Popular Chromebook maker Acer today unveils several Chromebooks, from an inexpensive Chromebook 514 for $ 399 to the Chromebook Spin 514 for $ 699.99.
Most Chromebook manufacturers typically offer processor options that include more traditional Intel Core processors, cheaper Pentium Gold options, and ARM processors from MediaTek, Samsung, or others. It is this latter option that is a little confusing at times. How much power do these ARM-based Chromebooks actually offer?
This is the question potential buyers of the Acer Chromebook 514 ask themselves for 399.99 US dollars. The Chromebook 514, which will be available in North America in December, contains what Acer calls the MediaTek Kompanio 828, an eight-core ARM CPU that most buyers may not be familiar with. It is no doubt similar to the MediaTek Kompanio 820, which uses four Cortex-A76 performance cores alongside four more efficient A55 cores and a five-core Mali-G57 GPU. This sounds a lot like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8c, which used similar specs to power Windows PCs when it debuted in 2019.
ARM chips have always struggled a little on Windows PCs, but we’d expect Chrome OS to be a different story. The Chromebook 514 definitely looks like a solid traditional Chromebook. It has a 14-inch 1080p IPS display, up to 8 GB LPDDR4X-SDRAM and up to 128 GB eMMC solid-state storage. However, the battery life could be its strong point at up to 15 hours.
Acer’s Chromebook Spin 314 is the latest entry into what has traditionally been a popular choice for Chromebook buyers, with a 360-degree hinge that allows the Spin 314 to fold back on itself and act as a traditional Android tablet. Here you have the choice between a 14-inch display with 1366 × 768 pixels with a lower resolution or a more traditional 1080p display. You can choose from the Pentium Silver N6000 processor or the slightly more powerful Celeron N5100 and N4500 processors. Here, too, you have the choice between up to 8 GB SDRAM or up to 128 GB eMMC storage. According to Acer, the battery life of the Spin 314 should reach ten hours.
The third option for Chromebook users is the Chromebook Spin 514, which ships in January for $ 699.99 and up. The Spin 514 is the option for Chromebook buyers who want PC-equivalent performance in their Chromebook. The processor options range from the Core i3-1110G4 to the Core i7-1180G7. The other specs are PC-like too, with up to 16GB of LPDDR4X memory, Iris Xe graphics, and up to 512GB of PCIe Gen 3 SSD storage behind a 14-inch 1080p display. The battery life is about ten hours.
Acer has also added a few extra details to the Spin 514. A pair of upward facing speakers are supported by DTS audio, and the Spin 514’s 1080p webcam also includes a filter and noise cancellation to reduce lens flares. Don’t be afraid to drop it either, the Spin 514 is MIL-STD810H certified.
As Managing Editor of PCWorld, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology among other things. He has previously written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK and ReadWrite.