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Acer Chromebook Vero 514 review: Sustainability never looked so good

Acer Chromebook Vero 514 heroImage: IDG / Ashley Biancuzzo

At a glance

Expert’s Rating

Pros

Strong performanceStellar battery lifeMade of recycled materials1080p webcam

Cons

Poor audio qualityLimited to ChromeOS

Our Verdict

The Acer Chromebook Vero 514 is both affordable and sustainable, making it a great choice for the eco-conscious buyer.

Price When Reviewed

$599.99

Best Prices Today: Acer Chromebook Vero 514

RetailerPriceAcer$599.99View DealBest Buy$599.99View DealPrice comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwideProductPricePrice comparison from Backmarket

When Acer announced the new Chromebook Vero 514, I was thrilled to bits. I’m something of a Chromebook stan, as I dig the barebones nature of them. This is the first Chromebook in the manufacturer’s eco-friendly Vero line, which is exciting news for eco-conscious buyers. Not only are you reducing your e-waste with this machine, as it’s made of recycled materials, but you’re also getting pretty good hardware for the price.

From strong CPU performance to a bright 1080p display, the Acer Chromebook Vero 514 has a lot to offer. Battery life is good and the unpainted exterior is totally unique. Even the packaging it comes in consists of mostly recycled paper and cardboard. However, audio quality is underwhelming and you’re stuck using ChromeOS. If you can live with those nitpicks, then this machine is well worth considering. It’s affordable, sustainable, and a reliable performer.

Note: This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best Chromebooks. Go there to learn more about competing products, what to look for in a Chromebook, and buying recommendations.

Acer Chromebook Vero 514: Specifications and features

Our review unit is the top-tier configuration, which costs $599.99. It’s packing an Intel Core i5-1235U CPU, Intel Iris Xe graphics, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of SSD storage. The 14-inch display has a resolution of 1920×1080 and a refresh rate of 60Hz. An alternate configuration has an Intel Core i3-1215U CPU, Intel Iris Xe graphics, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of SSD storage. That one costs $499.99. For more details regarding our review unit, check out the bulleted list below:

CPU: Intel Core i5-1235UGraphics: Intel Iris XeRAM: 8GBStorage: 256GB SSDDisplay: 14-inch, 1920×1080Ports: HDMI, USB 3.2 Type-A, USB 3.2 Type-CWeight: 3.09 lbsColor: Cobblestone grayBattery capacity: 56WhPrice: $599.99

Acer Chromebook Vero 514: Design and build

IDG / Ashley Biancuzzo

The Chromebook Vero has one of the most unique color schemes I’ve ever seen and I’m so here for it. The unassuming gray exterior is covered in yellow and dark blue flecks. It’s not paint, but the colors of the recycled materials the laptop is made out of. Cool, right? I tend to prefer laptops with an unusual or eye-catching aesthetic and the Chromebook Vero definitely delivers here. It may not be for everyone, but I deeply appreciate the outside-the-box design. The banana yellow accents on the bottom and sides of the machine are really eye-catching, too.

IDG / Ashley Biancuzzo

If you’re a tactile person like me, the unusual texture of the recycled material might be different from what you’re used to. Most laptops have a smooth plastic exterior. The Vero, by comparison, feels a little rough to the touch. That said, it’s not unpleasant. I found myself rubbing the corners of the machine as I watched YouTube videos.

I expected the build quality to be subpar given the recycled materials, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The Vero feels both durable and solid overall. I didn’t notice any bend in the keyboard tray and the display hardly twisted when I pushed and pulled on it with both hands. This Chromebook definitely feels like it could handle a good knock or two.

The Chromebook Vero is pretty darn lightweight, too. It weighs just a little over three pounds. The weight surprised me, as the Vero has a box-like shape and looks heavier than it really is. The weight puts it in the ultraportable category, which is great news if you travel often. I also used this machine for hours on my lap and the underside never got uncomfortably warm.

Acer Chromebook Vero 514: Keyboard, trackpad, and webcam

IDG / Ashley Biancuzzo

I’m a clumsy typist. Always have been. Always will be. Whenever I’m working with a laptop, it takes me a good amount of time to get accustomed to the keyboard and trackpad. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case with the Chromebook Vero. The backlit keyboard was comfortable to use for long periods and the keys were pleasantly springy under my fingertips. There were very few, if any, mistypes on my part. The E and R keys are also lime green in color, which I really like from an aesthetic standpoint. 

The square-shaped trackpad sits directly in the center and is lovely to use. In terms of size, it’s just right, not too big and not too small. The surface of the trackpad is smooth and responds well to scrolling and clicking. Multitouch gestures seem to work just fine as well. According to Acer, the surface of the trackpad is made entirely of ocean-bound plastics. Cool, right? It doesn’t feel cheaply constructed, either.

IDG / Ashley Biancuzzo

I like the inclusion of a 1080p webcam, which is a step up from the usual 720p fare. As you can see in the still photo above, colors are relatively accurate and I don’t look washed out or grainy. I look a little pale, but I’m part vampire so that’s par for the course. With remote work becoming more and more common these days, investing in a higher-quality webcam is key, especially if your job involves a great deal of videoconferencing. Having worked from home the past three years, I can’t imagine doing my job without a 1080p webcam.

Acer Chromebook Vero 514: Display, audio

IDG / Ashley Biancuzzo

The 14-inch 1080p non-touch display is bright and colorful, especially for a sub-$600 laptop. When I watched an episode of Children of the Whales, an anime about a community living atop a moving island, the protagonist’s emerald-green tunic was vivid and bright. It’s a lovely display for watching Netflix, web surfing, writing, and so on.  The bezels are also quite skinny, which means you’re getting a good amount of screen. The display never felt cramped as a result.

I didn’t love the audio quality and I suspect the downward-firing speakers are to blame. When my husband and I were watching The Great British Bake Off, the most wholesome baking competition around, the contestant’s voices sounded weirdly tinny at times. I also had to turn the volume up higher than I normally would to hear the rapport between the contestants and judges. I’m not sure it’s a deal-breaker, though, as you can always plug in a pair of headphones.

Acer Chromebook Vero 514: Connectivity

IDG / Ashley Biancuzzo

IDG / Ashley Biancuzzo

The Chromebook Vero has a nice collection of ports. Flanking the right side is one USB 3.2 Type-A, one USB 3.2 Type-C, and one Kensington lock. On the left, you’ll find one HDMI, one USB 3.2 Type-C, and one headphone jack. I like the inclusion of old and new USB ports as well as the full-sized HDMI. This eliminates the need for an adapter.

Acer Chromebook Vero 514: Performance

I’m something of a serial multitasker, which means I regularly operate in a sea of open tabs. It may look chaotic to some, but it’s how I work and I won’t be shamed for it. Fortunately, the Chromebook Vero 514 keeps pace with someone like me thanks to its Core i5 CPU. I was able to watch a three-part documentary on Peacock while having a myriad of tabs open in the background. You’ll often find me jumping back and forth between YouTube videos and Discord messages. Even when I had about 15 tabs open, this laptop handled everything with ease.

Here’s how the Chromebook Vero performed in various web-based benchmarks:

CrXPRT 2: 150Speedometer: 250Basemark Web 3.0: 1289.54Kraken: 484.7msJetstream 2: 236.57

The CrXPRT 2 performance benchmark measures a Chromebook’s speed and is a good indication of how it handles day-to-day tasks like watching videos, playing games, surfing the web, and so on. Equipped with a 12th-gen Intel Core i5 CPU, the Vero’s performance score was 150. The Acer Chromebook Spin 713, by comparison, has an 11th-gen Intel Core i5 CPU and received a slightly higher performance score of 164. Although there isn’t much difference between the two machines as far as performance score goes, I expected the Vero to score higher, especially with the latest-generation CPU. That said, the Vero is still a strong performer. 

Acer Chromebook Vero 514: Battery life

When we ran the CrXPRT 2 battery benchmark, which cycles through videos and various tasks until the laptop dies, the Vero lasted about a whopping 14 hours on a single charge. That’s a phenomenal result right there, as it far exceeds a typical workday. The phenomenal battery life plus the lightweight form factor make the Vero a solid option for the frequent traveler.

Should you buy the Acer Chromebook Vero 514?

The Acer Chromebook Vero 514 is a phenomenal pick for those who want an eco-friendly everyday laptop. The hardware inside promises strong performance and the exterior is both rugged and uniquely designed. In terms of aesthetic and sustainability, it’s definitely a welcome change from your typical run-of-the-mill Chromebook.

There are only a couple of downsides to the Vero. The audio is lacking, but that’s not too surprising. Laptops aren’t known for the best audio. You’re also stuck using ChromeOS, which means your apps and game options are limited. If you don’t mind those miniscule nitpicks, then the Chromebook Vero 514 is definitely worth considering.

Best Prices Today: Acer Chromebook Vero 514

RetailerPriceAcer$599.99View DealBest Buy$599.99View DealPrice comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwideProductPricePrice comparison from Backmarket

Ashley is a professional writer and editor with a strong background in tech and pop culture. She has written for high traffic websites such as Polygon, Kotaku, StarWars.com, and Nerdist. In her off time, she enjoys playing video games, reading science fiction novels, and hanging out with her rescue greyhound.

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