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Acer's Chromebook 514 touts metal-and-glass design for $350

You might not have to splurge to avoid plastic.

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If you want a Chromebook made with premium materials and design instead of creaky plastic, that usually means spending extra on performance you don't necessarily need. Acer, at least, is trying to offer better quality without inflating the cost. Its new Chromebook 514 melds an aluminum chassis, a Gorilla Glass-covered trackpad and a thin-bezel (on the sides) 14-inch 1080p display for a $350 (€349) starting price. Acer is coy about the processor inside, but it is promising a healthy 12-hour battery, USB-C ports, an "HDR" webcam and an optional touchscreen.

The Chromebook 514 ships in October, and you'll get more details about its performance closer to launch. It's likely worth waiting for those specs. This still could be a viable alternative to the flimsier budget Chromebooks on the market, but it'll be less compelling if it's using a particularly slow processor (such as the Rockchip-based CPU in some models) to reach that more attractive price.

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