Acer unveils new, even cheaper Chromebook – but how does it compare? [Updated]

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While lots of people are still waiting for the new, backordered Samsung Chromebook to arrive (me included), Google and Acer have just unveiled yet another Chromebook at an even cheaper price. The Acer C7 Chomebook will be sold by the Google Play Store and Best Buy starting tomorrow, November 13, for only $199.

But how does it compare to the Samsung Chromebook on ARM that was announced just weeks earlier? Honestly, it’s hard to know for sure, as several key specs have yet to be revealed. While the Acer Chromebook does have an Intel Core processor as opposed to the more smartphone-friendly Exynos 5 dual core processor on the Samsung Chromebook, that’s about all we know at this point. We don’t know what speed the Intel processor is clocked at on the new Acer Chromebook, nor how much RAM it has, nor how much local storage space it has (1.7GHz, 2GB, 16GB SSD respectively, on the Samsung Chromebook).

Update: OMG!Chrome! is reporting that the Acer C7 Chromebook will  be clocked at 1.1GHz, and it includes a 320GB 5400RPM HDD, which would explain the slower startup time and shorter battery life mentioned below.

However, as far as other hardware features go, we do know that the Acer Chromebook will have three USB ports, as opposed to Samsung’s two. Acer’s front-facing camera is HD, while Samsung’s is VGA. Acer also threw in a VGA port in addition to an HDMI port, while Samsung only has an HDMI port. Finally, unlike the Samsung Chromebook, Acer’s new hardware will come with an ethernet port and a Kensington lock.

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On the other hand, the Samsung Chromebook has 6.5 hours of battery life, as opposed to Acer’s 3.5. The new Samsung Chromebook is also thinner at 0.7-inches, while the Acer C7 Chromebook is an entire inch thick. Samsung offers Bluetooth 3.0, and one of the USB ports is USB 3.0 compatible, while there’s no mention of either on the Acer machine. Samsung’s also starts up quicker – Google officially says it starts in under 11 seconds, but user reports have clocked it as short as seven. The Acer Chromebook, however, takes a full 18 seconds to start up.

Both offer 11.6-inch displays with a 1366×768 resolution. One common complaint about the Samsung Chromebook is that the screen doesn’t get bright enough, and while we don’t know how bright the Acer Chromebook will get, Google does say it will get “extra bright.” Both also come with 12 free Gogo Inflight internet sessions and 100GB of free Google Drive storage for two years.

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While this is another great Chromebook option, I think I am going to stick with the Samsung Chromebook that I ordered, and just hope that it arrives soon. Depending on your own individual use case, however, one might be better than the other – you will have to decide which compromises you’re willing to make, because both do require that. For me, battery life, a quicker start-up time, and Bluetooth are more important than an extra USB port, a physical ethernet port, or a VGA port. Others, however, may disagree.

In any case, it’s great to see more options like this become available. I truly believe Google’s pricing strategy will work, as well, and soon Chrome OS will not be seen as a fringe OS for tech enthusiasts, but another legitimate alternative for those looking to simplify their lives.

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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.

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