Acer is adding a Chromebook to its Vero lineup, which it says aims to provide laptop buyers with an “environmentally conscious” option. Like the (rather disappointing) Windows laptop that came before it, the Chromebook Vero 514 is made from recycled plastic, has a chassis that’s 99 percent recyclable, and comes in packaging that’s made from 90 percent recycled paper, the company said. company. Acer’s press release even suggests that some of the Chromebook’s packaging can be “turned into a multifunctional triangular laptop stand,” if you don’t like to throw something away.
But before we get into recyclability, let’s quickly run through the specs – it weighs just a hair over 3 pounds, which is reasonable for a laptop with a 14-inch screen, and is powered by a 12th-generation Intel processor with Xe graphics. You can spec it with a variety of processors, including the five-core Pentium Gold 8505 (don’t let the core fool you, there’s only one for performance, while the rest are efficiency cores), the Core i3 -1215U, the Core i5-1235U and a Core i7-1255U. Those are all relatively energy efficient chips, suitable for an eco-conscious computer, but if I was looking for a laptop I’d probably go for the i3 or i5 and avoid the Pentium altogether.
The 1080p screen is covered with Gorilla Glass, which should make it feel quite nice if you opt for the touchscreen model. The 300-nits brightness won’t be enough if you’re constantly working in bright sunlight, but it’s still a step up from the 227-nits panel on its Windows counterpart. The 514 should also improve the color rendering of the original Vero; while the Windows model can only display 66 percent of the sRGB gamut, Acer’s promising 100 percent coverage for its Chromebook.
When it comes to ports, the 514 has a healthy selection: two USB-C ports, which can be used to charge the battery to 50 percent in 30 minutes, one USB-A port, an HDMI port, and a headphone jack . The computer also comes with a “flare-reducing” 1080p webcam.
As for the laptop’s carbon footprint, Acer says the trackpad’s surface is 100 percent “ocean-bonded plastic,” while the keys are made from 50 percent post-consumer recycled plastic. 30 percent of chassis plastic is recycled. While that’s not necessarily as impressive as, say, a $1,200 MacBook Air with a 100 percent recycled chassis, it’s nice to see Acer provide relatively granular detail like Apple does. I couldn’t find any numbers to back up Asus’ claims that the Chromebook Flip CX5 has an “eco-friendly design” due to its “integrated recycled materials.”
Acer also claims that the Chromebook is easy to repair and upgrade, with standard screws giving you access to the memory and storage (which you may need to do, as the largest SSD you can get with the 514 is 256GB). While that’s not on the level of what Framework does with its nearly completely repairable and upgradable laptop, that computer is nearly double the price; the base model 514, comes with the Core i3, 8 GB RAM and a 128 GB SSD, starts at $499.99.
That’s another improvement over the Windows version, which starts at $700, and doesn’t offer particularly great value at that price, according to my colleague Monica Chin’s review from last year. The 514 also runs ChromeOS, which is generally considered less demanding than Windows – which could help keep the 514 out of the landfill longer, which is nothing but good news from an environmental standpoint.
Overall, it seems that Acer has addressed quite a few of the issues we had with the original Vero laptop. However, I’d like to reiterate a comment Monica made in her review of that computer: It’s hard to consume your way to environmental responsibility, and if you have to buy something, it has to last. One option for those looking for a computer that’s a bit more eco-friendly is to install ChromeOS Flex on an old Windows laptop bought from a local computer store or dug up from a closet (reducing the “reuse” step of , reuse, recycle). But if you want something with a bit more modern hardware, including comforts like a fingerprint reader, Acer says the Vero 514 will be available from Best Buy starting “mid-October.”