Hands on: How enterprise-ready is Acer Chromebook 14 for Work?

The rugged yet mobile laptop combines powerful hardware with long battery life. Price as tested: $750.

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Acer Chromebook 14

Acer has been making Chromebooks for years, with the latest model aimed at the enterprise. The Chromebook 14 for Work combines powerful hardware, long battery life, and the Chrome for Work initiative to make a laptop ready for work.

Chromebook 14 for Work configured as tested:

  • OS: Chrome OS
  • CPU: 6th generation Intel Core i5, 2.3GHz
  • Memory / storage: 8GB / 32GB
  • Display: 14-inch, 1920x1080, non-touch
  • Battery life: 10 hour
  • Ports: USB-C, HDMI, 2- USB 3
  • Dimensions: 13 X 0.88 X 0.9"
  • Weight: 3.2 lbs

The laptop has a glossy black lid and a black bottom. There is a USB-C port for charging on the left, along with a full HDMI port, USB 3 port, and audio port. On the right side is another USB 3, which is the extent of the ports. The Chromebook 14 is less than an inch thick when closed (0.88 inch). At 3.2 pounds it is light for a 14-inch laptop.

Additional Chromebook coverage:

The size is impressive as Acer has incorporated MIL-Spec ruggedization into the Chromebook 14 for Work. It can handle four-foot drops among other hardships, making it ideal for rough handling common on the go.

Opening the lid exposes the 14-inch display and keyboard. The latter is low profile and feels good to use. It's not the best keyboard I've used but has a good typing experience. The trackpad beneath the keys is large and operates smoothly, common for Chromebooks. Those who prefer a mouse over the trackpad can plug one in as any USB mouse should work. I even tested the Microsoft Bluetooth Arc Mouse and it worked fine out of the box.

CNET Review: Acer's new Chromebook 14 promises 14 hours of battery life

The display as reviewed is high for a Chromebook at 1920x1080. It is not a touch screen and is bright and vivid. Acer used a thin bezel around the Chromebook 14 for Work and the 14-inch display is in a case normally used for a 13-inch model. This keeps the size down while giving almost an extra inch of viewable real estate. The Chromebook 14 for Work is roughly the same size as my Chromebook 13 (see photo gallery for comparison).

The high resolution makes it productive to have two windows display side-by-side, my preferred method of operation. Having the Chrome browser open alongside another app works well.

The high resolution display factors heavily into using the Chromebook 14 for Work every day. Whether displaying apps in the Chrome browser or in a separate window, things can be too small to read. Thankfully, there are two ways to zoom windows up in Chrome OS.

First, you can change display resolution on the fly in Chrome OS which makes everything bigger in Settings | Display. Second, because the OS uses the Chrome browser as the base you can zoom windows within the browser, which is easier than the first method. A simple COMMAND - Plus Sign zooms the active window a little, and you can repeat this as often as necessary until content is big enough. You can also zoom down using COMMAND - Minus Sign the same way. The beauty of zooming this way is each window, even system windows, remember the zoom level until it is changed.

The powerful hardware makes the Chromebook 14 for Work the fastest model I have used. Tapping something on the screen results in an immediate action.

To make sure the Chromebook 14 for Work is a good fit for the enterprise, Acer has affiliated it with Google's Chrome for Work initiative. Among other features, Chrome for Work makes it easy for corporate IT to deploy and configure Chromebooks for the enterprise.

The takeaway

The Chromebook 14 for Work is powerful and ready for the enterprise, especially for employees working remotely. This big display allows corporations to deploy it without an external monitor for those in the office to keep costs down. The Chrome for Work initiative allows IT staff to deploy and configure all Chromebooks without additional cost.

This Chromebook is rugged yet mobile, and workers will find it a capable laptop for working remotely. It's not cheap at $750, but it's a reasonable option and worth a look. There are other configurations available starting at $350.