Acer C720 Chromebook Review - HotHardware

Acer C720 Chromebook Review

22 thumbs up
Let’s just be honest right off the bat: You’re probably not reading our review of this product so much to check out benchmarks and other performance indicators as you are to see if we’ll clarify whether or not Google's strange, new browser-based Chrome OS operating system is really worth investing in.

Chrome OS is indeed essentially a browser-as-operating-system solution, so the vast majority of the computer’s functionality is tied directly to being connected at all times, and that may be a big hang-up for a lot of people when it comes to Chromebooks. (Except that there are still several things you can do offline, which we'll get into in a bit.)

Most people are connected to the Internet the vast majority of the time, though.  That means you can use Google Drive for writing documents, creating spreadsheets and presentations, and basic file management, as well as Google Music, Gmail, the Chrome web browser, YouTube, Google+ Hangouts, and so on.
Despite what some might view as a hamstrung operating system, the reason that Chromebooks are a tempting option is that most of them are very inexpensive. The one we’re looking at today, the Acer C720 Chromebook, costs a mere $249, which is about on par price-wise for many Chromebooks these days. Acer recently also announced a slightly less powerful C720 to the lineup for just $199.

The question then becomes, can such a device possibly replace a laptop?

Here’s the good news: We have an answer for you, but it’s a complex answer, so you’ll have to read on to fully understand the big picture. Along the way, you’ll get a closer look at Chrome OS as well as the Acer C720 Chromebook itself.

Speaking of the Acer C720, here are some specifications to digest...

Acer C720 Chromebook
Specifications & Features
Processor:
Graphics:
Operating System:
Display:
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Memory:
Camera:
Sound:
Communications:

Ports:



Battery:
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Dimensions:
Software Extras:

Price: 
Intel Celeron 2955U (1.40GHz, dual core)
Intel HD (Haswell) graphics
Chrome OS
11.6 inches (1366x768), 16:9
16GB
4GB DDR3 RAM
Front-facing webcam
Stereo speakers
Dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0
Full-size HDMI
USB 3.0, USB 2.0
SD card slot
3.5mm headphone/mic jack
36Wh, est. 8.5 hours of use
2.76 lbs
0.75 inches thick
100GB Google Drive cloud storage
30-day free trial Google Play Music All Access
$249 currently on Amazon, $199 for 2GB of RAM



The Acer C720 Chromebook doesn’t have dazzling specs, but they are solid, especially for a device that runs such a lightweight operating system as Chrome OS. It has a dual-core Intel Celeron 2955U (Haswell) processor clocked at 1.4GHz with the associated integrated Intel HD graphics as well as 4GB of DDR3 RAM and 16GB of onboard SSD storage.

The 11.6-inch matte display features a 1366x768 resolution, and there are USB 2.0 and UBS 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, SD card slot, 3.5mm headphone/mic jack, and dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 for connectivity.



The system's battery purports to last 8.5 hours, and the whole unit is just 0.75 inches thick and weighs 2.76 lbs. The Acer C720 also includes 100GB of Google Drive storage and a 30-day free trial of Google Play Music All Access.

Let’s dig in and see what else the Acer C720 offers...

Article Index:

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I have to say, not bad at all for $249. Almost cheap enough to pick one up for the kiddos to use.

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I would be really annoyed if I bought this and then found it to be at all noisy. I just loath computer noise, and the Samsung and the HP chromebooks have no fans, just an ARM (phone / tablet) CPU. So it would make as much noise as a tablet. Is a Haswell CPU much noisier than a tablet? If it isn't, then the Acer wins as my chromebook of choice...

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The thing is quiet as a damn church mouse. Seriously.

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I have an older Chromebook and I absolutely love it. This new Acer is even better. You will be able to hear the fan kick in from time to time as it has an Intel processor that does require some cooling. The only detail I'm not 100% satisfied with is the screen. I would prefer a slightly larger form factor, say 12" or 13", and an IPS screen. This is still a fantastic value as is.

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My Acer just died after slightly less than a year. Acer is trying not to honor the warranty. I'll definitely get another Chromebook, never another Acer product.

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Why did the author not compare this to the Samsung Series 5 550? That would have been more meaningful.

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Yes, it would, but we haven't tested one of those.

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I've never really taken Chromebooks seriously because I was never really sold on Chrome OS. I was never sold on Windows 8 either. It wasn't until I really tried Windows 8 for everyday browser/multimedia use on the Lenovo Yoga 11S that I realized Windows 8 was worth getting used to. With regard to Chrome OS, I think I'd venture to say the same if I tested it on say the C720P variant of this that offers touch screen.

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Love this thing EXCEPT I HATE the fact that SD card juts out!!! Why do laptop manufacturers do this? You're telling me that they can't find another half inch!? Jeebus!

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You know jra716, that's an interesting comment. When using smallish (10 inches or so) Windows 8/RT devices, I find myself frequently using the touchscreen capabilities, and I expected the same with the chromebook. But honestly, I never really found myself reaching for the chromebook's display, and I didn't miss the touchscreen function at all.

Windows 8 is of course built with touch in mind while Chrome OS is not, so there's that. Unless you're totally in love with touchscreens, I'd suggest trying out a Chrome OS device that lacks it and see what you think. You, like me, might be pleasantly surprised.

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