- Zero air gap touch controls
- Affordable with solid performance
- Attractive well-built design
- Lackluster display
- Limited feedback on keyboard
- Unwieldy in tablet form
The Acer Aspire R14 offers a great design and solid performance, but the overall package is marred by the display’s limited resolution and poor viewing angles.
The Acer Aspire R14 is an affordable convertible ultrabook, with a sleek attractive plastic design and a potent Intel Core i5-4210U CPU. The Aspire R14’s well built 360 degree hinge makes it easy to switch between modes and the Zero Air Gap design makes the touch controls responsive and easy to use. Listed at only $650 the Aspire R14 is a more affordable option to Lenovo’s more expensive Yoga line. However, the lower cost comes as a price as the R14 houses a sub par 14-inch TN display. The glossy panel’s 1366 x 768 resolution feels lackluster in comparison to the competing FHD displays that now populate the market.
Does Acer Aspire R14 offer enough quality features to make up for its low resolution display? Read the full review to find out.
Build and Design
The Acer Aspire R14’s plastic casing sports an aluminum look complete with horizontal striations. Up close you can still tell it’s plastic, but it provides a nice aesthetic for a mid-tier device. The display’s protective cover is curved along the edge and “acer” chrome lettering sits along the left side.
The deck offers same aluminum plastic, while the bottom of the device is coated in black plastic. Being a convertible the power button is sensibly placed along the right side of the device, making it easy to axis in the notebook’s various forms. Similar to Lenovo’s Yoga line, the Acer Aspire R14 is outfitted with two 360 degree hinges. The hinge offers the perfect amount of resistance, being easy enough to maneuver, but firm enough to hold in place when using touch controls on the screen. The top edge of the display lid is also slightly pointed providing a sturdy base when using the device in tent mode.
Measuring 13.5 x 9.6 x 0.9 – inches and weighing in at 4.85 pounds the Acer Aspire R14 isn’t as light or as compact as the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14, but it stills easy enough to travel with. However, when using the device as a tablet the nearly 5 pound frame can feel unwieldy, especially when trying to balance or hold it in a single hand. The plastic frame also offers excellent durability. The base hardly moved at all during our tests, and the high quality hinge design held firm under pressure.
The Acer Aspire R14 boast excellent connectivity for a convertible. The right side of the device features two USB 2.0 ports, an SD Card Reader, and a headphone jack. The left side of the notebook offers a Kensington lock slot, a Gigabyte Ethernet connector, an HDMI connector and a USB 3.0 port. The ports are spaced adequately for the most part, except the two USB 2.0 ports are positioned a bit too close together. Users may not be able to use two large USB devices at the same time.
Display and Sound
One of the weaker aspects of the Acer Aspire is its 14-inch TN HD (1366 x 768 resolution ) screen. The limited resolution is a major drawback, as most competing devices offer FHD (1920 x 1080 resolution) displays. It’s not all bad though, the display’s glossy finish allows for decent color representation and solid brightness levels of 208 nits. The screen also boasts a Zero Air Gap designed, which serves to limit the gap between the display and touchscreen. The result is incredibly smooth and responsive touch controls that are a pleasure to use.
Unfortunately, the glossy finish also makes the screen highly susceptible to light. Image quality is easily hampered in direct light, causing colors to wash and the screens surface to become reflective. As with most TN screens the viewing angles are also fragile as the screen quickly loses color past 90 degrees.
The Aspire R14 houses two speakers on the bottom portion of the chassis. The speaker vents are located near the right and left sides respectively, and curve upwards allowing sound to escape, even when the device is resting on surface.. The speakers offer solid sound levels capable of filling a small room with audio. While testing the device we were pleased by the speakers ability to depict an orchestral track without any distortions.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Acer Aspire R14 features a Chiclet style keyboard. The device offers adequate spacing and the squared keys are slightly braised on the top, making them easy to grip. Key travel is limited and the tactile feedback feels flat. The Aspire R14’s keyboard isn’t comfortable to use, but we were still able to type at a solid speed with consistent accuracy.
Located directly below the spacebar is a generously sized touchpad. The pad is devoid of a mouse buttons and is comprised of a smooth plastic surface, which allows for easy travel and control. Unlike the keyboard, the pad has decent travel and produces a satisfying audible click when compressed.