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Review : Acer Chromebook 13

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Flip open a Chromebook, log in with your Google credentials and you can start working within seconds.

For those whose need to create and edit documents online, this terminal or kiosk-like experience is good enough.

 

Here is what else you can do on a Chromebook: Watch YouTube videos, listen to music on Spotify and play casual games, which are often the same as those found on smartphones and tablets.

Best of all, these laptops, which run on Google's snappy Chrome operating system, require little maintenance. Updates are pushed automatically to the Chromebook. Simply restart the device to apply them. Malware finds little joy here because of the locked-down nature of these devices as they do not run on Windows.

However, you can hardly find Chromebooks in Singapore.

Take the new Acer Chromebook 13. The Taiwanese PC vendor said it plans to introduce them first to enterprise users to gauge market demand. In short, this laptop may not even make it to retail stores.

Not that you are likely to notice it even if it is on display. Except for the small Chrome logo at the corner of its lid, the Acer Chromebook 13 looks like any other laptop.

Acer has gone for a minimalist design to match the laptop's matte white finish. However, it lacks the playfulness of the HP Chromebook 11, which also comes in white.

This Acer Chromebook looks good and feels sturdy and well-made, despite the relatively inexpensive price tag.

Sadly, the same cannot be said of the 13-inch screen, which looks cheap. It has poor viewing angles and looks washed out. It is what you would expect of a budget laptop. Some Chromebooks come with touchscreens, but not this Acer.

Reinforcing the impression that this laptop is more for work than play, its keyboard is excellent, with plenty of key travel. Too bad it lacks backlighting. The touchpad is responsive and works well with Chrome OS' two-finger gestures.

This laptop comes with 32GB of onboard storage, although Google includes 100GB of free Google Drive cloud storage for two years with each purchase of a Chromebook.

At the heart of this laptop is Nvidia's Tegra K1 chip. Tech-savvy readers may recognise this as the same mobile processor found in the Xiaomi Mi Pad tablet.

Unsurprisingly, given its lineage, the battery life is rated at 13 hours. In our battery life test, which involves looping a video at maximum screen brightness and volume, the Acer Chromebook lasted 9hr 15 min. This is on a par with the best tablets on the market.

  • Acer’s new Chromebook has excellent battery life, but a mediocre screen. It is perfect for students and users looking for a basic computer.

TECH SPECS

Price: $699

Processor: Nvidia Tegra K1

Graphics: Nvidia Tegra K1

RAM: 4GB

Screen size: 13.3 inches, 1,366 x 768 pixels

Connectivity: 2 x USB 3.0, HDMI, SD card slot, headphone and microphone combo jack

Battery: 48 watt-hour


RATING

Features: 3/5

Design: 4/5

Performance: 3/5

Value for money: 3/5

Battery life: 5/5

Overall: 4/5

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