Updated. Google announced a new $199 Chromebook model on Monday that’s very different from its predecessors. The Acer C7 is built more like a traditional laptop in terms of size, weight, storage and processor, but it runs the lightweight Google Chrome OS. At 3 pounds and with just 3.5 hours of battery life, the C7 isn’t as light as the latest Samsung Chromebook, nor does it last as long on a charge. However, the price and power combination may be attractive to some.
What’s different in the C7 Acer opted to use an Intel Core processor for starters. Prior Intel Chromebooks ran on older chips and the Samsung Chromebook that debuted last month actually uses an ARM-based processor that’s typically found inside smartphones and tablets. The C7 does, however, share the same basic screen as that model: an 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 display.
Because the C7 is thicker than prior Chromebooks — at 1 inch “thin” it has the girth of a traditional notebook — but that gives Acer room for a full complement of ports as well as a 320 GB hard drive to supplement the 100 GB of Google Drive storage. By comparison, most other Chromebooks come with 16 GB of flash storage. Three USB ports, an Ethernet jack, HDMI and VGA for video out and HD front-facing camera round out the specifications making this Chromebook more like a standard laptop.
I still use a Google Chromebook as my full-time computing device — I went back to the Samsung Series 5 550 for the better performance over the ARM model — and I’m curious how this Acer device works, given the hardware. I’m anticipating it performs at least as good as the model I’m using now and that one cost me $449 some five months ago. At $199, if the C7 is comparable or better, it’s a steal for the price provided you’re going to be near an outlet more often than not or you have a mobile hotspot device.
The new Acer C7 goes on sale Nov. 13 on Google Play and select retailers in the U.S. and U.K.
Update. I had an email conversation with Brad Linder over at Liliputing and he found out that the processor in the Acer C7 is a 1.1 GHz Intel Celeron 847 Sandy Bridge processor paired with 2 GB of memory.