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Acer launches new Chromebooks, debuts MediaTek's long-awaited Kompanio chip
- Acer launched a trio of new Chromebooks at CES 2022, with updated CPU options from MediaTek and Intel.
- The highest-end model is a premium 13.5-inch convertible, powered by MediaTek’s Kompanio 1380 compute chip.
- Pricing for the new Chromebooks starts from $299.
Acer unveiled three new Chromebooks at CES 2022, refreshing its existing mid-range and premium portfolio with the latest chips from Intel and MediaTek. Notably, the most powerful model of the trio is powered by MediaTek’s Kompanio 1380 processor.
While we’ve seen several Chromebooks feature MediaTek processors so far, they’ve all traded performance for a lower price point — typically targeting the sub-$400 market. The updated Acer Chromebook Spin 513 looks to be an exception and is among the first to adopt MediaTek’s performance-oriented processors.
Acer Chromebook Spin 513: A premium MediaTek offering
As its name suggests, the Spin 513 is Acer’s convertible Chromebook offering. At just 1.29kg (~2.8lbs), it’s a rather lightweight machine — likely helped by the aluminum case Acer says is also MIL-STD 810H rated.
In our review of last year’s Spin 513, we lamented Acer’s decision to include a 16:9 screen instead of a taller aspect ratio that would be better suited for productivity. This time around, we get a larger 13.5-inch, 3:2 display with a resolution of 2,256 x 1,504. That’s roughly 18% more vertical real estate compared to a standard 16:9 display, according to Acer.
As we alluded to earlier, though, the star of the show is the Spin 513’s processor. Given its position in the 1000-series, the MediaTek Kompanio 1380 should be a significant step up from the Kompanio 828 and 500 found in older Chromebooks. The latter was particularly common in budget models until recently, including the ever-popular Lenovo Chromebook Duet.
Read more: The best Chromebooks you can buy
Notably, this is the first time we’ve heard of the Kompanio 1380. MediaTek launched the Kompanio 1200 and 1300T as premium-tier processors last year, but we didn’t see any devices using those chips. Assuming the Kompanio 1380 boasts the same heritage, it could feature Cortex-A78 performance cores and provide adequate performance to compete with similarly priced Intel and Qualcomm-powered Chromebooks. On the downside, the Spin 513 ships with a paltry 32GB of eMMC storage on the base model and tops out at 128GB.
On the subject of price, the Spin 513 is not exactly budget-friendly, likely due to the upgraded build and internals. It goes on sale in June 2022 in the US, starting at $599. European availability starts sooner in April, but expect to shell out a minimum of €649 (~$735).
Acer Chromebook 315: Business on the cheap
Acer’s updates to the business-focused Chromebook 315 aren’t as groundbreaking, but help bring it up to modern standards nevertheless. The screen resolution is now 1,920 x 1,080 across the board and storage starts at 64GB instead of 32GB. There are also newer Intel Jasper Lake Celeron and Pentium chips to choose from — a welcome upgrade over the 2018-era Gemini Lake processors found in previous-generation models.
The Chromebook 315 also features a wide-angle, “flare-reducing” webcam and two microphones. The company says those mics should come in handy for video conferencing. On the connectivity front, you get two USB-C Gen 2 ports, a microSD card slot, and Wi-Fi 6. Once again, it tops out at just 128GB of eMMC storage and 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM. It’s a bit heavy at 1.6kg (~3.5lbs) but includes everything you’d want from a business-focused laptop, including a dedicated number pad and a large 15.6-inch screen.
See also: The best Chromebook accessories
Acer priced the Chromebook 315 rather competitively. In the US, it starts at $299 and goes on sale later this month. European customers will need to wait until the end of Q1 2022 when it will go on sale starting at €399 (~$452).
Acer Chromebook 314: A portable clamshell for students
Acer says the Chromebook 314 is aimed squarely at students. On paper, it looks identical to the Chromebook 315. The two main exceptions are the smaller 14-inch screen and a keyboard without a number pad. On the plus side, the smaller form factor means it’s lighter than the Chromebook 315 at 1.45kg (~3.2lbs). It also includes a pair of upward-facing, DTS-tuned speakers.
The Chromebook 314 offers the same trio of Intel Jasper Lake processors like the 315, ranging from the dual-core Celeron N4500 to the quad-core Pentium Silver N6000 at the highest end. Storage and memory options look identical too, with up to 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM and either 64 or 128GB of eMMC storage. It keeps the dual microphones, flare-reducing webcam, and microSD slot as well.
See also: The best Chromebooks for students
The Chromebook 314 will go on sale in North America from June 2022 onwards with a starting price of $299. European pricing starts at €369 (~$418), with availability scheduled for April instead.