Conclusion: Though it still has a couple of faults, the new version of the Acer C7 Chromebook is faster, longer lasting, and better all around. All this and its very low price tag makes it the best inexpensive Chromebook on the market.
Pros: More RAM for better, zippier performance. Swappable 6-cell battery lasts longer on the road. Very affordable. Big 320GB hard drive for a Chromebook. Full selection of ports, including Ethernet and VGA. Keyboard blends traditional and Chrome layouts.
Cons: Unchanged design is still clunky. Chrome OS is limited. No 3G option.
Excerpt: Google helps you experience the best of its Chrome operating system and the best of the web with the Acer C7 Chromebook. The C7 improves on the storage issue with Chromebooks by adding a 320GB hard drive on top of the 100GB of cloud storage you get. The drawback to this is the design is thick enough that it brings you back to the days of the first netbook.
Pros: There are more ports on this device than other Chromebooks. You will also get vastly more storage with the 320GB hard drive and 100GB of cloud storage.
Cons: The battery life is low and the startup time is slow. The design is more bland and thicker than what you would expect with Chromebooks.
Conclusion: If the point of Chrome OS is for you to live in the browser, then the clear choice for testing battery life is our updated Web Browsing battery life test. Here we find that the advertised figure of 4 hours is almost spot on. While it’s nice to see some accuracy in these battery life claims, that’s no salve for the fact that this isn’t a road warrior.
Conclusion: The Acer C7 Chromebook (C710-2847) isn't the slickest laptop out there, but it runs Chrome OS, has a roomy hard drive and a full selection of ports, and sells for a song. We'll overlook a lot for its $200 price tag.
Pros: Dirt cheap at $199. Relatively enormous 320GB hard drive. Full selection of ports, including Ethernet and VGA. Swappable battery. Keyboard blends traditional and Chrome layouts.
Cons: Clunky design. Short battery life. Chrome OS is limited. No 3G option
Conclusion: Now we have ourselves that $200 question. Is the C7 for you and I, the tech-crazed, spec-obsessed power user? No, it isn’t. If it was it would fill a role that I don’t think exists, that of a “living room laptop.” The term has caught fire in tech circles lately, but the living room laptop is no longer real. It was usurped by the iPad, or now, the impressively cheap alternatives like the Nexus 7, Kindle Fire and Apple’s own mini variant of the iPad.
Excerpt: Besides Samsung, Acer is the only other company to release a Chromebook – though there’s speculation of Google releasing its own Chromebook . Acer didn’t bring much attention to itself with its first Chromebook, which simply wasn’t as good as Samsung’s, leaving it to languish. It appeared the end was near for Acer’s Chromebook line.
Pros: Good keyboard and touchpad, Attractive display, Snappy performance, Amazing value
Cons: Quiet, lackluster speakers, Poor battery life
Summary: The Acer C7 Chromebook has an extremely tempting price, but it's not the best Google-powered laptop out there. This machine does have some advantages over the latest Samsung Chromebook, including a roomier hard drive (320GB versus just 16GB), more and easier-to-access ports, and a slightly faster CPU. However, we would much rather own the Samsung Series 3 Chromebook. Not only does that system last more than 3 hours longer on a charge, it sports a much sleeker design.
Pros: Low price, Good port selection, 320GB hard drive plus 100GB of cloud storage
Cons: Very short battery life, Bland and relatively thick design
Summary: A year ago it was tough to recommend buying a Chromebook. With prices starting at $450, it was hard to explain why you’d buy a laptop that only runs a web browser when you could spend the same amount or less on a notebook with a more versatile operating system… and which could also run Chrome as an app.
Now that Chromebooks are available for under $250, the value proposition becomes a lot more clear.
Conclusion: That improvement, coupled with falling prices, means that Chromebooks are becoming more viable every day—and the $199 Acer is viable with a capital "V." Does the platform still have limitations? Absolutely. Is it a knockout blow to tablets? Absolutely not. Reading, to name just one task, will always be better on a portrait-mode tablet than on a landscape-mode laptop. But if you're even casually interested in Chrome OS, Acer is making it hard to resist the experiment.
Pros: Shockingly low price, Plenty of ports, 100GB of free Google Drive cloud storage for two years, Competent screen and keyboard
Cons: Netbooky design, Disappointing battery life, USB 2.0, not 3.0
Summary: The Acer C7 Chromebook is by far the most impressive and versatile Chrome OS computer we’ve tested, even if it’s not even the most powerful. At just £199, it’s seriously worth considering if all you’re after is a little netbook for browsing Amazon on the sofa in front of the telly, and sending the odd email. If Acer and Samsung can keep making these thinner and thinner, it’ll soon just be a toss up for customers between a Chromebook and a MacBook Air.