Acer Chromebook thirteen assessment: lengthy battery life, however efficiency falls brief
After years of getting little respect, Chromebooks are lastly on the rise (no less than in faculties), which suggests each main PC maker is making an attempt to get in on the motion. That features chip makers too, like NVIDIA. Although the corporate beforehand shied away from Chrome OS units, it is now pledging to energy an entire vary of various Chromebooks with its Tegra K1 chip, every of them promising lengthy battery life and extra graphics muscle. The Acer Chromebook thirteen is the primary of the bunch, and whereas a few of you could be Chromebook’d out, we have been truly excited. Right here was a $300 laptop computer boasting no less than eleven hours of battery life, a 1080p show choice and sufficient horsepower to clobber Intel at issues like gaming and wealthy web sites. Because it seems, it was all just a bit too good to be true.
- One of many few Chromebooks with a 1080p display
- Lengthy battery life
- Runs quietly, stays cool
- Snug keyboard and trackpad
- Aggressive worth
- Efficiency not as robust as promised
- Restricted viewing angles
As the primary Chrome OS gadget with an NVIDIA Tegra chip, the Acer Chromebook thirteen is not as highly effective as promised. Nonetheless, it manages to redeem itself with lengthy battery life, a pointy display, a cushty keyboard and, most significantly, a good worth.
Wanting on the Chromebook thirteen’s spec sheet, you’d assume design was the primary place the place Acer minimize corners. And also you would not precisely be flawed. The machine is customary completely out of plastic, with sure elements, just like the bezels and backside aspect, truly feeling a bit tough to the contact. Subsequent to the Samsung Chromebook 2, which sports activities a pretend-leather-based lid, that is clearly the cheaper of the 2. Acer’s mannequin can also be a few quarter-pound heavier, at three.31 kilos and zero.seventy one inch thick, versus three.06 kilos/zero.sixty five inch for the Chromebook 2. If you’d like one thing as mild as a thirteen-inch Ultrabook, you higher be ready to pay an additional $one hundred for the Samsung.
Nonetheless, in comparison with Acer’s older Chromebook, the C720, this can be a marked enchancment. Whereas the eleven-inch C720 is small and cramped, like a netbook, this thirteen-incher is broader, with a extra spacious keyboard and a large touchpad to match. The design is easier, too. Sure, it is plastic, however the all-white look is no less than clear and trendy-wanting. Additionally, not that the lid and palm relaxation decide up scratches simply, but when they did, they’d be all however invisible because of the white paint job.
Even when Acer’s design right here is on the plain aspect, it is all value it whenever you see the show. For all of the scaling-again Acer did with the remainder of the chassis, the display right here is sort of good for a Chromebook, particularly one this measurement. What we’ve here’s a shiny, 1,920 x 1,080 show with a matte end that permits for some comparatively broad viewing angles, particularly from the edges. Even so, there’s solely a lot you possibly can dip the lid ahead earlier than the panel begins to scrub out. This, I am afraid, is an issue throughout all Chromebooks — even on fashions with sharper, 1080p screens, I’ve but to see one with really good viewing angles. Chalk it as much as PC makers making an attempt to maintain hardware prices down, I assume.
As I hinted earlier, the keyboard right here is good and large — a perk of selecting a thirteen-inch Chromebook over an eleven-inch one. Meaning all the main keys (Shift, and so on.) are amply sized and straightforward to strike with out wanting. That stated, the keys do not appear to have far more journey than they did on the C720, which suggests I as soon as once more discovered myself having to re-sort issues after my key presses did not register the primary time. Even so, I discovered it usable, and I feel you’ll too. On a brighter word, the touchpad is good and large, and responds nicely to each single-finger monitoring in addition to multi-contact gestures like pinch-to-zoom.
Across the edges, the Chromebook thirteen has all the identical ports as competing units, which is to say it sports activities two USB ports, an HDMI socket, a full-sized SD card slot and a headphone jack. You won’t realize it at first look, although: Whereas most machines stack all of the ports alongside the appropriate and left sides, the Chromebook thirteen has a USB and HDMI port tucked round on the again, out of sight. So, it might sound at first like Acer was stingy — that it might solely be bothered to incorporate one USB port, a reminiscence card slot and an audio port. However that is simply the extent of what you’ll be able to see when the machine is in entrance of you.Efficiency and battery life
This might be an excellent time for me to again up and put all that in plain English. What it comes right down to is that this: The Acer Chromebook thirteen does properly on some checks, notably those that NVIDIA itself recommends. In any other case, its efficiency falls in keeping with the very Bay Path-powered machines that NVIDIA claims to beat. Both means, the Chromebook thirteen does not really feel quicker than different Chrome OS units in actual-world use. It does not really feel slower both, however that is not saying a lot, provided that Chromebooks usually aren’t recognized for his or her stellar efficiency. On the plus aspect, the machine stays good and quiet, and it runs cool. Finally, in case you purchase the Chromebook thirteen, it must be due to the worth, the 1080p display, the lengthy battery life — not since you’re anticipating superior computing energy.
NVIDIA’s efficiency claims might have fallen brief, however the battery life right here is nearly so long as promised. On the 1080p mannequin, which is rated for as much as eleven hours, we received 10 hours and 7 minutes of steady video playback. That is admittedly a grueling check, too, so I’ve little question that with a lighter workload and extra conservative brightness settings, the machine might’ve made it to the eleven-hour mark after which some. In case you go together with the decrease-finish Chromebook thirteen, which has a 1,366 x 768 show, you’ll be able to anticipate as much as thirteen hours of runtime, in response to Acer. I sadly did not get to benchmark a type of, so I can not vouch for that exact efficiency declare. If it is true, although, that may make it the longest-lasting Chromebook available on the market.Software program
Although we have been reviewing fairly a number of Chromebooks over the previous few months, the software program expertise hasn’t modified a lot in that point. When you’re simply tuning in, although, this is a fast primer on what to anticipate. Chrome OS has slowly gotten higher at letting you do issues offline — customers have lengthy been in a position to make use of Gmail and Google Drive with out an web connection. Lately, too, Google made it so to watch Google Play films and TV exhibits offline — a helpful function if ever you end up on an extended aircraft journey. Different current enhancements embrace pinch-to-zoom, higher file administration and the capability to add photographs to Google+ within the background. Talking of G+, the Acer Chromebook thirteen comes with 100GB of free Google Drive storage — a regular perk for Chromebook customers.Configuration choices and the competitors
The Chromebook thirteen begins at $280 and is on the market in 4 configurations. The bottom-finish version has a 1,366 x 768 show, 2GB of RAM and a thirteen-hour battery. Step as much as the $300 mark, and also you even have two choices at that worth: a 1080p display with 2GB of RAM, or a 1,366 x 768 show with 4GB of RAM. If you would like all of it — a full HD display with 4 gigs of reminiscence — you’ll be able to have it, for $380. Oh, and by the best way, in case you are questioning, virtually all of those configurations have 16GB of constructed-in storage (the excessive-finish one has 32GB).
As for all the things else available on the market, properly, I am not likely serving to you if I record off each single choice. However I can advocate a number of notables. To start with, in the event you’re on the lookout for one thing on par with the Chromebook thirteen, its most blatant competitor can be the thirteen-inch Samsung Chromebook 2, which additionally has an ARM-based mostly chip and a 1080p show. With its sharp display, snug keyboard and comparatively premium-wanting design, it nonetheless ranks as certainly one of my favorites.
The issue is that it prices $four hundred, which is stepping into “low cost Home windows laptop computer” territory. And at that worth, the efficiency is not fairly as strong as some competing fashions. If, like me, you assume even an ARM chip is sweet sufficient for primary duties, you may truly just like the Acer Chromebook thirteen I have been reviewing right here: It gives comparable efficiency, with an equally sharp display, besides it prices $one hundred much less. It isn’t fairly as polished-wanting, however once more, it isn’t ugly, both.
Quickly sufficient, although, Samsung and Acer will not be the one ones promoting full HD Chromebooks. Toshiba, for one, is about to ship its personal Chromebook 2, which can begin at $250 ($330 if you’d like the 1080p decision). That may embrace an Intel Bay Path chip, which suggests efficiency is more likely to be barely higher than Acer’s or Samsung’s choices, however battery life might be shorter (or not — we’ll see). It appears promising, however I have never examined this one, so I sadly cannot affirm how properly it performs.
If efficiency is a priority — which means, you are frightened an ARM chip will not minimize it — all roads lead again to Acer. The corporate’s C720 Chromebook is one among our favorites. For one factor, it is among the many solely ones provided with a Core i3 chip, which delivers noticeable (albeit pretty modest) efficiency good points. On the similar time, it is the most effective-worth machines we have seen: For $199, you will get it with an Intel Haswell-collection Celeron CPU that also delivers respectable efficiency. The one factor to remember with both mannequin is that the battery life will probably be a number of hours shorter than on the Chromebook thirteen. So, it relies upon rather a lot on what your priorities are: most efficiency or prime-notch battery life? Acer earns each of these honors — simply not with the identical machine, sadly.What about Home windows machines?
Lastly, you is perhaps questioning what sort of Home windows PCs you will discover at this worth — $300 is technically “low cost Home windows laptop computer” territory, too. By and enormous, the machines you will discover at this worth may have bigger, 15-inch screens with both an Intel Celeron processor or an AMD E-collection chip. In different phrases, the efficiency must be on par with many equally priced Chromebooks. That stated, there are a couple of techniques at this worth which are simply as small and moveable because the Acer Chromebook thirteen, if no more so. These embrace the eleven-inch Lenovo S215 ($349), the eleven-inch Acer Aspire ES1 ($250-plus) and the HP Pavilion 10z Contact ($250). For the cash, you get a 1,366 x 768 display and round 500GB of constructed-in storage.
In an identical vein, HP is about to start out delivery the primary laptop computer from its “Stream” collection, which goals to tackle Chromebooks within the type of an affordable pocket book that runs Home windows, however has little or no native storage. The primary mannequin is a 14-incher priced at $300. This, too, has a 1,366 x 768 show and makes use of an AMD chip. I am not saying I like to recommend it, particularly for 300 bucks, nevertheless it might be tempting for somebody who needs a finances machine that may nonetheless run desktop Home windows apps.Wrap-up
The Chromebook thirteen is not the whole lot Acer and NVIDIA promised it will be, however one way or the other, it is nonetheless a worthwhile product. Although its efficiency is not a lot better than the Intel Bay Path machines it claims to beat, the battery life is almost greatest in school, reaching 10 hours even with a full HD display. Talking of the type, this stays one of many few Chromebooks on the market with display decision higher than 1,366 x 768. Sure, the viewing angles might be higher, however then once more, that is true of each Chrome OS laptop computer, so it is arduous to actually fault Acer for that. Most significantly, although, with a worth beginning at $280 (or $300 for the complete HD model), it is easy to forgive most of the machine’s flaws. Even with merely common efficiency, this seems like a good worth for what it’s: a Chromebook with a pointy display, lengthy battery life and a spacious, snug keyboard.
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- Key specs
- <a href=”http://www.engadget.com/merchandise/acer/chromebook/thirteen/” title=”Acer Chromebook thirteen evaluations” goal=”_blank”> Critiques • 2 </a>
- Sort Ultraportable
- Display measurement thirteen.three inches
- Display decision 1366 x 768
- Bundled OS Linux (Chrome OS)
- System RAM 2 GB
- Most battery life As much as thirteen hours
- Weight three.31 lb
- Introduced 2014-08-eleven
<a href=”http://www.engadget.com/merchandise/google/chrome-os/”> Google Chrome OS </a>