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Acer Chromebook 715 and 714 hands on
Amidst a cavalcade of new products, mostly aimed at gamers, Acer carved out some space for its line of Chromebooks. The Acer Chromebook 715 and Chromebook 714 are two laptops that crank things up a notch for business and enterprise users. Featuring metal chassis, large screens, and plenty of battery life, Acer hopes these machines find some office space.
Acer Chromebook 715 and Chromebook 714 hands-on
Acer calls the Chromebook 715 and Chromebook 714 “premiere” devices. Each is made with aluminum and meets the MIL-STD 810G for toughness, but they don’t quite live up to the premium pitch. The aluminum has a bright silver polish to it and a hint of texture. Up close, it’s clear the aluminum is not of the highest grade.
From a few feet away, the 715 and 714 appear to be slim and light. The simple design features straight lines and smooth surfaces. Even so, the devices are not as slim and portable as business users might prefer.
The Chromebooks are not as slim and portable as business users might prefer.
With 15- and 14-inch screens, respectively, the 715 and 714 are quite large. With the additional number pad on the 715, it’s a bit larger than a normal 15-inch laptop might be otherwise. I wouldn’t call the Chromebooks heavy, but they aren’t nearly as portable as Acer’s TravelMate P6 executive laptop.
Both laptops have a full-sized keyboard and a Gorilla Glass trackpad. I liked the trackpad, which felt smooth and responsive. I didn’t care much for the keyboards, which felt a bit spaced out. Key action was perhaps too bouncy, meaning the whole keyboard moved as I pounded out a few sample sentences.
The 715 adds a standard number pad to the right of its keyboard. This is helpful for business types who may have a lot of spreadsheets to manage (OK, it could help some lightweight games, too). The 715’s keyboard is backlit, where the 714’s is not.
I like that there’s a fingerprint reader. The reader isn’t a traditional pad on which you place and hold your finger. Instead, it’s a thin bar that requires you to swipe your finger down it to get a reading. Combined with Citrix Ready Certification and the baked-in security of Chrome OS, the platform is ready for the IT department to manage.
The screens did not impress me much. They are 14- and 15.6-inches across the diagonal for the 714 and 715, respectively, and rely on IPS LCDs at Full HD resolution. Perhaps I’m spoiled by higher resolution, brighter displays, because these came across as dim and lacking in pixels. Viewing angles were just okay, but at least they weren’t too reflective (no glossy coating). Both screens are available in standard and touch configurations.
The two Chromebooks come with a fairly decent set of ports. You’ll find a USB-C 3.1 port on each side, in addition to microSD card readers, and headphone jacks. This is better than some high-end machines.
You'll find a USB-C 3.1 port on each side, a microSD card reader, and a headphone jack.
Things we weren’t able to test include the battery life and responsiveness of the overall system. The machines on-site were locked in demo mode. Acer claims the batteries will last up to 12 hours, and the Intel chipset inside will provide enough oomph.
Speaking of processors, at the top end you’ll find an 8th Gen Intel Core i5, though you can ramp that down to a Core i3, and even Celeron and Pentium Gold if your business really needs to save some cash. Memory options include 8GB and 16GB, and storage options include 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB. Other specs include 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2.
Interested in either? The 714 arrives in April with a starting price of $549. The 715 won’t show up until June with a starting price of $499.
Let us know what you think about the Acer Chromebook 715 and Acer Chromebook 714 in the comments below!