To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Acer Chromebook Vero 514 review: The sustainable Chromebook star

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £800
inc VAT

With superb performance and usability and a sustainable design, the only thing this Chromebook is missing is a brighter screen


  • Excellent performance
  • Recycled materials and packaging
  • Solid ergonomics


  • Screen doesn’t go bright enough
  • Look and feel won’t be for everyone

New year savings see £63 knocked off the usual price

As far as laptops go, the Acer Chromebook Vero 514 is more eco-conscious than most, with a high proportion of its chassis built from post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics. We also love the laptop itself: it’s well made, speedy and useable and it’s currently on offer, with the price reduced to £499 for the Core i5 model, down from an average of £562.

Amazon Was £562 on average Now £499 View Deal

Most big tech companies are now pushing sustainability as a major selling point and it isn’t hard to understand why. As consumers, we like to feel we’re making more responsible, greener choices, and business buyers are also worried about “doing the right thing”, even if the motivation is merely to look good to customers and investors.

Acer has gone further than most PC manufacturers in delivering products that do more than pay lip service to green thinking. Its Vero line of hardware launched last year with sustainable materials, sustainable packaging, energy-efficient features and designs aimed at prolonging each device’s lifespan. Now it has launched its first Vero Chromebook, giving anyone keen on Google’s cloud-based approach a more sustainable option to work with.

Buy now from Acer

Acer Chromebook Vero 514 review: What you need to know

So exactly how eco-friendly is the Vero 514? It starts with the chassis and screen bezel, which are made up from 30% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics, and extends to the keyboard keycaps and speakers, where that rises to 50%. The touchpad uses recycled plastics reclaimed from the ocean and even the packaging is a mix of recycled paper, cardboard and natural fibres.

You don’t get the additional energy-efficient power modes you get on the Vero Windows laptops but few Chromebooks are power hogs and the OS has a decent set of power-saving features built-in. And while Acer doesn’t push user repairs and upgrades as a feature of this model, as it does with the Windows devices, it has much the same design and uses the same crosshead screws to hold the bottom of the shell in place, making it easy to get inside.

Sadly, you can’t upgrade the RAM – something rarely possible in any Chromebook – but at least you have a chance of keeping it ticking along should, say, the fans or the SSD go wrong.

Acer Chromebook Vero 514 review: Price and competition

The Chromebook Vero 514 has a 14in 1080p display and is available in three different configurations. Two are targeted at consumers, with 12th generation Core i3-1215U and Core i5-1235U CPUs, each with 8GB of RAM and costing £550 and £680 respectively. The third, which I was sent to test for this review, is the enterprise version.

This comes with an Intel Core i7-1255U CPU and 16GB of RAM and sells for £800. The only other difference between the three versions is that the Core i3 model has a 128GB SSD, while the Core i5 and Core i7 editions come with 256GB.

With this screen size and specification, and at these prices, the Chromebook Vero 514 goes up against the likes of the Lenovo IdeaPad Chromebook 5i, at around £500 for the Core i5/8GB version, and the 14in version of the HP Chromebook x360.

It’s also a rival for Acer’s own convertible Chromebook Spin 514 and the more traditional Chromebook 514. However, none of the aforementioned devices comes with a 12th gen Intel processor, and this does have an impact on performance.

READ NEXT: The best Chromebooks you can buy right now

Acer Chromebook Vero 514 review: Design

I’ve become used to associating aluminium and magnesium casing with luxury and robust build quality for all kinds of laptops, including Chromebooks. Yet there’s something rugged and satisfying about the Vero 514’s all-plastic construction. It’s tough. Acer says it’s independently MIL-STD-810H verified for moisture, dust and shock resistance, and the chunky edges and rounded corners feel like they could take a reasonable bash or two. The slightly greeny-grey colour isn’t uniform, either, with odd specks of darker grey and yellow flecking the surfaces, but I’d say this adds to the appeal.

With a desktop footprint of 312 x 223mm and a thickness of just over 20mm, this isn’t the smallest or slimmest 14in Chromebook I’ve seen recently, although the 1.4kg weight isn’t too rough on the shoulders if you’re lugging it around.

I’ve found it a comfortable device to work on. Where the metals on some mid-range Chromebooks can be sharp in places and cold or irritating on the wrists while typing, the plastic on the Vero 514 is more tactile and comfortable than you might expect. It’s also a well-balanced machine and doesn’t feel like it’s going to topple onto the floor when it’s perched on your lap.

Connectivity is good, too. In fact, it’s better here than on the similar Chromebook Spin 514. You get two USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 ports for up to 10Gbits/sec connections between the Chromebook and an external SSD or docking station, and both support 65W USB-PD power input, DisplayPort or 5V, 3A USB-PD output for charging. There’s also an HDMI port and a USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port, along with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. Wi-Fi 6E support is still fairly rare on Chromebooks, so it’s good to see the Vero setting the pace.

Acer Chromebook Vero 514 review: Keyboard and touchpad

The keyboard on the Vero 514 is another asset. It has a good, sensible layout with Ctrl, Shift and Alt keys that are big and distinctive enough to find through touch alone and, while the cursors and Chrome OS function keys have been slimmed right down, Acer hasn’t gone overboard. The key action is pleasant, with a couple of millimetres of travel before the key actuates, there’s good tactile feedback and no horrible rattly areas whatsoever. I got used to it very quickly.

The touchpad, meanwhile, is a beauty. It’s not too small, measuring 105 x 78mm, and the reclaimed plastic surface is as smooth and shiny as a lot of glass trackpads, although it does have a warmer feel. It handled taps, swipes and sliding gestures flawlessly, and you also have the backup of a nice, responsive touchscreen.

Buy now from Acer

Acer Chromebook Vero 514 review: Display and sound

The display is the Vero 514’s most disappointing feature. In some respects, it’s fine. In tests, we found it could reproduce 98.9% of the sRGB colour palette and colour accuracy is also good, with an average Delta E of 1.13. In gloomy conditions, the 14in screen size and 1080p resolution give you a crisp image that’s fine for editing documents or watching streaming video.

The problem is that it doesn’t go very bright. I measured peak brightness at just 278cd/m², though low black levels helped boost contrast to a respectable 2,129:1. Working on a desk with sunlight streaming through a side window, I couldn’t help wishing that I could just up the brightness by another 10% to 20% so I could read text or find my pointer. I’m not sure whether Acer has deliberately fitted a dimmer screen in the desire for energy efficiency but, if so, it’s misplaced; it’s the only thing that hampers the usability of this Chromebook.

Actually, there is one more thing that might put you off. The laptop’s speakers are horrid. There’s more than enough volume for everyday use, but if you turn it up above half way they sound harsh with piercing trebles and an MIA low-end. You’ll be fine watching the videos rolling through on your Instagram and Twitter feeds or joining in web meetings but, if you’re planning to fire up Spotify or Netflix, hook up to some headphones first.

READ NEXT: The best laptop bag to buy

Acer Chromebook Vero 514 review: Performance and battery life

The Core i7 version of the Vero 514 we tested is ludicrously fast. In fact, it’s jostling for position with the Acer Chromebook 516GE as the speediest Chromebook we’ve ever tested. The latter has a Core i5-1240P CPU with four performance cores and eight efficiency cores where the Vero’s Core i7-1255U only has two performance cores and eight efficiency cores, so it loses out in Geekbench’s multicore tests and other multithreaded benchmarks, such as CRXpert 2.

However, it has a 300MHz Turbo clock speed advantage over the 516GE’s Core i5, which puts it ahead in the WebXprt benchmarks, BaseMark and the GFXBench 3D benchmarks. Either way, both are so far ahead of other Chromebooks when it comes to performance that it almost doesn’t matter. Whatever applications you want to run, whether web-based, Linux or Android, you’re not going to struggle to run them on this Chromebook, and the day-to-day experience is flawlessly slick.

What’s more, you get this performance without a serious penalty to battery life. In our testing, it lasted 9hrs 22mins from a single charge before needing a top up and, while we’ve seen lower-powered, more energy-efficient models reach 11 hours or more, that’s still enough stamina for a working day.

Acer Chromebook Vero 514 review: Verdict

You might want to buy the Chromebook Vero 514 because of its green credentials, but the better reason to buy it is that it’s mostly an excellent Chromebook. I suspect the plastic construction is going to be a Marmite thing – you’ll either like it or you won’t – but it’s fast, well made, comfortable to use and configured with all the latest features and components.

In fact, there’s just one potential dealbreaker: if you prefer a bright screen or want a Chromebook you can use in sunny conditions, the Vero 514’s dim display just won’t cut it. Otherwise, it’s cracking value and an ideal machine for everyday use.

Buy now from Acer

Read more