly stood out from the pack.
The Acer 14 clearly stood out from the pack.

Performance


The Acer 14 was able to fairly good performance in our tests. It shared the top score of 9 in this metric, putting it well ahead of the bottom score of 3. It stood up phenomenally to our everyday use test. Google Sheets windows were usually the first place we would notice any sort of lagginess in our testing, with switching between sheets and copying formulas across cells taking on noticable delays. The Acer 14 allowed us to quickly and easily navigate through Google Sheets, even with multiple other tabs open and high definition Youtube videos streaming in the background. During our testing it was so difficult to induce any kind of lagginess or glitches in the Acer 14 that in nearly felt like using a full fledged laptop. This meant that when our testers used the Acer 14 for a full length workday they noticed no limitations. Tabs could be opened and put aside for later without affecting speed, and background music could be streamed from whatever service they preferred without hogging all the RAM. The battery also made it through our full workday of use test with no problem whatsoever, and its advertised 12 hour battery life is one of the longest amongst the models that we tested. In fact, one of our testers used the Acer for a full day of work, then took it home and did some Netflix streaming, all on a single charge. On top of all this, the Acer 14 offers 32GB of onboard storage, which is double that of most other Chromebooks. This means you can be less selective in which Google documents to save to your hard drive for offline editing before a flight, and lends the freedom to download some movies to get you through the eight hour leg from New York to Geneva. In our opinion, you'd be hard pressed to find better performance out of a Chromebook.

Interface/Features


This is where the Acer 14 really separated itself from the other high performing models we tested. It again scored a 9 in this metric, which saw scores as low as 5. The large keyboard lends an almost desktop level typing experience and definitely won't fatigue your typing muscles, even during the most furious of email sessions. The key themselves were responsive and smooth, even for the speed demon typers amongst our testers. It also has the largest and one of the most responsive trackpads of any of the models we tested, with a smooth and pleasant clicking action. This meant it was by far our favorite model for scrolling, clicking around in spreadsheets, and copy and paste jobs. Bottom line, laptops in general and small Chromebooks especially can feel limiting because they don't provide the desktop style interface of a full sized keyboard and mouse. The Acer 14 goes farther in erasing these limitations than any of the other models we tested, and thus feels like the machine for people who plan on getting work done on their Chromebook.

The Acer 14 has a large keyboard and trackpad. It also has a full high definition 1080p screen.
The Acer 14 has a large keyboard and trackpad. It also has a full high definition 1080p screen.

Screen Quality


The Acer 14's screen is full 1080P high definition. The colors it produces are quite accurate and it has fairly nice contrast. It's not quite as good as the screen of the Acer 15, but it's still great for movie watching.

Portability


The Acer 14 is much larger than most Chromebooks, and at 3.4 pounds it is quite heavy. If you're willing to lug around a machine this large and heavy you'd probably be better off with the Acer 15.

The Acer 14 (left) is on the larger end of the Chromebook scale. It is about the same size and portability as a traditional laptop.
The Acer 14 (left) is on the larger end of the Chromebook scale. It is about the same size and portability as a traditional laptop.

Value


At a list price of $300, the Acer 14 is slightly above the average price of the Chromebooks we tested. Considering its increased performance and usability, this is a great value if you're looking for a streamlined secondary machine that lets you be productive when you're traveling, or want one that won't put a damper on your movie watching experience. If you're looking for a primary machine, $300 is enough to get you a low end traditional laptop with a bit more versatility, which might be a better value in that situation.

The Acer 14's metal body was the sleekest of all the models we tested.
The Acer 14's metal body was the sleekest of all the models we tested.

Conclusion


The Acer 14 was the best performing, most usable, and nicest to look at model throughout all of our testing. It is the perfect choice if you want a Chromebook that doesn't stifle productivity and provides a top notch movie watching experience.

Max Mutter and Steven Tata

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