The Chromebook Spin 514 Is Acer's First AMD Ryzen Chromebook

Illustration for article titled The Chromebook Spin 514 Is Acer's First AMD Ryzen Chromebook
Image: Acer

As Chromebooks continue to mature, device makers have also started to incorporate a wider variety of components. This year, Acer is announcing its first AMD Ryzen-based offering in the Chromebook Spin 514.

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The Acer Chromebook Spin 514 comes with an AMD Ryzen 3000 C-Series processor with Radeon graphics. AMD announced back in September 2020 that it was releasing better processors for Chromebooks, and that’s the Ryzen 3000 C-Series. Until now, there hasn’t been a lot of talk about what Chromebooks would get that processor upgrade, but it’s not surprising that Acer would come out with one. Was only a matter of time!

Starting at just $480, Acer’s Chromebook Spin 514 is poised to be one of the better performing and more durable Chromebooks in its segment. That’s because it’s equipped with up to an AMD Ryzen 7 3700C CPU, which is a 4-core/8-thread processor with a 2.3 GHz base clock (4.0 GHz boost), 6 MB cache, 10 Radeon Cores at 1400 MHz, and 15W TDP. It’s a massive step up from the A6 and A4 processors AMD introduced for Chromebooks at CES 2019.

There’s also 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, and Acer says the Chromebook Spin 514 has “military-grade” durability thanks to its sandblasted aluminum chassis (available in silver, gray, and green), which has been tested to resist drops of up to four feet.

Acer has also included a 1920 x 1080 IPS touchscreen with Gorilla Glass in front, along with handy features including a backlit keyboard and somewhat low-res but still serviceable HD webcam. However, while Acer says it has slimmed the Chromebook Spin 514's bezels down to 6.1mm, its overall screen-to-body ratio of 78% doesn’t strike me as all that impressive.

In addition to the standard model, the Chromebook Spin 514 will also be available in a higher-specced and more expensive enterprise model.
In addition to the standard model, the Chromebook Spin 514 will also be available in a higher-specced and more expensive enterprise model.
Image: Acer

The Chromebook Spin 514 comes with a decent selection of ports, including two USB 3.2 Type-C ports (both of which support video out and charging), a microSD card reader, and even an optional HDMI port on select models. You also get support for Bluetooth 5, dual stereo speakers, and dual mics for better handling video calls. Unfortunately, unlike a lot of other new laptops to debut at CES 2021, the Chromebook Spin 514 will have to make do with 802.11 ac wi-fi instead of support for Wi-Fi 6.

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Finally, thanks to a tighter partnership with Google, along with standard Chrome OS stuff like support for running Android apps, the Chromebook Spin 514 is also Google Assistant Lab certified, so Google’s integrated AI helper should be able to better understand your questions and commands.

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The standard Chromebook Spin 514 is slated to go on sale in North America in February starting at $480, with the higher-specced Chromebook Enterprise Spin 514 expected to become available later in March for $780.

And if you want to see more new gadgets and devices from CES 2021, click here to read our complete coverage.

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Senior reporter at Gizmodo, formerly Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag. Was an archery instructor and a penguin trainer before that.

Staff Reporter, Reviews at Gizmodo. Formerly PC Gamer, Maximum PC.

DISCUSSION

Have always associated Chromebooks with low power processors that enable longer battery life. Not sure what application needs this higher performance CPU, or what performance difference one sees in daily activities.

As far as systems go, there is a Samsung with a 15W Intel CPU and this Acer. Not able to find any other brands.

And, the ‘mil’ grade letting you drop this system from 4' high and not damaging the laptop, what will happen to the screen? Will it still survive, or is the 4' drop survival only limited to the base, board and fans?