For 500 euros, which computer to choose between a Windows PC and a Chromebook

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If you want to invest in an affordable laptop capable of handling everyday tasks, one of their two models may well do the trick. Between a Chromebook and a Windows PC, which one to choose? We will try to answer it in this comparison.

There are well-equipped laptops on the market without having to shell out a large sum. Many manufacturers drop the price without compromising on performance. If you want to buy an ultraportable with a price of around 500-550 euros, but you don’t know which models to go for, we have found two devices with interesting promotions for you. These are the Honor MagicBook 15 AMD (2022) and the Acer ChromeBook Spin 514.

These two references confirm that a good laptop is not necessarily above 1,000 euros. If each offers a different operating system and a different processor, they are effective in carrying out everyday tasks, with substantial autonomy to make the most of it. It remains to be seen which of the two best meets your needs and which experience appeals to you more between Windows or ChormeOS. We will try to enlighten you in your choice through this comparison.

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Two stylish laptops, including a convertible

Aesthetically, the Acer laptop offers beautiful finishes. This Spin 514 is among the best in the basket on the Chromebook market and is entitled to a design worked with a solid aluminum casing. It is easy to transport with its compact size. and its light weight (1.4 kg). It stands out above all for its design and its 360-degree hinge. Thus, it is possible to rotate the screen to use it as a tablet. Practical for people used to taking notes, or who like to draw, since it works perfectly with a stylus. The Honor MagicBook 15 (2022) also benefits from a careful aluminum design with excellent finishes reminiscent of Huawei. It manages to keep a light footprint despite its large screen and measures just 16.9mm for a weight of just 1.54kg. On the connection side, the Spin 514 is equipped with two USB-C ports, an HDMI port, a USB 3.2 Gen 1 port, and an audio headphone jack. As for the MagicBook 15, it offers a USB-C port, a USB 3.2 Gen 1 port, a USB 2.0 port, an HDMI port, and a 3.5mm jack.

The two manufacturers wanted to bet on screens with thin borders. The Honor MagicBook 15 (2022) uses a 15.6-inch IPS LCD panel in 16:9 ratio with FHD definition (1920 x 1080). We measured during our test 325 cd/m² maximum brightness, which is correct, but does not allow for excellent readability in direct sunlight. If you plan to use the computer mainly indoors, the dullness will not be felt. Overall, the screen is of good quality and quite immersive with its slim 4.8mm bezels on three sides. The Acer Spin 514 is also based on an IPS LCD panel, but with a 14-inch diagonal. It offers narrow borders with a frame-to-screen ratio of 84% compared to 87% for the MagicBook 15. With its FHD definition, the Acer laptop’s screen is easy on the eyes and its touch surface provides good versatility.

Microsoft or Google?

If you are more familiar with Windows, the operating system designed by Google is no less interesting. The latter offers a clean interface that is pleasant to use. ChromeOS attracts with its simplicity and responsiveness, and ensures a good browsing experience for users. All Google services (Drive, Docs, Photos, etc.) are available and synced with your data. The operating system obviously gives access to the Play Store and therefore to a large number of downloadable applications, such as Spotify or Netflix. It is even possible to launch Linux applications. On the other hand, if you have essential software or peripherals, a Windows PC is probably a better option.

Honor equips your ultrabook The latest operating system from Microsoft: Windows 11. With the eleventh generation of Windows, we are entitled to a completely renewed interface, with smoother animations, a cleaner menu, easily accessible widgets (weather, calendar, etc.). The Microsoft Store app has also been redesigned and finally lets you download and install apps without bugs or performance issues. It will even be possible to download Android applications. This OS continues to be updated by the Redmond firm, with more customization in the menu, but also to make a very practical ergonomic interface on a day-to-day basis.

An ideal machine for office automation and another more versatile

In terms of performance, the two notebooks don’t use the same processor : one is powered by an Intel chip and the other is powered by an AMD chip. Let’s start with the configuration of the Acer Chromebook Spin 514. It is not uncommon to find Chromebook PCs that integrate Intel Celeron or Pentium chips, rather weak processors. Fortunately, the Spin 514 is better equipped and packs a 2-core Intel Core i3-1110G4, with a base frequency of 1.5 GHz that can be boosted to 3.9 GHz. It’s all coupled with 8 GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 128 GB NVMe PCIe 3.0 storage. Concretely, this machine is not a monster of power, but it will be appreciated by (tele)workers and students. They will be able to be completely satisfied with this power, especially for simple tasks, ranging from office automation, web browsing or even 2D games.

For the 2022 MagicBook 15, Honor is switching from an Intel processor to an AMD chip. Thus, we find under the hood a Ryzen 5 5500U with 6 cores and 12 threads, with a base frequency of 2.1 GHz that can be increased to 4 GHz. A comfortable configuration for most everyday tasks: either for the work, browsing the internet without slowing down, or even for creative work like photo editing. The latter incorporates a Radeon Vega 7 GPU part that will run very low power games at 60 FPS without worry, but it won’t go beyond that, because this machine is not dedicated to gaming. Its cooling system is efficient and maintains the performance of the laptop. We also appreciate the 512 GB SSD which will then allow for fast boot up and data access that is just as fast.

Durable and quick to recharge

Regarding autonomy, Honor incorporates a 56 Wh battery. This allows the machine to last a long time. It also received a very good score during our autonomy test protocol (PCMark 10) giving up ghosting after 13 hours and 18 minutes, from 99 to 2%. Another significant and no less important element is its 65 W charger that delivers two hours of use after 15 minutes.

In general, Chromebooks are known for their stamina. Here, Acer’s laptop manages to offer good autonomy and promises 10 hours of use. It is true that this duration will vary depending on your use, but for office use it is quite honorable. You can spend the day serenely away from the charger, but in the context of more intensive use, know that it is still compatible with fast charging (50% in 30 minutes).

Honor or Acer, which one to choose?

After detailing these two laptops point by point, here’s what’s important to remember when making your decision.

For those looking for a simple machine to browse the web, watch video content, or run Word or Google Docs, the Acer ChromeBook Spin 514 will be a very good investment. In addition to its attractive price, its interface simplifies navigation for people who are not comfortable with this type of product, like our grandparents. It can also meet the needs of students to take notes and multitask. With its ability to transform into a tablet, the ultraportable offers good versatility and portability.

On the other hand, if you have a more advanced use, and you have software like Photoshop to install, it is rather the solution that Honor offers that best suits you. With heavier applications, the cooling system will be able to maintain performance and remain efficient during use. For nomads, its lightness and autonomy will not disappoint. And if you’re the type to store a lot of files, the 512GB SSD won’t be too much. You should also know that we gave it a score of 8/10. A note that we attribute to Frandroid, when the qualities of the product make it a good deal for almost all user profiles. The large number of qualities means that any defect is not prohibitive.

For more information, you can discover our test on the Honor MagicBook 14 (2022) which is valid for AMD 15. And if we have not had the opportunity to test the Acer Spin 514, you can consult our guide dedicated to the ChromeBook.

Other references to discover

If these two laptops do not meet your needs, and you want to see what the competition offers, we invite you to consult our guide to the best laptops of the moment.

Do you want to join a community of enthusiasts? Our Discord welcomes you, it is a place of mutual help and passion for technology.

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