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Acer Chromebook 314-H review: Big battery, budget screen

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
230
inc VAT

Mid-range style on a low-end budget, but the specs and screen leave a lot to be desired

Pros 
Low weight and slimline style
Great battery life
Decent keyboard
Cons 
Disappointing HD screen
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It’s not hard to see the appeal of the Acer Chromebook 314-H. Here we have a Chromebook with a wallet-friendly £230 asking price, but with the slim-and-light body and 14in screen you might associate with more luxurious models. You’re paying bargain-basement prices while getting something that looks surprisingly mid-range, but does this mean putting up with the kind of corner-cutting that used to give many Chromebooks a bad name?

Acer Chromebook 314-H review: What you need to know

It’s no surprise that this is a Chromebook that’s clearly been built to a budget. The spec is par for the course for a low-end device, with an Intel Celeron processor and 4GB of RAM, while the 14in screen only has a bog-standard 1,366 x 768 HD resolution. Even though the Chromebook 314-H looks more expensive than it is, you still have to put up with most of the compromises you’d find in smaller Chromebooks at this kind of price point, only stretched across a bigger frame. Plus, with only 32GB of storage, there’s not a lot of space to install Android apps.

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Acer Chromebook 314-H review: Price and competition

The Chromebook 314-H is inexpensive for a 14in Chromebook, although Asus and HP have competing models that sell for not much more. In fact, Asus has its own variant, the 314 Touch 14, which ships with a 14in Full HD 1080p touch display, but at the cost of £300.

Move a little further up the price scale and you’ll find devices such as the Asus Chromebook C423 that give you the same and a little more processing power to work with, which could be worth your while if you want a Chromebook that can tackle more than browsing and basic web-based productivity apps.


Acer Chromebook 314-H review: Design

The big advantage of the Chromebook 314-H is that it allows you to step up from the 11.6in screens of the cheapest budget Chromebooks to a more expansive 14in display. What’s more, it’s all encased in a slim-and-light plastic chassis that, if you squint, you might almost mistake for aluminium. The blue tint helps sell the illusion and, beyond the slightly too flexible lid, it doesn’t even feel that cheap. If you were mean, you might describe the design as a poor-man’s MacBook Air, but for under £250, is that really such a bad thing to be? And, at less than 1.3kg, it’s very easy to heft around.

You also get more physical connectivity than on some smaller Chromebooks, with two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type A and two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type C ports, along with a microSD slot and the audio jack. It also supports 2x2 Mu-MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi for higher connection speeds.

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Acer Chromebook 314-H review: Keyboard and touchpad

A bigger unit also means more space for the keyboard and touchpad, plus generally more comfortable ergonomics. The keyboard isn’t bad, with a spacious layout and a short but crisp typing action. It’s no Pixelbook Go keyboard, but it’s definitely easier to work on than the keyboards of lower-end 11.6in devices. The touchpad is also pretty decent, with a clean, smooth surface and a squarer shape that makes it easier to move your pointer vertically around the screen.

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Acer Chromebook 314-H review: Display and sound

It’s once you turn the Chromebook 313-H on that the mid-range illusion starts to dissipate, mainly because it’s at this point you can see the screen. It’s nice to have the 14in screen size; you get a good working area without the need for regular squinting, and without the additional size and weight of a 15.6in laptop.

Sadly, though, the 1,366 x 768 resolution that can look crisp on an 11.6in Chromebook starts to look crude and pixelated when spread across this much screen. Worse, it’s really dim, not even getting above 200cdm2 in our tests, and contrast levels are way below average. sRGB gamut coverage is poor, at just 54.7%, and there’s a noticeable blue cast across the screen.

We haven’t tested the model with the Full HD touchscreen, but it’s probably worth paying the extra for. Full HD screens are rarely great at under £300, but you’re going to get something with more clarity and definition – and a more usable Chromebook as a result.

The sound isn’t bad. There’s no bass and not much body in the mid-range, making everything a little tinny, but it’s reasonably clear and with a surprisingly wide stereo spread. Keep some headphones handy, but for video chats or casual streaming, the audio here is perfectly adequate.

Acer Chromebook 314-H review: Performance and battery life

Sadly, if you were expecting any step up in terms of performance from the cheapest Chromebooks, then you’re going to go away disappointed. We’re back with our old friend from 2017, the Celeron N4000, and even with 4GB of RAM you won’t get impressive benchmark results.

As with any Chromebook, this isn’t necessarily disastrous. You can run a browser with five or six tabs open or run Google Docs and Google Sheets side by side on the same screen and you’re really not going to experience much slowdown. However, anything more demanding could push the Acer past its limits, and it definitely feels less snappy than the faster Chromebooks out there. In our tests, including the Android Geekbench 5 benchmark, performance was near-identical to the Acer Chromebook 311 C733 that has exactly the same spec.

As for battery life, the Chromebook 314-H is something of a star. The screen might be big, but the low-end processor and smaller pixel count help keep power consumption frugal, and as a result this Chromebook lasted some 12hrs 43mins in our video-playback test. Only a handful of Chromebooks we’ve tested have lasted any longer.

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Acer Chromebook 314-H review: Verdict

On balance, this isn’t a bad Chromebook for the money. It’s usable and, while not exactly speedy, is fast enough for simple, everyday tasks. Yet we keep coming back to that underwhelming screen and the feeling that this would have been a much better option with a bit more oomph. If budgets are tight, you might consider it, but there’s not enough here for this Chromebook to stand out.

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