The Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14 is great value Windows laptop that costs just £150
Google’s Chromebooks have helped create a whole new type of entry-level, budget-friendly laptop – ignoring a few exceptions like the £800 Google Chromebook Pixel and £1,095 Dell Chromebook 13, of course. With their focus on web-based tasks and storing the vast majority of your files in the cloud, Chromebooks have become a great low-cost option for anyone who spends most of their computing time inside an internet browser.
However, good cheap laptops aren’t just limited to Chromebooks, as there have been plenty of Windows-based alternatives popping up lately as well, including Acer’s Aspire One Cloudbook 14. This 14.1in laptop costs just £150, making it around £20 cheaper than the Dell Inspiron 11, and it manages to hit all the right boxes.
Design and Keyboard
Admittedly, the Aspire One Cloudbook 14’s rather bland, utilitarian design is hardly going to get your pulse racing. While the outer lid’s textured, perforated finish feels great to the touch, it’s a far cry from the bright, vibrant colours of the Inspiron 11. It doesn’t help that Acer’s chosen a grey matt interior either, but at least it’s reasonably portable, as the whole laptop only weighs 1.6kg and measures 17.9mm thick.
The 14.1in form factor also allows for a decent-sized keyboard. Sadly, it’s not particularly comfortable to type on. The tray doesn’t have as much flex as other cheap laptops I’ve seen, but the keys don’t have a lot of travel and the key action is relatively loud. As a result, I found myself making more typos than I would have liked, but, as with most keyboards, you do start to get used to it after a while.
The touchpad, on the other hand, is surprisingly good. It’s a generous size and it’s very responsive, as the coating Acer’s applied allows your swipes and gestures to glide effortlessly over its surface. The integrated mouse buttons have a distinct click action, too, making them very easy to use.
Ports and storage
The Aspire One Cloudbook 14 comes with a good set of ports, too. There are two USB ports available, one of which is the faster USB3, and there’s also a full-sized HDMI output and headset jack. More importantly, it has an SD card reader, which is vital when the device has just 32GB of eMMC storage, which, once you’ve taken into account Windows 10 and Acer’s pre-installed software, only leaves you with approximately 10GB of storage.
Of course, given the laptop has ‘Cloudbook’ in its name, it’s clear Acer’s intending its users to rely on cloud storage rather than storing the vast majority of their files locally. It even comes with 1TB of free OneDrive storage to that effect, as well as a year’s subscription to Office 365 Personal, the latter of which normally costs £60. This makes the Cloudbook 14 even more of a bargain than it already is, but it’s still useful to have an SD card reader on hand if you need to add extra capacity.
However, you probably won’t want to leave an SD card in the laptop permanently, as any inserted card will protrude from the edge of the Cloudbook 14 by about a centimetre. Still, you can always buy a reduced-size SD card if this is going to be a problem, as Macbook owners have been using this workaround for years.
|Processor||Dual-core 1.6GHz Intel Celeron N3050|
|Memory slots (free)||1 (0)|
|Sound||Realtek HD Audio (3.5mm headset port)|
|Graphics adaptor||Intel HD Graphics|
|Total storage||32GB eMMC|
|Optical drive type||None|
|Ports and expansion|
|USB ports||1x USB3, 1x USB2|
|Memory card reader||SD|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home|
|Operating system restore option||Restore partition|
|Parts and labour warranty||One year RTB|
|Price inc VAT||£150|