At MobileTechTalk we’ve experienced Chromebooks before. Our time with the Samsung XE303 wasn’t the enjoyable departure from the norm it could have been. It’s safe to say that whilst the experience was fresh and exciting, the performance of that device left a lot to be desired. Fast forward 12 months and there have been numerous Chromebook iterations since. Here we stand with one of Acer’s latest offerings, the C720P, with a mobile optimised Intel chip, 16GB SSD, 11.6″ display with 10 point multi-touch. Let’s take a quick look in our Acer C720p first impressions article.
The first time you take this device out of its box, it is, it’s fair to say, a little confusing. The matt white finish of the device we have is immediately offset with the glossy top surface. A nice contrast that allows the user to grip the device and still maintain a premium look. The plastic used in this device contributes to it’s sturdy design and its 1.25kg weight isn’t off putting on a device this size.
The 11.6″ LCD panel here is bright and vibrant, however it can suffer brightness issues from tighter viewing angles. The 1366 x 768 resolution isn’t stunning by any stretch of the imagination, but Chromebooks by their very nature are, for the most part, a compromise in most ways, and the screen is just one of those compromises. Its paltry 135 ppi will be noticeable, in media consumption. Daily activities such as browsing and email are more than acceptable however. The screen has one more trick up its sleeve. The 10 point multi-touch solution is a nice addition, and in some instances, it’s nice to have a touch screen input alternative. Our current lack of usage of the touch facility however is testament to the track-pad and keyboard short-cuts available in ChromeOS.
Speaking of Google’s portable OS, it’s now a much more mature productivity platform, and with the growing list of apps and extensions available from the Web store, it continues to market itself as a budget conscious alternative to netbooks (still a thing?) and cheap Windows-based laptops.
The keyboard is a nice chiclet style with no major keyboard layout sins. Google do however continue their annoying trend of removing the DEL key above the backspace, and instead placing the shutdown/power button here. The amount of times that this key has been pressed in error so far is steadily growing and we can already see this being at the top of our ‘cons’ list in the full review.
We’re still testing the various claims made by Acer as to the battery life, but so far we’re seeing good numbers of estimated time left and we’ll be sure to include more detailed numbers in the full review. 2 hours of heavy use has resulted in 80% battery remaining. IT remains to be seen if this performance continues.
The overall performance of this device so far is nothing short of great. 1080p video viewing, streaming media, web browsing, word processing and spreadsheets as well as social media interactions are all speedy and intuitive with this device. Something our Samsung had serious issues with.
With more and more of our data being stored in the Cloud and the always-on nature of our connected lives means that Cloud is only going to become more prevalent. Google is counting on this and they continue to develop their ChromeOS platform to compete with other systems, at a price point that many can’t reach. In short, based on our current usage, if you’re a student, or a professional looking for a secondary device or a productivity machine to be used on the road, you could do a lot worse than looking at a Chromebook, and much, much worse than considering the C720p.
Acer C720p Specifications:
- Screen: 11.6″ LCD Touch-screen
- Resolution: 1366 x 768
- Processor: Intel Celeron 2955U @ 1.4Ghz
- Memory: 2GB DDR3
- Storage: 16GB SSD
- Dimensions: 11.34 x 8.03 x 0.75 inches
- Weight: 2.76lb / 1.25kg
- Battery: Up to 8.5 hours
More to come in our full review – stay tuned.