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12-03-12, 05:50 AM
http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/C7-Chromebook-640x426.jpg Acer's C7 Chromebook isn't the best computer we've ever used, but it's inexpensive enough to be worth a second look.
Andrew Cunningham


Specs at a glance: Acer C7 ChromebookScreen1366√?768 at 11.6" (135 ppi)OSChrome OSCPU1.1GHz dual-core Intel Celeron 847RAM2GB 1333MHz DDR3 (two slots, officially upgradeable to 8GB)GPUIntel HD Graphics (integrated)HDD320GB 5400RPM hard driveNetworkingDual-band 802.11nPorts3x USB 2.0, VGA, HDMI, 100 megabit Ethernet, card reader, headphonesSize11.22 √? 7.95 √? 1.08"¬*(285 x 202 x 27.35 mm)Weight3.0 lbs (1.38 kg)Battery4-cell 37Wh Li-polymerWarranty1 yearPrice$199.99Other perksWebcam, Kensington lock slot, 100GB of Google Drive storage for two yearsI have two big problems with Chrome OS and Chromebooks as a product category. The first is I think that Chrome OS, while an interesting experiment, is limited by its very nature to a narrow set of use cases (mostly individuals and small businesses who rely overwhelmingly on Google and Google Apps for most of their work). The second problem is price: given how little Chrome OS does, the computers running it have typically been a bit too expensive compared to budget Windows laptops.

Samsung's ARM-based Chromebook (http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/11/review-samsungs-new-arm-chromebook-gets-by-without-intel-inside/) helped to address the second point by offering a relatively decent laptop for $249, a much more reasonable price than the $449 Series 550 Chromebook introduced earlier this year. Now Acer has limboed even lower, offering its new Intel-powered C7 Chromebook for just $199. There's no question this laptop, which is simply a rebranding of its $329 Windows-running Aspire One¬*AO756-2641 (http://us.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/model/NU.SH3AA.001), is being sold at an appealing price. But are the trade-offs inherent to any laptop this cheap worth making?

Body and build quality

This Chromebook is priced at $199, but the build quality is reasonable, definitely not as bad as some $199 and $299 netbooks released over the last few years. It's a bit chunkier than Samsung's ARM Chromebook; it's 1.08 inches thick, up from about 0.66 inches, and weighs three pounds rather than the ARM Chromebook's 2.4 pounds.


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