Can Chromebooks shed their low cost, plastic-cased, Okay-12 lecture room stigma and make it within the company global? HP thinks so; the Chromebook x360 14 G1 we reviewed in Would possibly 2019 combines an aluminum lid and keyboard deck with a collection of Core i3, Core i5, or Core i7 energy. Dell thinks so, too; its just lately introduced Latitude 5400 Chromebook Endeavor pairs the similar CPU choices with swift SSD-based moderately than flash garage. And Acer thinks so; its all-aluminum Chromebook 714, examined right here in a strapping configuration for a cheap $649.99 (fashions get started at $499.99), gives fancy options akin to Google Assistant and a fingerprint reader, along side a perky Core i3 CPU and a 14-inch 1080p contact display. In some ways, the 714 is the most efficient argument but for Chromebooks in industry—however in a single key side, battery lifestyles, it disqualifies itself from a very simple Editors’ Selection.
A Discount for the IT Division
The Chromebook 714 would appear to be a right away competitor for the brand new Dell (which PC Labs hasn’t examined but), however the latter is a lot more pricey. A Core i3 Latitude 5400 configuration with the similar 1080p contact show and 8GB of reminiscence is $1,217, albeit with a 256GB solid-state force to the Acer’s 64GB of eMMC flash.
Certainly, you’ll be able to purchase a Chromebook 714 for as low as $499.99, even though that is a non-touch fashion with a Pentium processor and most effective part the garage. Acer’s probably the greatest Core i5 fashion is $799.99.
My check unit (fashion quantity CB714-1WT-32KD) is a gunmetal grey wedge with a dismal Google Chrome emblem and a silvery Acer emblem at the lid. It measures zero.7 by means of 12.7 by means of nine.four inches and weighs three.five kilos, making it minutely larger than our client Chromebook Editors’ Selection, its Acer Chromebook 514 sibling (zero.7 by means of 12.7 by means of nine.1 inches, three.three kilos). The display opens a complete 180 levels and has stylishly skinny aspect bezels.
Acer says that the Chromebook 714’s anodized aluminum chassis can continue to exist four-foot drops and 132 kilos of downward pressure. It has met one of the most similar MIL-STD 810G sturdiness requirements as robust Home windows laptops like Lenovo’s ThinkPads and HP’s EliteBooks. I spotted hardly ever any flex after I grasped the display corners or mashed the keyboard.
At the left aspect, you can in finding USB three.1 Sort-C and Sort-A ports and an audio jack. Any other USB three.1 Sort-C port is at the proper, along side a microSD card slot and a notch for a Kensington safety lockdown cable.
You’ll plug the compact AC adapter or a DisplayPort adapter (now not integrated) into both USB-C port—I am left grumbling once more that I want Chromebooks got here with HDMI ports—and make the most of 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth four.2 for wi-fi connections.
Communicate and Contact
The Chromebook 714 is most effective the second one Chrome OS software now we have noticed (after the Google Pixel Slate pill) with a fingerprint reader. You might be caused right through preliminary setup to “Contact the facility button together with your finger,” as at the Pixel Slate, even though the reader’s in fact at the palm leisure.
The characteristic allows you to use your finger to approve purchases, signal into suitable apps, or liberate the Chromebook after you could have locked it to step away out of your table. I used to be dissatisfied, then again, to search out it did not paintings to let me check in after turning the pc on and off once more, as Home windows Hi fingerprint readers do.
Extra a laugh to play with is Google Assistant, which (in the event you toggle a settings transfer to stay it listening) responds in your spoken “Hiya Google” or “OK Google.” It additionally acknowledges instructions akin to “Take me back to the fact to name Karen at 2:30” or “Play Sheryl Crow” (in the event you’ve configured a streaming track carrier) or “What is the climate forecast?” I am not certain of its industry worth, however I used to be proud of its correct voice popularity.
The 720p webcam captures respectable photographs, with ok lights even on overcast days and just right element. Complete-screen Google Duo photographs appeared slightly softer, however they confirmed great colours and now not an excessive amount of grain or noise. Google Play Song balked at taking part in my MP3 track information, however Chrome Audio Participant and the bottom-mounted audio system simply stuffed a room. The sound was once a smidge hole, however overlapping tracks got here thru obviously, with out a lot bass but in addition with out buzzy or tinny overtones.
Something I famous up entrance in regards to the display: The default Chrome OS 100 % scaling at the IPS show is not in fact 1,920-by-1,080-pixel solution. It is an Apple-style “seems like 1,536 by means of 864” atmosphere. You’ll drag a slider for resolutions from 1,182 by means of 665 (providing you with large display components) to two,194 by means of 1,234 (for tiny ones). It is price toying with this slider to get the onscreen gadgets in your eyes’ convenience stage.
Except that element, the panel is ok however now not remarkable. Its matte end prevents the type of glare commonplace to the touch displays. Offside viewing angles are huge, and colour and distinction are pleasurable. At the minus aspect, I discovered myself retaining the brightness cranked to the max and wishing I may flip it up every other one or two notches as a substitute of dialing it down one or two to avoid wasting battery energy. It isn’t darkish, however it assists in keeping colours from popping and backgrounds from being crisply white.
The backlit keyboard follows the acquainted Chromebook structure, with a seek/menu key rather than Caps Lock and a most sensible row of browser and system-command keys. You will not mistake it for a mechanical desktop keyboard, or perhaps a class-leading ThinkPad, however it has an adequately snappy, if plasticky, typing really feel. (In all probability the commute is a tad shallow, however the keys do ship just right comments.) The huge, buttonless Gorilla Glass touchpad (accented, just like the fingerprint reader, by means of natty chrome trim) makes gliding, tapping, and clicking really feel nice.
In conjunction with a one-year guaranty, the Chromebook 714 carries Google Chrome Endeavor and Citrix In a position seals of approval. The latter certifies its compatibility with the Citrix Receiver, XenApp, and XenDesktop platforms for endeavor visualization. Additionally, like different Chromebooks, the Chromebook 714 comes with a 12 months of Google One carrier with 100GB of cloud garage, which is a $19.99 worth.
Trying out the 714: Some Muscle, However Brief on Stamina
The pc breezed thru my subjective utilization checks, akin to opening a dozen browser tabs, taking part in 1080p movies, and navigating the Google Play Retailer. A number of Android apps and video games ran easily, and average multitasking did not bathroom the formulation down.
For our goal benchmarks, I pitted the Acer Chromebook 714 towards one clamshell—the Acer Chromebook 514, which has a quad-core, 1.1GHz Pentium N4200 processor—and 3 convertibles. The Dell Inspiron Chromebook 14 2-in-1 and 15.6-inch Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630 have the similar dual-core, 2.2GHz Core i3-8130U chip as my Acer Chromebook 714. The HP Chromebook x360 14 G1, in the meantime, boasts the most powerful CPU within the workforce, a quad-core, 1.7GHz Core i5-8350U.
Productiveness & Browser Assessments
The 714 acquitted itself capably, pummeling the Pentium-powered fashion 514 and staying inside shouting distance of the Core i5 HP.
Battery Rundown Take a look at
In our battery lifestyles check, by which we loop a in the neighborhood saved video at 50 % display brightness and 100 % audio quantity with Wi-Fi switched off, the Acer was once some distance much less spectacular…
Frankly, it was once uncompetitive, as you’ll be able to see above, regardless of my working the check two times with the very same PC Labs technique used when reviewing the highest two finishers. Its time would possibly suffice for some airplane journeys, however it would possibly not get you thru a workday in the best way I be expecting a light-weight pc to at the present time.
So Shut, and But So A long way
Frankly, I went into this overview viewing the Chromebook 714 as a robust candidate for our industry Chromebook Editors’ Selection—the incumbent, ultimate 12 months’s HP Chromebook x2 removable, turns out to have left the marketplace, and the Acer fashion represents a step forward in different tactics. However I have hardly ever needed to subtract a celeb from a product’s ranking as I did because of the battery benchmark.
If unplugged lifestyles is not vital to you, it’s possible you’ll wish to imagine the 714 anyway. It is as as regards to a state of the art Chromebook as you’ll be able to get. Even with an Achilles’ heel, it is a sturdy runner.