We have seen it during IDF, and now the ACER C720 is officially launched in the USA at an affordable $249.99 price. This 3rd generation Chromebook features Intel’s Haswell architecture (Intel Celeron 2955U) which provides a much better battery life when the processor is idle or performing low-intensity tasks – which is true for a LOT of common tasks these days. Thanks to that upgrade, ACER claims a battery life of about 8.5 hours along with a design that is 30% thinner than its predecessor.
When we played with it, the laptop was fairly plain-looking, but it is a functional 11.6” Chromebook and for that price, it’s hard to complain about design. We were pleasantly surprised with the 1366×768 screen resolution that ensures a “normal” web experience that users are accustomed to and web sites are designed for. It will connect to the web via 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi. Design-wise, this is a 2.76lbs Chromebook that is 0.75” thin. Yet, it retains a keyboard with full-size keys. That means that it is super-small, but that productivity remains possible, at least when the input are concerned. If you use Google Chat, there a camera integrated into the display frame. Unfortunately, we have not had an opportunity to test it yet, so we’re not sure what kind of image quality you may be getting from it. The C720 has one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 ports, along with HDMI and an SD Card reader. The specific model called ACER C720-2800 should be available at Amazon and BestBuy.co right now and will ship with 4GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage (other models may have 32GB). Yes, that’s not a lot, but remember that Chrome OS is designed to be a connected operating system. It’s not for everyone, but data suggests that it is making great strides at school and we think that any environment where people use a computer on a temporary basis may be prime targets for Chromebooks. In any case, the ACER C720 may not be as colorful as the HP Chromebooks, but its price may prove attractive enough to entice customers.