Acer’s new $399 Chromebook Plus 514 hits the mark for a solid budget laptop


There are a frankly ridiculous number of Chromebooks on sale to choose from, but Google’s Chromebook Plus initiative that launched last fall has gone a long way towards standardizing some key specs for ChromeOS devices. That in turn has made it a little easier to pick ones that’ll provide a consistent quality experience without breaking the bank. Acer’s latest Chromebook Plus 514, which the company just announced today, is a good example — at first glance, it looks like it checks most of the boxes I’m looking for when recommending a basic Chromebook that’ll work for most people.

To make things confusing, Acer already sells a few Chromebook Plus 514 models; this one is the CB514-4HT and is priced at $399. Look for that SKU if you want to make sure you’re getting the latest one. This laptop is powered by Intel’s 13th-gen Core i3-N305 processor and pairs that with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage — that latter spec is a bit of surprise and is a lot more storage than I’d expect to see on a $400 Chromebook. To meet the required Chromebook Plus specs, this laptop includes a 1080p webcam with a privacy shutter. While the resolution is pretty solid, not all webcams are equal so we’ll have to see how this one performs in real life.

Acer

The display is a 14-inch, 1080p touchscreen, so it’s not quite as tall as the 1,920 x 1,200 screens that I’ve seen on a number of other Chromebook Plus laptops. But again, at the price I’m not going to complain too much. It has a decent selection of ports, too: two USB-C and USB-A slots along with a microSD card reader. I wouldn’t have minded seeing HDMI here, as the USB-C ports could quickly be taken up by power and a monitor, but I just keep reminding myself this computer is only 400 bucks.

Acer says that this laptop will hit stores in early May, though the specific SKU we’re talking about here should also be at Costco as early as next week. The company also says it’ll have some other configurations available in the near future, though they didn’t say what’ll change. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a model with less storage or perhaps no touchscreen, which could drive the price down even more. If so, this might be a great budget option. But even as is, you should get a pretty good laptop here for the price.



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