Saturday, November 1, 2014

Acer C720 - One Year Later

Well, it's been a year and it's time for a Chromebook blog...

I gave away my C720 4GB and C720 2GB models but not because I didn't love them.  The former to a colleague and the latter as a gift.  I miss me some Chromebook!

After being without my Chromebooks for quite awhile (I was primarily using my Mac-book Pro) I decided to see if there were any new Chromebooks out there and if so, if there was a compelling reason to pick something up other than a C720.  I'll cut straight to the chase...there is no compelling reason to purchase anything except the Acer C720.

After reviewing several alternatives, including the new Acer model that uses the Intel i3 CPU, I can confidently say that the original C720 is every bit as hot "sh*t" as  I thought it was when I reviewed it back in 2013.

The fact is, unless you really feel like spending more money or need a bigger display, this Chromebook is about as big a bang as you can get for your Chromebook money.  You might want to go with the 4GB model if you typically roll with lot's of tabs open, but in practice I have not had issues with performance.

I've researched a bunch of different models (HP, Samsung, Asus), read the reviews read the specs and checked them all out at Best Buy (don't ever ask their sales people questions if you want to get the correct answers).

It can be confusing, especially when sales people give you wrong information and are generally ignorant about Chromebooks to begin with.  Bottom line is that the Haswell architecture is going to give you the best price, performance, battery life of all of the Chromebooks.  If you want to sacrifice a bit of performance for battery life (and we're talking a little more, not a lot more battery life) then the new models with the NVIDIA Tegra K1 chipset should be considered.  The new Acer 13.6" model sports the new chipset and a higher price, but might be best for those looking for a little more screen real estate and as I mentioned, increased batter life.  The other features are pretty much the same (same number of USB ports and interfaces).  The new model supports MIMO Dual-Band 2.4Ghz & 5GHz wifi.

According to the Acer specs, you'll enjoy 13 hours of battery life for their HD (1366x768) and 11 hours for the Full HD model (1920x1080).  I'd probably cut that down by 10-20% depending on how bright you like your display.  It also adds about 1/2 pound to the weight over the original C720 (2.76lbs vs 3.3lbs).

Throwing a C720 on my coffee table is a no brainer.  It's cheap and powerful and I can browse, check my email and even run SSH to do some Linux development.  As a first or second laptop it works for me.  When I travel, I'm not taking my $2k Mac-book Pro, I'm throwing my C720 in my messenger bag and heading to the airport.  One of the great comforts of this is, if I lose the Chromebook, there's nothing on it that someone can steal.  If I do lose the C720, it wasn't all that expensive in the first place.

I love me some Chromebook!

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