Acer C720 Chromebook, review
Although the Acer C720 Chromebook was launched in the United States last November, it was not until the end of May when the manufacturer from Taiwan confirmed that they would arrive in Spain "soon" with prices of 249 euros (the basic) and 299 euros (which includes a screen tactile).
Already on the market, its arrival has even anticipated that of HP Chromebooks, expected for the return to school. From Xataka we have been able to test the first of them and today we share our impressions with you.
Acer C720 Chromebook, technical specifications
Before we begin to break down what has been our experience with this first Acer Chromebook, let's review its main features:
Although we have tested the Acer C720 with the characteristics that we have just mentioned, there are other models: the C720P-2661 with touch screen (which will also go on sale in Spain), the C720-3871 with 32GB of SSD storage and then others versions with more RAM (up to 4GB) and a more powerful microprocessor (i3 1.70 GHz dual-core).
Low cost finish
My impressions of the Acer C720 started out very good from the moment I took it out of the box. Despite being a low-cost laptop, the plastic exterior finish is elegant and does not feel low at all.
Solid, sober and with the Chrome logo, which already anticipates that we are not facing any ordinary laptop, but a Chromebook of the latest batch powered by a latest generation and low consumption Haswell microprocessor. SSD storage works like a charm, making it run smoothly and boot almost instantly.
The laptop is designed with the intention of being just that: a lightweight laptop that you can take anywhere. It is small, yes, and small, so this more than meets it, but the weight has room for improvement.
Its 1.2 kg in hand transmits more sensation of weight than that indicated by the scale. The good news is that the power supply itself is "mini", something that is appreciated when you travel with your computer in a bag or briefcase.
The ports, as usual, are located on the sides of the laptop. On the left side we have an HDMI port, a USB port and a headphone audio input. On the right, another USB port and an SD card slot.The design is sober, it does not weigh excessively nor does it suffer from excessive heating or much less noise thanks to its SSD drive
The microphone is located right next to the webcam, while the front of the computer base is reserved to include a pair of lights that indicate when the device is on and when it's charging.
After a while of operation, the base of the laptop heats up slightly but without becoming anything alarming but something common in such a small computer. What has surprised me, for good, is how quiet its ventilation is. I am used to working with silent computers (hobbies that one has) and the Acer C720 has not clashed at all.
Compact designSide view of the Acer C720 Chromebook versus Apple's 13 "Macbook Air.
Sound and display, need improvement
You never usually expect much from the sound of a laptop if you don't have very clear multimedia claims. This Chromebook is no exception.
Sound is not the strength of this laptop: canned and low quality
It is true that it is difficult to get good sound in a netbook of such a small size but in the case of this Chromebook the results are worse than we expected: poor quality canned sound. Listening to music on it is quite a challenge and as you turn up the volume a little more than you should, even worse. The location of the speakers at the bottom of the laptop base doesn't help either.
The screen is nothing out of the ordinary either: a 1366x768 pixel TFT LCD that saves furniture but it's also no wonder. Also note that it is the same one that they used for their predecessor. The viewing angles are acceptable (especially on the sides, vertically it suffers much more), but Acer has made little progress in this regard compared to its previous Chromebook.
Keyboard: acceptable but upgradeable
Typing on an 11-inch laptop is not always easy, but it must be recognized that Acer has achieved a fairly comfortable keyboard in general terms.
The size of the keys is adequate, with a good separation between them but on a daily basis we have encountered an annoying irregularity when typing: some keys are harder than others and there is a strange sensation, which does not help that they have so little travel. It is a toll that we must pay precisely for talking about a low-cost laptop.
The layout of the keys and the quality of the keyboard itself, two aspects that can be clearly improved
At the top of it are the hot keys, with some being quite useful. For example, browser "back", "forward" or "reload" also have their version on the physical keyboard. As usual in almost all laptops, also from there you can change the brightness or volume of the sound.
Keys are missing (Caps Lock) and others (ctrl and alt) take up too much space
Another aspect that can be improved is the layout of the keys themselves. The intro has a strange shape in the Spanish version of this laptop, mixed with the Ç key. On the other side, the ctrl and alt keys are twice the size of what is usual for other keyboards, and others like the Caps Lock disappear.
It is logical that we do not have the Windows key or the Mac cmd key, but they could have taken advantage of that space to add some more functionality. Finally, the trackpad has a somewhat strange touch but it also shows us more than acceptable precision.
An autonomy that impresses
The autonomy of this laptop is one of its great advantagesFrom what we have discussed so far, it could be said that the Acer C720 is a fairly balanced team with some secondary defects that are not surprising in such a low-cost computer. But if there is one aspect where we have been pleasantly surprised it is in the battery life.
With normal use (several tabs open, Spotify working in the browser and working with it on some text documents) has exceeded 7 hours of autonomy. It is not the 8 hours of which they boast, but it is quite close.
Of course, to achieve this it gives me the feeling that they have had to sacrifice the performance of some components. Where I have noticed the most has been when connecting via Wi-Fi to my home network and the Internet. I did a test and the Acer does not exceed 6 Mbps and, when doing the speed test, the sound reproduction through Spotify is cut. Next to it, and at the same distance from the access point, a Macbook Air reaches 60 Mbps without any cut. This is an example test, since it does not make much sense to compare the performance of two laptops whose price differs by almost 900 euros, but it is quite significant.
Chrome OS, the crux of the matter
Unlike other analyzes that we usually do, in this one there are no benchmarks or tests that have been able to test the capabilities of the Acer C720. The reason? Precisely one of its main features: Chrome OS, its operating system.
We are facing a fairly light operating system that works fluently but has many shortcomings for those who want to go a little further with a laptop, as we saw in our in-depth analysis of Chrome OS.Chrome OS is ideal if you want the laptop to navigate: for the rest it is very limited
Essentially with Chrome OS you will be able to do only what you can do with Chrome. Can you play Angry Birds? Yes, because there is a game in the Chrome Store that works in a tab. Can you install Adobe Photoshop or any other program, like you do on Windows, Linux or Mac? No. That is why I consider that these types of laptops are fine for people who only want to navigate with them, but when you want something else, the task is quite difficult.
Not only that: good luck installing some peripherals. Trying to print with a network configured printer was a real ordeal, and that is relatively modern. The computer itself, when trying, forced me to configure the mobile printing system of the same, something that I had never used or had no interest in using and that shows that Chrome OS has many limitations today.
Acer C720 Chromebook, Xataka's opinion
The Acer Chromebook 720 is a low-cost laptop (249 euros for the basic version and 299 for the touchscreen version, soon) and we should not lose sight of that starting point. Yes, the keyboard, the screen, the sound ... all this could be improved, but then we would no longer be talking about a team of 250 euros.
In general, it has left us good impressions, among which the great performance of the battery or the fluidity of Chrome OS stands out.Chrome OS is both the main attraction and limitation of a laptop that is not valid for everyone and that bets almost everything on the price
However, Chrome OS is also its biggest limitation: if you want to navigate and little else, the Acer Chromebook 720 is a good option. If you are already looking for a more advanced use or simply need to use a specific program that does not have a Chrome extension, it is best to choose another alternative.
6,3Design7 screen Performance5.5 Keyboard / trackpad6 Software5 Autonomy8
- Light and compact finish
- Battery duration
- Chrome OS limitations
- Screen and keyboard quality
- Wi-Fi performance
The computer has been loaned for testing by Acer. Can inquire our policy of relationships with enterprises