Acer Chromebook Vero 514: Sustainability never looked so good
The first of its kind.
When Acer announced the new Chromebook Vero 514, I was thrilled to bits. I’m something of a Chromebook stan, as I dig its bare-bones nature. 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.
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 i5-1235u
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
Storage: 256GB SSD
Display: 14-inch, 1920×1080
Ports: HDMI, USB 3.2 Type-a, USB 3.2 Type-c
Weight: 3.09 lbs
Color: Cobblestone gray
Battery capacity: 56Wh Price: $599.99 DESIGN AND BUILD
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 eyecatching 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.
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 3 pounds. The weight surprised me, as the
Vero has a boxlike 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.
KEYBOARD, TRACKPAD, AND WEBCAM
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.
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 higherquality 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.
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 contestants’ 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.
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-size HDMI. This eliminates the need for an adapter.
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