Acer C720 review (Core i3): a more powerful Chromebook
As the first Chromebook with a Core i3 processor, the Acer C720 offers modest performance gains over its rivals, along with equally long battery life. You might want to wait and see if other laptop makers come out with something a little better designed -- perhaps with a nicer screen. Even so, at this price, the C720 remains a good value in its own right.
- Core i3 processor offers modest, but noticeable performance gains
- Battery life keeps pace with lower-powered models
- Generally a good value, especially considering the price
- Screen has poor viewing angles
- Generally cheap build quality, including a shallow keyboard
- Only Acer's lower-end Chromebook is offered with a touchscreen
Whether rightly or wrongly, Chromebooks have earned a reputation for being the new netbooks. Slowly, though, things are starting to change. The designs are starting to feel less cheap -- at least if you're Samsung. Battery life is getting longer, sometimes even better than on full-fledged laptops. And now, performance is getting stronger, too: Acer just became the first company to release a Chromebook with a Core i3 processor, one that can better withstand multitasking, gaming and whatever rich websites you're likely to visit. The C720, as it's called, is actually the same 11-inch Chromebook Acer's already been selling, just with a beefier CPU inside, and theoretically longer battery life -- 8.5 hours, up from 7.5. As ever, though, Acer kept the price down: This guy starts at just $350, just a little more than what you'd pay for a much lower-powered system from some other brands. The question is: Does processing power trump everything else? And if it does, are you better off waiting for other Core i3 models to come out?