Acer C7 Chromebook review: It's time for Chrome to get better Chromebooks
27 February 2013
Summary: If you want one of the least expensive Web-browsing devices that feels like a laptop but is really a Chromebook, the Acer C7 is fine. But its limitations match its price.
Pros: The Acer C710-2457 is the least expensive Chromebook on the Google Play store, and comes with a set of base features competitive with Samsung’s $250 Chromebook.
Cons: Cheap-feeling Netbook-like construction, small touch pad, limited battery life, and unimpressive display and speakers; plus, Chrome OS is inherently limiting for offline use so this isn't as versatile as a traditional PC. Meager 16GB of onboard SSD storage.
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.
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
Excerpt: A $200 laptop is a difficult thing to assess. On one hand, the Acer C7 Chromebook has that shockingly low price tag, on the other, there is weak build quality and a netbook-grade processor. The trade-offs the buyer must be willing to make are not trivial. And that’s before we acknowledge that the Acer C7 runs Chrome OS rather than Windows.
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.
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: Since the Chromebook was delivered I have not picked up my laptop or netbook. Light and portable, easy to use and stable, the Acer C7 has become a firm favourite and I shall be sad to see it go. That is not to say it isn’t without its issues and it certainly isn’t perfect. The keyboard would be a pain for a new user and the Enter key is just plain annoying.