As Steam Alpha finally arrived, and Intel's 12th-generation chipsets are coming to Chromebooks soon, there's a lot of excitement in the Chromebook space right now. There's no doubt that Intel isn't the only player in the Chromebook space, as MediaTek chipsets have been used by more and more Chromebooks recently.
MediaTek's Kompanio 828 powers the Acer Chromebook 514 (2H), announced late in 2021 and offering a less expensive alternative to Intel-powered Chromebooks.
As we're seeing cheaper smartphones, cheaper tablets, and now cheaper Chromebooks, that's what MediaTek's current lineup of chips is all about. But today, we're taking a look at how the Kompanio 828 performs inside the Acer Chromebook 514.
The Chromebook 514 has a relatively bland design. It's very similar to what we've seen across all of Acer's recent Chromebooks, save for a few small changes here and there.
There is a 14-inch display on this Chromebook, complete with 1920x1080 resolution and an anti-glare coating. In spite of not offering a convertible design, it is equipped with a touchscreen panel. However, you won't be able to use your favorite USI stylus. To interact with the screen, you'll need to use the stylus attached to your hand.
I noticed right away that the Chromebook 514 gets quite a bit brighter than I expected. I have been able to work on this Chromebook while sitting on my patio with the anti-glare, matte finish on its screen. While this isn't something that is applicable across all of the best Chromebooks, it's still a nice touch not to strain your eyes.
The upward-firing speakers are another nice touch. It's frustrating that most Chromebook makers use bottom-firing speakers. You can't listen to anything when your laptop is on your lap because the sound is muffled and you can't actually enjoy listening to anything.
This is not the case here, and although the Chromebook 514 can't compete with my 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro, it's better than many of the other devices that I own, so I don't feel the need for Bluetooth headphones.
It was my first time using a Chromebook with a MediaTek chipset, so I wasn't really sure what to expect. Since joining Android Central as a full-time employee, I decided to dive head-first into the Chromebook world. There are some devices that I use during that time which are powered by Snapdragon chips or Intel ones. I keep coming back to this MediaTek option for just that reason.
Acer's Chromebook Spin 713 will not be able to take advantage of the new Steam Alpha program, unlike something like the ASUS Chromebook CX9. In spite of that, I did install a few games to get a feel for the performance. Benchmark results for Chromebook 514 (2H):
Isn't that a stark contrast? The Spin 713 is powered by Intel's 11th-generation i5 chipset. There's more to the story, however, as this particular configuration is also approximately $250 more expensive than the Kompanio-based Chromebook 514. On a day-to-day basis, there is no difference between the two, aside from the ability to jump into Steam.
With the Chromebook 514, multitasking is a breeze thanks to the Chrome browser, PWAs like Feedbin, and apps like Obsidian, Todoist, and Keep. The only time I encountered a hiccup was when I tried to install a Linux partition.
It was easy for me to fire up Lightroom to edit the pictures in this article on the Chromebook 514. I had a bit of trouble exporting, but I was still able to edit them and get them formatted for use.
I will put it simply. My favorite Chromebook for battery life is the Chromebook 514 with the Kompanio 828 chip and 1080p display. On most devices, Chrome OS is not a battery hog as it once was, but I can easily make it through an entire day, around 10 hours or so, without needing to reach for a charger.
This Chromebook is like owning and using an iPhone 13 Pro Max if you want a smartphone analogy. Despite trying to do more labor-intensive tasks, it just consumes the battery. Depending on what you're doing, the battery will drain faster or slower, but you don't need to keep a charger nearby.
Chromebooks like this are needed, and I think we're on the verge of seeing more of them in the near future as newer Kompanio chips appear in Chromebook models.
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