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Acer Chromebook 714 review: A speedy 14in Chromebook

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
600
inc VAT

A decent 14in Chromebook with a 1080p display but build quality lags behind the best

Pros 
Big, sharp 14in display
Looks smart
Quick and responsive
Cons 
Some build quality issues
Display isn't particularly vibrant
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Chromebooks are a fantastic alternative to Windows machines for kids and students and, as the Acer Chromebook 714 proves, they’re not all stubby bargain-bin machines, either.

This laptop employs an Intel Core i5 CPU housed in a lightweight chassis, all topped by a Full HD non-touch display. Build quality is uninspiring but performance is great; it’s speedy and reasonably well-priced, too.

Acer Chromebook 714 review: What do you get for your money?

The Acer Chromebook 714 is a lightweight laptop with a sizeable 14in IPS Full HD display. It comes with a metal chassis finished in attractive matte dark grey, has a large touchpad with integrated buttons and a full-sized keyboard, plus a fingerprint reader for quicker, easier logins.

There are four models of the Chromebook 714 available across various retailers in the UK. The one I’m testing for this review (model number NX.HAYEK.001) costs £600 and comes with an 8th-Gen Intel Core i5-8250U, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of eMMC storage. There’s another model with this spec but 64GB of storage for £50 less, and a Core i3 model that comes with 128GB or 64GB of storage. I’ve listed the prices, core specifications and where to buy them below as Acer doesn’t make it particularly obvious:

  • NX.HAYEK.00B - Core i5, 8GB RAM, 64GB storage - £500 - Acer UK
  • NX.HAYEK.001 - Core i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage - £550 - Laptops Direct
  • NX.HAYEK.002 - Core i3, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage - £450 - Acer UK
  • NX.HAYEK.007 - Core i3, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage - £500 - John Lewis

Although reasonably slim at 18mm, the Acer Chromebook 714 isn’t the lightest 14in laptop around, tipping the scales at 1.6kg. Nor is it the best-made product. While the all-metal chassis looks great, the bottom plate doesn’t quite fit flush with the edges, leaving an ugly overhang, and the touchpad feels slightly loose and rattly when you click it.

That’s a shame because the surface of the touchpad – topped with Gorilla Glass – is smooth and pleasant under the finger and the keyboard is comfortable to type on, too. The keys offer plenty of travel and a decent level of feedback, and Acer hasn’t made any compromises in terms of layout, either.

There’s also a healthy selection of ports scattered around the edges. You get two USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 ports, one each on the left and right edges, and both are power and display enabled. There’s also a full-sized USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port on the left edge alongside a 3.5mm headset jack and a microSD card slot on the right so you can easily expand on the laptop’s 128GB of storage.

Acer Chromebook 714 review: What’s the screen like?

The 14in Full HD screen on the Chromebook 714 might be large and quite sharp by Chromebook standards but general image quality leaves much to be desired.

It gets reasonably bright at least, peaking at 267cd/m², and the contrast ratio at 962:1 is good enough for images to have some presence and punch. A matte finish on the screen reduces glare effectively, too.

Colour performance, however, is poor. The display is only capable of covering 55.9% of the sRGB colour gamut, resulting in a rather dull, insipid overall appearance.

Acer Chromebook 714 review: How about performance and battery life?

Despite the fact that the 714 comes with an older generation of mobile CPU, it’s still plenty fast enough to keep it feeling spry. The Intel Core i5-8250U included in this review sample is coupled here with 8GB of RAM and it delivered respectable levels of performance both in everyday use and in our benchmarks.

The 128GB of eMMC storage isn’t as impressive. I measured disk speed at 180MB/sec read and 134MB/sec write, which is slow by modern laptop SSD standards.

Battery life is, fortunately, much more impressive. Lasting 12hrs 13mins in our standardised video playback test, the Acer Chromebook 714 is the only Chromebook in recent memory to get close to the superb Pixelbook Go’s time of 14hrs 15mins. This means that, in reality, as long as you’re not using it continuously, the Acer Chromebook 714 will last several days between charges and it will easily get you through a day of work away from the mains.

READ NEXT: The best Chromebooks to buy

Acer Chromebook 714 review: Verdict

The Acer Chromebook 714 is a decent machine, then, just not a particularly inspiring one. Build quality is patchy and the display is disappointing, although performance and battery life are good.

Ultimately, unless you desperately want a Chromebook, I’d recommend you spend your £550 on an Honor MagicBook 14 instead. The ability to run full Windows apps, a larger, faster SSD and superior build quality all mean the Honor MagicBook is a better buy all around.

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