In my opinion, a good laptop is greater than the sum of its parts. You don’t need the fastest processor or the world’s greatest graphics card to be one of the best Chromebooks. Sometimes all you need is the right combination of hardware to create a wonderful experience.
Recently, I tried out the Chromebook Spin 714 from Acer, a 2-in-1 convertible laptop that is one of the most solid mid-rangers I have ever used. It’s difficult to find anything wrong with it without sounding nitpicky. It’s the quintessential all-rounder.
Out of all the laptops I’ve tried out this year, this device has the best battery life by a country mile. Remember the Energizer Bunny? The Chromebook Spin 714 kept going and going and going. During my testing, I played an endless live stream from YouTube at 1080p resolution on 50% brightness and this laptop lasted a good 11 hours straight without issue. I really didn’t expect it to last that long.
I eventually had to turn the laptop off myself because I had to go to bed. I couldn’t keep testing. In my experience, computer manufacturers like to say their laptops last all day, but only last about six hours at most. This is the first time I’ve seen a Chromebook last the whole day. Color me impressed.
Acer Chromebook Spin 714
The Acer Chromebook Spin 714 is a great example of a high-quality, mid-range laptop, thanks to a perfect combination of long battery life, construction, and performance.
I noticed Acer paid special attention to the construction of the Chromebook Spin 714. Normally, I don’t really pay attention to how a laptop feels in my hands. I’m usually more interested in its performance, but this time the choices were too noticeable for me to ignore. First, it felt quite sturdy yet lightweight. This balance is due to its aluminum chassis giving it that extra heft. Also, since it’s a 2-in-1 laptop, you’re able to push the display all the way back, turning the device into a tablet. The hinges are completely covered, so you don’t have to worry about them getting damaged.
The tips of the screen have rounded corners that make the Chromebook Spin 714 very comfortable to hold. I definitely appreciate having the extra comfort, so I don’t have a pointy corner poking me.
Speaking of comfort, the keyboard has a nice amount of actuation. Keystrokes are deep with a springy, sensitive rebound. You can type away for hours and not feel a single twinge of discomfort on your fingers. I did work on this laptop. Overall, it was a pleasant experience. The key caps each have a backlight, which is a nice-to-have feature when you’re pulling those all-nighters. The trackpad is rather small since the keyboard takes up a lot of space, but it has a satisfying mechanical click when you press it.
Moving up the laptop, the Chromebook Spin 714 sports a 14-inch display, outputting a resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 pixels with a refresh rate of 60Hz. That screen size is perfect for carrying around. If it were any bigger, I fear the Chromebook Spin 714 would be too awkward to carry. Additionally, the display is made from Corning Gorilla Glass for extra toughness, plus it’s covered in an anti-microbial coating. That feature is not something you see very often on laptops, but it is useful to have if you plan on sharing the Chromebook with others or need to work with a lot of people around.
Performance-wise, the Chromebook Spin 714 is pretty good. Under the hood, my review unit had a 13th Intel Core i7-1355U paired up with an Iris Xe graphics card. I had 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage space in the SSD. It’s no uber-powerful workhorse, but it still has snappy performance. I didn’t once experience any sort of slowdown or difficulty launching apps.
Overall, this is a solid laptop with little to complain about. But if I had to nitpick, the speakers on the Spin 714 aren’t great. Audio sounds fine when you’re having a video call with the 1080p webcam, but the poor quality is way more noticeable when you’re listening to music or watching a movie. There’s no bass, which results in a shallow output.
ZDNET’s buying advice
If you look up Chromebook recommendations online, a lot of people on forums will recommend the Spin 714 from Acer, and for good reason. This is definitely one of the nicest Chromebooks that I’ve ever used.
You can purchase the review unit that I had on Acer’s website for $999.99. This device has the Intel i7 processor. Or if you prefer a cheaper option, there’s another model available sporting an Intel i5 processor for $699.99. Performance won’t be as good, but it’s still pretty quick. Also, be aware that the less expensive model has a slightly worse screen, with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,200 pixels. Other than that difference, everything’s the same.