Budget-friendly and Stylish – Acer C720P Chromebook

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The idea of laptop is changing and we are now somewhere between PC and tablet. Chromebooks are getting popular these days. Though Chromebooks have limitations but they also have advantages such as easy cloud set-up, speed and affordable price.

The Acer C720P Chromebook is an updated version of 11.6 inch C720P, giving it a white makeover. At the cost of £250, the C720 successor comes with largely the same specs as the original, including an Intel processor and a touch screen LED display. It is budget-friendly and comes with all the extras you would hope for such as HDMI, 32GB of onboard storage with an SD slot, USB and even a touch screen.

Compared with the Toshiba Chromebook and the HP Chromebook 11, the Acer C720P is a feature-packed bargain. It is one of the best Chromebooks. No doubt, it is a touch-enabled update of Acer Chromebook C720 but with battery improvements, and Chrome OS improvements making it a more palatable than its predecessors.

Design:

The Acer C720P Chromebook features a smoother, matte finish on top lid broken up by Chrome logo and has a rough texture on bottom where its two speakers lie. The Acer C720P is plastic and is a bit bulkier than HP Chromebook 11. It all feels reliable and solid and less flexy even than the sleeker HP Chromebook 11.

It is available in white as well as matte gray. It is also a fine package in terms of typing comfort, there is nothing fancy but it gets the job done. A full-size keyboard has matte plastic keys without backlighting but features decent key travel. You will find everything where it should be.

A medium-sized clickpad below that is also pretty responsive with a crisp clicking mechanism, a smooth surface and enough space for multi-finger gestures. Besides this, the Acer C720P goes a step further. Its 11.6 inch 1,366×768 pixel display is touch-enabled. Pinching, dragging, tapping and any other multi-finger gesture you can image works very well.

Connectivity is same as its predecessor with USB over one the right edge with HDMI, SD card and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the left side with power. Acer has also added a 3G card compartment at the back, so you can surf the web even if you are away from the Wi-Fi.

The Acer C720P also features a HD webcam. You can take pictures and add filters but don’t take it too seriously as it offers pretty sub-standard quality with noise. Measuring 19mm thick and weighing 1.35kg, it is lightweight and comfortable to carry around all day.

Features:

The Acer C720P Chromebook runs on an Intel Celeron 2955U processor which is couple with an improved 2GB of RAM and 32GB onboard memory. In this way you don’t have to rely on using Google’s cloud-based storage entirely. Being engineered with Intel’s Haswell architechture means it can easily handle multiple tabs much better than older Chromebooks. Furthermore, it gives battery life a boost.

Chrome OS:

Chrome OS is an operating system that is designed to rely on Google’s Chrome browser. This means that you will need an internet connection to get full experience. The Acer C720P’s interface is very bare-bones. When you log in with your Google account, you will find a plain desktop. There is a shortcut to the /chrome browser and the app-launcher icon in the bottom-left corner. In the lower-right corner reside time stamp, Wi-Fi and battery indicators.

When you click the app-launcher icon, a small box that carries all of your Chrome apps is triggered. And when you press the box with time stamp located in the other corner of the display, the Settings window for Chrome OS is launched.

People who use their notebook primarily for internet-related activities such as working in Google Drive, browsing websites and checking mail, the Chrome OS is an ideal choice. Chromebooks are extremely secured since app exist in the cloud and are heavily sandboxed.

Apps:

According to ChromeOSApps.org which is a website that keeps track of apps for platform, Chrome OS currently boasts 33,614 apps. This is far fewer than 100,000 and more apps available for Windows 8.1.

The Chrome Web Store offers apps in various categories such as Education, Business Tools, News and Weather, Lifestyle, Games and Utilities. You will also find some apps in the Chrome Web Store that are not compatible with the OS. The Chrome app store includes household names as “The New York Times”, Angry Birds” and “Bejeweled”.

Many Chromebook apps reside in the Chrome Web browser but others run on the desktop in their own separate window. Such apps include “Tank Riders”, to-do-list app Any.do and photo-viewing app 500px. These packaged apps make Chrome OS feel more like traditional operating system.

Offline Desktop Experience:

Chromebooks are designed to work best when you are connected, but Google has tried to expand platform’s offline functionality. There are 34 apps in the “For Your Desktop” section of the apps. These apps run in a separate window outside the browser.

You can easily access these apps offline but some of the experience may be limited in some cases. Some apps, such as “Angry Birds” work seamlessly when offline, but 500px offers only the photo-stream Flow feature in offline mode. It is also important to know that you will either have to allow access to some apps or log in before the apps will work offline. For example, Gmail and Google Drive will not work offline unless you grant them permission beforehand.

Pros:

• Better battery life
• More onboard storage (32GB)
• Touch-screen

Cons:

• Budget friendly
• Chrome OS has natural limitations

On the whole, Chromebooks have to make certain sacrifices to cost less and usually that comes with lowering the power and screen quality. With the Acer C720P Chromebook, Acer manages to address these issues and its display is also very good.

Combining that with touted battery life, surprisingly attractive design and zippy Intel Haswell power, the C720P has set the mark for the Chromebooks.

Also read another Acer C720P’s review: Least expensive, Touch-enabled-Acer C720P Chromebook

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