Slim, flexible, fast and affordable, this is the best premium Chromebook around - and it still doesn’t cost the earth
- Strong performance and battery life
- Lightweight, versatile 2-in-1 design
- Solid ergonomics
- Screen could be sharper
Alas, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is no more. While there are still devices in the channel, Acer has declined to upgrade its Chromebook classic from its 11th generation Intel version, switching focus instead to a 14in convertible, the Acer Chromebook Spin 714. With it, gone is the old model’s gorgeous 13.5in, 3:2 QHD screen, replaced by a slightly larger 14in, 16:10 Full HD affair. In this key respect, the Spin 714 is inferior to its predecessor.
In every other respect, though, this is one of the best Chromebooks around right now, particularly if you’re looking for something thin, light, versatile and speedy. While you might miss the outgoing Chromebook Spin 713, it would be a shame to miss all of the good stuff the Spin 714 has to offer.
Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (2023) review: What you need to know
The Chromebook Spin 714 is a 2-in-1 convertible Chromebook with a 14in, 16:10 touchscreen, giving it a square aspect ratio and more of a desktop-type footprint than your average 14in, 16:9 laptop.
The range begins with a version with a Core i3-1315U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, and extends to a Core i5-1335U model with 8GB and 512GB. Both versions ship with a bundled USI stylus, which slots into a dock on the front edge.
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Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (2023) review: Price and competition
The old Chromebook Spin 713 used to be seen as a high-end Chromebook, although with prices topping out at around £799, it was really a premium Chromebook at a mid-range price point.
The Spin 714 starts at £600 with the more expensive model at £800, which puts it somewhere between other mid-range Chromebooks such as the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 and the Asus Chromebook CX34 Flex.
In fact, its biggest rival is the Asus Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flip, which has a similar 14in screen and convertible form factor. In theory, the Asus is a gaming Chromebook, but it’s more than good and versatile enough to work in almost any situation, from the office to the lounge.
Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (2023) review: Design
The design is an evolution of the Chromebook Spin 714’s compact shape, not as square but still attractively slim and light. The dark grey metal chassis measures 322 x 224mm and is just 18mm thick, and when you combine that with a 1.37kg weight you have a thoroughly portable device, perfect for slinging in a bag or backpack. Yet the 14in screen and roomy keyboard give you ergonomics that are comfortable enough for a full working day at the desk.
Unless you want to step up to a less portable 16in Chromebook, this is as good as it gets. What’s more, the Spin 714 brings a flexibility you won’t find on the big-screen bruisers.
The 360-degree hinge allows you to fold the screen back against the keyboard and use it as a super-sized tablet. Or you can put it in a stand or tent configuration for entertainment or for use with an external mouse and keyboard. What’s more, the supplied passive USI stylus makes it a great machine for note-taking, annotating documents, sketching and doodling.
With 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt sensitivity, the Acer Spin 714 can even handle more sophisticated digital art, although if you’re serious about that you’ll probably want to go down the tablet route instead.
The built-in connectivity is better than the Chromebook average, with two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a single USB-A 3.1 port, an HDMI 2.1 output and a 3.5mm headset jack. There’s no Ethernet, but that’s easily fixed with a USB dock or adaptor, while most people will use the 2×2 Wi-Fi 6E wireless networking anyway.
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Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (2023) review: Keyboard and trackpad
The Spin 714 sticks to the classic formula when it comes to the keyboard. It still has well-spaced, large flat keys, a sensible layout and plenty of travel and, while the action could be just a smidgeon crisper, it’s still very fast and comfortable to type on.
In fact, the slim, wedge-shaped profile and the way the hinge lifts the keyboard to an angle helps make it one of the best Chromebooks to work on if you need to type a lot. The trackpad is slightly smaller than it used to be but it’s super smooth, consistent and reliable when tracking pointer movement or multitouch gestures.
Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (2023) review: Display and sound
On paper, the Spin 714’s screen should be slightly disappointing. With its 2,256 x 1,504 resolution and 13.5in screen size, the old Spin 713 packed more pixels into a smaller space, along with impressive colour, clarity and contrast.
The 14in screen here can’t match the old model’s for definition, but it’s really not such a big deal. High brightness levels (up to 387cd/m2) and a low black level (0.1cd/m2) mean there’s still plenty of contrast, and scaled text and images look great on the 1,920 x 1,200 resolution panel.
Colour performance is also decent, with sRGB coverage of 93.6% and 71% of DCI-P3. The average Delta E colour difference versus sRGB is just 1.8, meaning colour accuracy is good.
Whether working in Google Workplace docs, streaming video or browsing the web, I’ve found the Spin 714 an absolute pleasure to work on and the screen has played a major part, partly because it provides a little more horizontal space to work with, which comes in handy when you’re working with multiple apps spread across windows or using Chrome OS’s split-screen views.
The sound doesn’t have the same power or volume as you get from some of the gaming-focused Chromebooks, but it’s loud enough for Netflix binges and general office use. It’s clear, with a nice, rounded tone and, while it’s a touch brash at maximum volume, keep it between 60% and 70% level and you’ll be fine.
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Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (2023) review: Performance and battery life
With an Intel Core i5-1335U at the helm, the Spin 714 is the first Chromebook we’ve tested using Intel’s 13th gen Core CPUs. It isn’t the fastest Chromebook we’ve ever tested – the Acer Chromebook 516GE takes that prize, thanks to its 12th gen Core i7 CPU – but it’s not that far behind, scoring 1,523 (single-core) and 5,559 (multicore) in Geekbench 5 and 1,869 (single-core) and 6,651 (multicore) in Geekbench 6.
Meanwhile, where the Chromebook 516GE scored 242 in the JetStream benchmark and 232 in WebXprt 4, the Spin 714 scored 228 and 218 respectively.
In general use, with web-based apps, you’re going to find it extremely snappy, and there’s more than enough power on tap for running Android and Linux programs. It’s even competitive in 3D benchmarks, scoring 84 to the 516GE’s 87 in the GFXBench Aztec Ruins benchmark. Install Steam on this thing and you’ll be able to play less-demanding games, especially if they’re, say, a decade or so old.
What’s more, the Spin 714 is an absolute champ when it comes to battery life, reaching 13hrs 19mins in our video rundown test, beating the old Spin 713 by nearly four hours. We’ve seen a few low-power ARM Chromebooks like the old Lenovo IdeaPad Duet do even better, but not much else.
Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (2023) review: Verdict
Sure, we’d like a higher-resolution screen, but in every other respect the new Spin 714 is the Chromebook to beat. The display is still fantastic, its performance and battery life are stellar, and it’s great to use both as a working laptop and a versatile browsing and video-streaming device. The bundled stylus is excellent, and the keyboard and touchpad don’t let the side down, either.
While the Asus Chromebook Vibe CX34 Flex gives it serious competition, often at a slightly lower price, I’d say the Spin 714 is worth the little extra. Unless you want a bigger screen or an even slimmer, lighter design, this is the premium Chromebook to buy.