Ushering in a new era of AMD chips on Chrome OS, the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 is getting a 2022 refresh with a Ryzen 5000 series chip and other new tweaks. And we’ve had a chance to take an early look at the device.

Acer Chromebook Spin 514 (2022) specs and pricing

The Acer Chromebook Spin 514 (2022) delivers a relative overhaul to the 2021 model, which was one of Acer’s first Chromebooks with a Ryzen processor.

The obvious star of the show is the Ryzen 5000-series chip powering the new Spin 514, which delivers hefty upgrades both to battery efficiency and overall performance. The previous generation of the Chromebook Spin 514 was powered by a Ryzen 3 3250C. Where that older chip was powered by AMD’s Zen 2 architecture, the Ryzen 5000 C-Series chips in the 2022 model upgrades to AMD’s vastly improved Zen 3 design. AMD claims that this newer chip results in major gains in performance and battery life.

Around that chip, the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 (2022) packs a 14-inch, FHD display with a 16:9 aspect ratio and an IPS panel. There’s a touchscreen as well, with a 2-in-1 hinge that allows the machine to be used as a tablet. It also works with a USI stylus.

The Ryzen chip inside is backed up by an SSD and up to 16GB of RAM. Battery life is quoted at 10 hours, the keyboard offers backlighting, and there’s a FHD webcam with a physical shutter. Ports include two USB-C ports for charging and data, optional HDMI, one full-size USB port, and a headphone/mic jack. A nice addition also comes in the speakers, which are now top facing for better overall quality.

The retail configuration of the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 (2022) sold in the United States will make its debut in Q3 2022 and offer a Ryzen 3 5125C processor, 8GB of RAM, a 128GB NVMe SSD, and retail for $579. A Chrome Enterprise edition will be sold this year as well for $899.

First look: A promising entry at any level

For the past couple of days, we’ve had a chance to spend some time with a pre-production version of the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 (2022), and we can share some limited first impressions of that time.

In terms of the physical hardware, the Spin 514 feels like a pretty typical Acer Chromebook, doing a good job of straddling the line between super-premium and mid-range. The body is a bit plasticky at times, presumably due to the finish on the aluminum, but it feels well built and worthy of the price Acer is aiming for.

The keyboard, as usual, is also top notch and took me virtually no time to adjust to. I would have liked to see Acer jump up to a 1440p display with AMD’s more powerful graphics performance under the hood, but FHD is fully acceptable. The speakers are also a marked improvement over other Acer Chromebooks I’ve tried, though they’re still not as impressive as other laptops in the price bracket. Bass was particularly lacking. This could get better by the time Acer fully releases this product, too.

While Acer asked us not to publish any benchmarks on this early hardware, given the pre-production nature, I can share some limited first impressions of my time. Thinking back to my time with AMD’s last generation of Ryzen chips last year, this new model blows it out of the water.

The sample I’ve spent time with is configured with AMD’s top-of-the-line offering, the Ryzen 7 5325C, and it feels just as powerful as that name implies. Even with over a dozen tabs open and PWAs in full force, there wasn’t a hint of slowdown or struggle. The 514 was also quick to turn back on from sleep.

With a pre-production device and only a couple of days to play around with it, my conclusions are far from final. But so far, the Spin 514 seems like a promising start, and I’m certainly excited to see what it, and this next generation of Ryzen chips, will bring to the table in the coming months.

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Ben Schoon

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