Netbooks often got a bad rap for their numerous faults but in hindsight, they had a far greater impact on the computing industry than most realize. At their peak, netbooks accounted for 20 percent of notebook global sales but their success would be short-lived.

In mid-2009, Google acknowledged the elephant in the room – the fact that netbooks were running a Windows operating system designed for much faster hardware – and vowed to free netbooks with a new, lightweight operating system called Chrome OS.

The first Chrome OS laptops wouldn’t go on sale until June 2011. Like their netbook ancestors, price was a key differentiator of early Chromebooks. In early 2013, Google broke those the rules with the Chromebook Pixel which was essentially a high-end notebook running Chrome OS. Starting at $1,299, the Pixel was deemed by most to be significantly overpriced but more than anything, it set precedent for premium, aesthetically pleasing Chromebooks.

Such is the case with the Acer Chromebook 14, a svelte machine that aims for a perfect blend of style, features and performance. Unlike the Pixel, this laptop comes in at just $300, powered by a quad-core Intel Celeron N3160 processor and Intel HD Graphics 400 alongside 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM and 32GB of flash storage.

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