When Acer and Microsoft pulled back the curtain on the Windows 10-powered Acer Aspire One Cloudbook, they were mercilessly stingy with the details. Fortunately that changes today, as Acer just shared every last specification for their affordable Google Chromebook competitor. It's not going to move your needle if you're used to enthusiast-level notebooks, but for the casual consumer or budget-strapped student, the Aspire One Cloudbook leaves a compelling value proposition on the table.
There will be 2 baseline models launching later this month, and Microsoft Stores appear to the the exclusive retailer for the 11.6-inch $169 version, with Walmart playing host to the 14-inch $199 model of Acer's Aspire One Cloudbook.
Regardless of the screen size, each of these Cloudbooks will be rocking Windows 10 Home, an Intel Celeron N3050D Dual-Core CPU, 2GB of DDR3L RAM, and configurable eMMC storage ranging from 16GB to 64GB. Take a look at the detailed specs:
- Display: 11.6-inch or 14-inch, 1366 x 768 LED-backlit
- Processor: Intel Celeron N3050 Dual-Core CPU (Turbo Boost up to 2.16GHz)
- Memory: 2GB DDR3L
- OS Drive: 16GB or 32GB eMMC (embedded MultiMediaCard)
- Expandable Storage: SD Card reader
- Interfaces & Ports: 1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, 1 HDMI, 1 Headphone port
- Communication: 802.11a/c WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0
- Audio: HD audio support, built-in speakers, dual digital microphones
- Battery: 2-cell 4200 mAh (11.6-inch model) / 3-cell 4780 mAh (14-inch model)
Also included are two perks to help offset the price tag: 1-year subscription of Office 365 Personal included with all models, and 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage (otherwise known as servers on the internet) preloaded onto 32GB and 64GB models. If you opt for the entry-level 16GB version, you'll still get a generous 100GB of OneDrive space.
Remember that while this is a full version of Windows 10 (no handicapped "RT" versions this time around), the full installed size is roughly 10GB. And while you can augment your local storage with an SD card, the Cloudbooks -- like Google's Chromebooks -- are meant to be enjoyed while working and playing in the cloud.
Now let's read one of those mandatory PR quotes: “This new Cloudbook from Acer is a sleek, affordable device that takes advantage of new functionality of Windows 10 together with Microsoft services including Office 365 and OneDrive,” says Peter Han, Vice President of Worldwide OEM Marketing, Microsoft Corp. “This device offers the total package for both consumers and students to get more done while on the go.”
I can't argue with Mr. Han. While I feel compelled to bemoan the 1366x768 resolution (that's not going to look too appealing on the 14-inch model), we have to remember that concessions must be made at such an aggressive price point. And having what amounts to a fully operational Windows 10 laptop with Office 2013 for $169 is compelling indeed. I suspect that if this ships with any modicum of quality and reliability, the target audience will eat this up. Whether for traveling, writing, browsing, or consuming streaming media, it looks like the Acer Aspire One Cloudbook could kick off an interesting wave of low-priced Windows 10 notebooks.