Acer's 2022 Chromebooks stay solid with starting prices under $350

Acer today announced the four new Chromebooks that will comprise its 2022 lineup. While these Chromebooks each have certain specifications that set them apart from the rest, they also share many specifications. For instance, all of them have chassis that meet the MIL-STD 810H standard, and all of them also have spill-resistant keyboards. In addition, many of these Chromebooks use N-series processors from Intel, save for one.

Acer Chromebook 512

The new Chromebook 512 (C852) opened Acer's announcement, and at first blush, it might be the most unique Chromebook the company revealed today. That's because the Chromebook 512 comes with a 12-inch 3:2 display rather than the standard 16:9 aspect ratio. The thinking here is that a 3:2 aspect ratio will give kids more space for text and images than a 16:9 display would.

The Chromebook 512 is one of the new Acer machines that comes with Intel's N-series processors, and it also has an optional touch display. The webcam on the Chromebook 512 reduces flares and also uses temporal noise reduction (TNR) for a clearer image, while the hinge allows the 512 to be opened 180-degrees. The Chromebook, like many of the others being announced today, supports WiFi 6 and has a battery that can last for up to 12 hours, according to Acer's testing.

Acer Chromebook 511

Standing in contrast to the Chromebook 512 is the 511 (C734/C734T), which comes with a slightly smaller, 11.6-inch display at a more familiar 16:9 aspect ratio. Outside of the display (which also has the option of a touch panel), the Chromebook 511 has a lot in common with the Chromebook 512 in that it uses Intel N-series processors, has a flare-reducing webcam with TNR, supports WiFi 6, and has a 180-degree hinge.

Even Acer's quoted battery life is the same at up to 12 hours, along with configuration options that include up to 8GB of RAM and eMMC storage drives in either 32GB or 64GB sizes. At the end of it all, it seems the biggest difference between the Chromebook 512 and Chromebook 511 is the aspect ratio of the display.

Acer Chromebook 314

Once again, we're seeing a lot of similarities between the 512, 511, and the Chromebook 314, with the main difference being the display. While the 512 and 511 have 12-inch and 11.6-inch displays, respectively, the Chromebook 314 goes bigger with a 14-inch full HD display. Acer is positioning this Chromebook as a better fit for older students or teachers who may need to multitask and therefore need all the screen real estate they can get.

As you might imagine, a larger display running at a higher resolution means increased battery usage, and we're seeing that in Acer's quoted battery life for the 314. While the other two Chromebooks boast 12 hours of battery life, the Chromebook 314 will only last up to 10 hours. Beyond that, many of the specifications are the same, though buyers have a third 128GB storage option with the Chromebook 314.

Acer Chromebook Spin 311

While the other three Chromebooks revealed today all have a lot of similarities, the Chromebook Spin 311 manages to stand out thanks to a number of different specifications. As the name suggests, the Chromebook Spin 311 has a 360-degree hinge instead of a 180-degree hinge, allowing for additional usage modes. The display on this model clocks in at 11.6 inches, but unlike the other Chromebooks being announced today, this one comes with a touch panel standard.

While RAM is limited to 4GB, users still have the option of 32GB or 64GB storage drives. Perhaps the biggest departure from the others comes in the fact that the Chromebook Spin 311 doesn't use Intel H-series processors. Rather, the Spin 311 uses a MediaTek MT8183 CPU. The Spin 311 boasts the best battery life out of this entire lineup, as Acer says it can last as long as 15 hours on a full charge. Be warned, though: While the other three Chromebooks all come with microSD card readers, the Chromebook Spin 311 does not, so the internal storage is all you're getting with this one.

Pricing and availability

The Chromebook 512 will be the first of the batch out of the gate, with Acer revealing that it releases this month at a starting price of $349.99. The Chromebook 511 won't be far behind the 512, as it'll launch in February at the same price point. The Chromebook Spin 311 will be here in March with a slightly higher starting price of $399.99, while the Chromebook 314 will be the last to launch in the second half of the year with a starting price of $429.99.