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Acer’s new Chromebook 14 classes up $300 laptops with an aluminum body

Acer Chromebook 14
Acer Chromebook 14
Acer’s new Chromebook 14 lineup may have hit the tipping point combination of features and price to lure Windows and Apple notebook buyers. Granted, OS loyalty among computer users is generally hooked to more than just features and dollars, but a sufficient number of attractive elements coming together can make jumping to another platform mighty appealing. If you’re ready for a new everyday mobile computer and have wondered in the past about going Chrome, the new Acer might put you over the line.

The Acer Chromebook 14 line is available now for pre-order at Amazon and will be in stock for real life look and feel at Best Buy in April. The new Acers boast several Chromebook firsts including display size, battery life, case, and ports. The Chromebook 14 has a 14-inch IPS LCD display with either Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) or HD (1366 x 768) resolutions and up to 170-degree wide viewing angle so you don’t have to be directly in front of the screen to see it clearly. A 720p HD (1280 x 720 resolution) webcam with digital microphone records in both audio and video HD, ready for selfies and video conferencing.

The Chromebook 14 has Acer’s first all-aluminum case and is the first model with two USB 3.1 ports. The aluminum case has rounded corners and a brush finish for smooth feel and the material keeps the weight down. The Chromebook 14 is rated at 3.42 pounds, about 6 ounces heavier than Acer’s 11-inch models. Not only light but also thin, the new Acers measure just 0.67 inches thick, notably .01 inches less than the MacBook Air’s 0.68 inches. Portability and sturdiness matter for Chromebooks and the aluminum case helps both.

Various Chromebook 14 models will have dual-core or quad-core Intel Celeron processors, 2GB or 4GB dual channel LPDDR3 SDRAM, and either 16GB or 32GB eMMC flash memory storage. These specifications are reasonable, but we are worried about the processor choice, which apparently will not include low-end versions of Intel’s latest Broadwell and Skylake chips. If run low of on-board storage, the Chromebook 14 comes with 100GB of free Google Drive space.

Windows notebook loyalists (I was one until just last year) who have in the past been attracted by Chromebook lightness, near instant-on, and superior battery life could be swayed by the new Chromebook 14. Apple users likely find it harder to switch, but the prospect of a decked out Acer Chromebook 14 with full HD display, 4GB SDRAM, and 32GB on-board storage for $300 may attract them as well. If you don’t have a particular OS loyalty and want easy portability and all-day battery life, the Acer Chromebook 14 may bear consideration.

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