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Acer unveils new Chromebook, convertible and ultrathin notebooks

The company held a live event in New York this morning.
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Acer's newest notebooks come in a few styles: the Chromebook 14 for Work (pictured above) , S 13 ultrathin notebook and the R 15 convertible. Plus, Acer has updated three of its consumer models and one commercial brand. The Chromebook 14 for Work features a sturdy Gorilla Glass case, spill-resistant keyboard and 12 hours of battery life.

Gallery: Acer E series notebooks in new colors | 10 Photos

Don't let the name fool you either: This isn't just a rebrand of the existing Chromebook 14. Acer has cooked up what might be the most powerful Chromebook out there. The most modest configuration ($349) packs Celeron processor, but new options include a Skylake Core i3 or i5 and up to 8GB of RAM. Even graphical performance can be upgraded to one of Intel's HD Graphics 520 GPUs, which means there's a whole lot of power in a small package. Indeed, the 14 for Work was surprisingly snappy as we fired up web apps and scrolled down Engadget.com. Weighing in at just under 3.5lbs, it's sturdy than you'd think too -- it's built to withstand those workplace tumbles (though no one dared dropped it in front of company reps).

The Aspire S 13 ultrathin weighs 3.13 pounds, features 6th Generation Core processors and a full HD IPS display with the option for touch functionality. Prices start at $599 for a Core i5 model with 4GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD -- not bad, but even at this early stage, we're comfortable saying you should go with the touch-friendly model. Using the matte touchscreen can feel a little odd if you're used to typically glossy screens, but we much preferred the tactile experience. Alas, we didn't get to spend too much time with the S 13, but the performance we did see was promising. It about what you'd expect from an event demo; that is to say, things ran very smoothly since the hardware hasn't been slowed down by weeks of software cruft piling up. If we're lucky, the final units will perform just as well (or better, since we're never really satisfied).

Meanwhile, the R 15 is an ultrathin convertible and its most tricked-out model includes 6th Generation Core processors, 12GB DDR4 memory, NVIDIA GeForce 940MX graphics and a 15.6-inch FHD IPS display.

Gallery: Acer Aspire R 15 and S 13 press shots | 17 Photos

Acer's updated consumer notebooks include the F 15, which now features metal covers in five colors. The E 14, 15 and 17 has been updated with seven new colors, while the ES 15 received an update with the latest 6th Generation Intel Core processors and three fresh colors.

Gallery: Acer F series notebooks in new colors | 7 Photos

Acer also announced the Switch Alpha 12, a silent, liquid-cooled laptop, during its live event in New York today.

Update: We added hands-on images of the Chromebook 14 for Work, Aspire S 13 and the F Series.

Gallery: A closer look at Acer's new notebooks | 32 Photos

Edgar Alvarez and Chris Velazco contributed to this report.

Jessica earned her BA in journalism from ASU's Walter Cronkite School in 2011, and she's written for online outlets since 2008, with four years as senior reporter at Joystiq. She specializes in covering independent video games and esports, and she strives to tell human stories within the broader tech industry. Jessica is also a sci-fi novelist with a completed manuscript floating through the mysterious ether of potential publishers.

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