With one exception, Chromebooks are entry-level laptops, and that hasn't really changed with Acer's new 14-inch model. But there are a few more highish-end features creeping into the low-end product line – in this case that means a (not so original) metal design and advertised 14-hour battery life.
The Acer Chromebook 14 is the company's first 14-inch notebook running Google's Chrome OS, which runs online apps inside the Chrome browser. The machine comes with a choice of 1,920 x 1080 or 1,366 x 768 IPS displays, each with 170-degree viewing angles.
One of the two biggest draws is the notebook's brushed aluminum case, which makes it the only metal-built Chrome OS devices in this price range (the Chromebook Pixel is much more expensive). Acer's model measures 0.67 in (17mm) at its thickest point and, like many of today's copycat laptops, could easily be mistaken for a MacBook Air at a glance. It would be nice to see more laptop makers not equate all-metal with make it look as much like a MacBook Air as possible.
The other killer feature is, if estimates hold up, impressive 14-hour battery life. That estimate is, however, only for the lower-res 768p model. The 1080p one drops down to a still impressive 12-hour estimate.
The design is fanless, so system noise should be minimal.
As with most Chromebooks, there's not much power under the hood. The Chromebook 14 runs an Intel Celeron processor – dual-core and quad-core options are available – paired with either 2 or 4 GB of RAM and a choice of 16 and 32 GB internal storage. In terms of connectivity, there are two USB 3.1 ports on offer, as well as an HDMI-out.
The new device is set to hit shelves in April, with prices starting at US$300.