- Durable, eco-friendly design
- Good performance
- Impressive webcam
- Good selection of ports
- Underwhelming display
- Erratic trackpad
- No fingerprint or face unlock
- Chrome OS has its limitations
The Vero 514 is one of the best Chromebooks you can buy, even without its focus on recycled materials. But the price of high-end models reflects that, and it’s far from perfect.
If you thought of Chromebooks as exclusively budget devices, you’d be mistaken. A wave of more premium Chrome OS laptops have emerged in recent years, with the likes of Google, HP and Lenovo all getting in on the act.
Acer has even decided to make a gaming Chromebook, but it’s the company’s sustainability-focused device that’s on test here. The Vero 514 uses recycled plastic throughout its design, making it a better option for anyone that cares about the environment.
But is it good enough to be your main laptop? The short answer is yes (provided you’re happy with Chrome OS), but you’ll need to pay significantly more for it than most Chromebooks.
Design, build & ports
- Unique, speckled design
- Partly made from recycled plastic
- Decent range of ports
The Vero 514 has a design that’s refreshingly different in more ways than one, and you’ll notice this as soon as you take it out of the box.
Like the other products in the range, the 514 has a unique speckled finish, which extends across the entire outside of the device. It’s a direct result of the choice of materials, with 30% of the plastic used throughout the chassis initially recycled by consumers. Most laptop manufacturers make no specific claims in this area.
As a result, the grey finish you see is simply the natural colour of the materials used to make it. There are small flecks of yellow and dark grey puncturing an otherwise minimalist design. The Vero 514 looks good in photos, but even better in real life.
However, it would’ve been nice to see the option for a dark blue or black finish, both of which you’ll find on Acer’s Aspire Vero laptop. All three avoid the need for any paint on the exterior. And paint, of course, can contain harmful substances.
Plastic casing might raise concerns regarding durability, but that’s not an issue. In fact, the Vero 514 feels more robust than aluminium laptops, with a tough hinge that should last for many years.
But there’s no doubting this is a chunky Chromebook. At 1.4kg and 20.8mm thick, it’s not a particularly thin and light device, although there’s no significant effect on portability: it’ll fit easily in a rucksack or laptop bag and won’t weigh you down.
The benefit of a thicker design is plenty of room for ports. Either of the two USB-C ports (one each side) can be used for charging or data transfer, and they’re joined by a USB-A, full-size HDMI and 3.5mm audio jack. If you really need it, there’s a Kensington lock slot, too.
That’s plenty for most people, and means you probably won’t need an adapter or hub. But if I’m being really picky, it’d be nice to see a second USB-A port – there appears to be enough space for one.
Keyboard, trackpad & webcam
- Comfortable, impressive keyboard
- Extra Chrome OS-specific keys
- Unreliable trackpad
The size of the Vero 514 means there’s room for a full-size keyboard. Acer could’ve squeezed in a separate number pad, but I’m glad it didn’t: the space between keys (and the fact there are no annoying half-width keys) makes for a very comfortable typing experience.
Unlike most new laptops, I was able to adjust to the placement of each key very quickly, resuming my usual typing speed within a few minutes. Each key is responsive and offers a decent amount of travel, so you won’t mind using it for several hours at a time.
There’s ample space either side of the trackpad to comfortably rest your palms. The rough surface of the Vero 514 might sound unpleasant, but it manages to add grip without feeling uncomfortable on your hands.
Each key is backlit, with five different brightness settings (Alt + brightness up or down to adjust them) to choose from. At higher levels, it’ll stay on permanently, instead of turning off after a short while when you’re not typing.
Strangely, the ‘e’ and ‘r’ keys are highlighted by an eye-catching yellow finish for no obvious reason.. However, 50% of the plastic used in the keycaps is from recycled sources, which adds to the Vero’s environmentally friendly credenticals.
Being a Chromebook, there are a couple of other keyboard changes compared to a Windows laptop. A shortcut to the ‘Everything Button’ replaces caps lock, while an extra row of quick controls includes access to back, refresh, full-screen, desktops and screenshot functions. Both make navigating Chrome OS much easier.
The trackpad uses ocean-bound plastic rather than the usual glass, but it’s not the choice of materials that are the issue here. Instead, I often found it difficult to click a specific location on screen or highlight text, both of which require precision and concentration.
Adjusting touchpad speed and turning off acceleration (both available within Settings) can help, but the cursor on-screen still moved erratically at times. It’s still usable, but I didn’t have confidence in it to get things done quickly and would always choose to use a separate mouse with the 514.
Thankfully, Acer has made the webcam a priority. It’s a 1080p sensor, which leads to a sharp image, and colours are accurate too. Exposure can often be an issue, so you’ll need to make sure the ambient lighting is good.
But alongside a microphone that delivers clear, crisp audio, the Vero 514 is a great option for video calls – especially if you use Google Meet.
It’s nice to see a physical privacy shutter for the webcam, but there’s no support for face unlock. With a fingerprint sensor absent too, you’ll have to type in a password or PIN each time. The lack of any biometrics feels like taking a trip back in time, especially if you’re used to Windows laptops, and a shame at this price.
Screen & speakers
- 14in Full HD matt-finish display
- Underwhelming quality
- Decent dual speakers
The Vero 514’s display is the main reason to hesitate before buying one, although that might not be apparent from the specs.
A 14in Full HD (1920×1080) IPS panel sounds perfectly reasonable. For most people, a higher resolution or move away from the classic 16:9 aspect ratio isn’t necessary.
However, the Vero 514 has what Acer calls ‘ComfyView’ technology. That means it has a matt coating which makes the screen less reflective and easier to read in bright lighting conditions.
This may be preferable for some, but it seems to have affected image quality. Colours look washed out and lack vibrancy, while there’s a distinct yellow hue even with the Night Light feature turned off. As a result, it isn’t all that enjoyable watching videos on the Vero 514.
The software we typically use to measure colour accuracy isn’t compatible with Chrome OS, but it’s no surprise that Acer doesn’t make any claims in this area.
While a matt screen isn’t as reflective as a glossy one, you still need good brightness to use it when the sun is coming through your window, or you’re outdoors. But with a maximum of 279 nits the Vero’s screen is dimmer than a lot of laptops. Content often looks dull and muted as a result, especially as Chrome OS doesn’t let you disable the auto brightness setting.
It’s not a touchscreen and is limited to a 60Hz refresh rate, so the display really is the weak spot of this Chromebook.
The speakers are nothing special, but they sound ok. Clarity and detail are both excellent, even at high volumes. But a distinct lack of bass means songs can sound thin: you’ll want to use headphones for music.
However, despite being located on the underside of the device, the speakers do a good job of filling the room with audio. 50% of the plastic used in them is also recycled.
Specs & performance
- 12th-gen Intel Core CPUs
- Excellent performance from the Core i7 model
- Only 256GB max storage
Unlike many Chromebooks, the Vero 514 uses full Intel Core processors. You can choose between i3, i5 and i7 from 2022’s 12th-gen range, although these are the from the least powerful U-series.
The top-spec model I tested combines the Core i7-1255U with Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics and 8GB of RAM. As a result, performance is excellent, and a major reason to buy the Vero 514 over most other Chromebooks.
Even with lots of browser tabs open, plus messaging apps, email and watching videos, the Vero 514 felt responsive and could cope fine.
Some mobile apps downloaded from the Google Play Store come with warnings that they’re not optimised for Chromebooks, but everything I tried ran smoothly.
Of course, the lack of a more powerful CPU and no discrete GPU means it’s not really suitable for serious video editing (think multiple streams of 4K), nor playing the latest console-style games. But that’s not what the Vero 514 is designed for, and it performs well in general use.
Some of our usual benchmarks aren’t compatible with Chrome OS, but the results below prove that the Vero 514 is one of the most capable Chromebooks you can buy.
If you’re wondering how much of a decline in performance should you expect if you go for a Core i3-1215U or Core i5-1235U model instead, it’s difficult to say as we didn’t have those to test out. But most people won’t need an i7 processor, and the others should be fine for office-style work, online shopping, editing photos and other things.
The entry-level model has a 128GB SSD, but more expensive models bump that up to 256GB. This will be enough for most people, but it’s worth noting that around 60GB is taken up with system files that can’t be removed, so consider those to be 68GB and 196GB.
In terms of connectivity, the Vero 514 supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2. However, you can only use mobile data if you use your smartphone’s Wi-Fi hotspot.
Battery & charging
- All-day battery life
- Impressive 65W charging
Acer doesn’t provide a specific battery capacity for the Vero 514, but says you can get up to 10 hours of use on a single charge.
Our battery test supports this: the device streamed a 1080p YouTube video for 11 hours and 12 minutes before running out of juice. This was with the brightness set to 200 nits (there’s no way to turn off auto brightness, but it didn’t seem to adjust during the test) and around 50% volume – both are fairly typical for consuming content.
However, that’s simply a measure of video playback time. Regular everyday usage is always likely to deplete the battery more quickly, and that tallies with my experience. Battery life isn’t spectacular, but a full eight-hour working day is well within reach. You just might want to make sure you’re near a power source in the late afternoon.
Acer’s claim of 50% charge in 30 minutes also proves to be accurate. Using the 65W charger in the box, it had reached 51% by the half-hour mark, with a full charge taking just over 90 minutes. Not bad at all.
- Runs Chrome OS
- No Acer-specific software tweaks
- Will get updates until 2030
Like all Chromebooks, the Vero 514 runs Chrome OS. But unlike Windows or macOS, Google doesn’t release major new versions each year, preferring more frequent updates every few weeks.
There’s also practically no delay between the update being released and it being available on your device. Acer has made no tweaks to the Chrome OS experience on the Vero 514, meaning it looks and performs identically to any other Chromebook.
The absence of any bloatware is refreshing: Acer doesn’t foist anything unwanted on you. Even the pre-installed Google apps, which will be genuinely useful for most people, can be uninstalled.
But if you’re considering a Chromebook, you probably already know about the limitations of Chrome OS. You can use some apps offline, but it’s still primarily a stripped-back, web-based operating system.
That means many of the desktop apps on Windows and Mac simply aren’t available here. Your only real alternative is to download the Android version (if one exists), but these are often missing key features. Before committing to any Chromebook, it’s important to make sure that the apps you want to use are available.
Chrome OS provides an Android app experience that’s far superior to Windows 11. Rather being limited to the Amazon Appstore, almost every app on the Google Play Store is available here. While not everything runs perfectly on the desktop, it makes working between your phone and laptop feel seamless.
In terms of software support, you’re well covered with the Vero 514. As Google confirms in an official document, it’ll continue receiving updates until June 2030.
Price & availability
There are three different models of the Vero 514 to choose from, and pricing varies significantly between them.
The cheapest option uses an Intel Core i3 processor and is $499.99/£499.99, while stepping up to Core i5 will set you back $599.99/£699.99.
But the top-spec Core i7 model I tested isn’t available in the US, and costs you £799.99 when paying full price.
While there are regular discounts, this ranks the Vero 514 as one of the most premium Chromebooks you can buy. Google’s Pixelbook Go and the Asus Chromebook Flip CX5 are credible alternatives, while you can get a usable Chromebook for significantly less than that. There are plenty of great budget Windows laptops, too.
The Vero 514 is Acer’s first attempt at a sustainability-focused Chromebook, and it gets a lot right.
A speckled finish makes it stand out from the crowd, but it doesn’t feel cheap or substandard because of the recycled plastic.
And there’s no skimping on performance, with plenty of power here for all ‘everyday’ tasks. Battery life is good, too, and it’s nice to have quicker-than-average charging speeds.
Other highlights include a decent selection of ports and a good-quality webcam.
The weak point is the screen: it’s dim, lacks sharpness and doesn’t have those punchy, vibrant colours we’ve all come to expect from modern devices.
The trackpad isn’t great either and – annoyingly – there’s no fingerprint sensor or face unlock support.
None of these should be deal-breakers if you’re set on a Chromebook, but the Vero 514 won’t convince many people to switch from a Windows laptop.
- Intel Core i3-1215U, Core i5-1235U or Core i7-1255U
- 8GB RAM
- 128/256GB SSD storage
- 14in, 1920×1080 IPS matte display, 60Hz
- 1080p webcam
- 2x USB-C 3.2
- 1x USB-A
- 1x HDMI
- 1x 3.5mm headphone jack
- 1x Kensington lock
- 65W charger
- Wi-Fi 6E
- Bluetooth 5.2
- Chrome OS
The Acer Vero 514 is a premium Chromebook made from recycled plastic, making it eco-friendly. The design is refreshingly unique and durable, but the laptop is chunky and heavy. The keyboard is comfortable and impressive, with extra shortcut keys for Chrome OS-specific functions. However, the trackpad is unreliable and erratic, and there is no support for biometrics such as fingerprint or face unlock. The display is underwhelming, with a matt coating affecting image quality and a maximum brightness of 279 nits. The speakers are decent but lack bass. Overall, the Vero 514 is a good Chromebook option for those who prioritize sustainability, but it comes at a premium cost.