Acer rolled out the 514 Chromebook back in 2018 as an upscale alternative to the budget systems to which the Chromebook name is often tied. With its $349 price tag and touches like a metal chassis, 1080p display, and Corning Gorilla Glass touchpad, it was looking to split the difference between the $149 and $199 Chromebooks and luxury versions like the Google Pixelbook. As CES 2021 begins, the company is back with an upgraded version that not only adds popular 2-in-1 functionality, but also marks a new direction for Chromebook processors.
The Chromebook Spin 514 is the latest in Acer's Spin family of convertible laptops, such as the Spin 13 and the Spin 512, equipped with a 14-inch full HD touchscreen that's sheathed in Gorilla Glass to withstand scratches. But what's inside is probably more notable, as it's the company's first Chromebook to use AMD's new Ryzen 3000 C-Series mobile processors. Although the Chrome OS is designed to perform with a light amount of resources, there's always been a market for faster Chromebooks, and these Ryzen chips were created to fulfill that niche, easily outperforming their AMD A6 predecessors and featuring a number of Radeon graphics cores.
While Acer hasn't announced specific configurations of the Spin 514 yet, it does mention that more powerful processors in the mobile Ryzen 3000 series like the quad-core Ryzen 5 3500C and Ryzen 7 3700C as potential options. You also get other spec options that go beyond the usual Chromebook configurations, such as the ability to outfit the Spin 514 with up to 16GB of RAM and a 256GB solid-state drive. At 3.4 pounds, it's not exactly the lightest system out there, but it's still fairly svelte and is only 0.68 inches thick.
The Spin 514 is further refined from its non-Spin predecessor as the original metal chassis has been updated to a sandblasted and anodized aluminum shell available in gray, silver, and "mist" green color options. It's also been ruggedized so it can withstand drops up to 4 feet and 132 pounds of downward force and is MIL-STD 810H compliant to resist extreme environmental conditions (such as high and low temperatures and rain, sand, and dust).
For those looking to bring Chromebooks into the corporate environment, Acer has launched the Chromebook Enterprise Spin 514 model, which offers numerous security features and the ability of IT staff to manage app deployments and updates for a company's workforce. As with other enterprise versions of Acer's Chrome products (like the Chromebook Enterprise Spin 513), the 514 edition promises "zero-touch enrollment" that allows the laptop to be set up to enroll automatically in the company's administration as soon as it's connected to the Internet for the first time.
With an upgraded model comes an upgraded price tag. Acer says the Chromebook Spin 514 will have a $479.99 starting price when it begins shipping in February. That starting price jumps to $749.99 for the Chromebook Enterprise Spin 514, which is expected to become available in March.