Computers running Google’s Chrome OS might not have the same power user appeal as Windows and macOS computers, but they’re inexpensive and can run much more modest hardware. However, they also tend to look and feel cheaper. If you want a “nice” Chromebook, you have to drop $1,000 on the Pixelbook, which is a tough sell. The newly announced Acer Chromebook family has four options. There are 13 and 15-inch variants, and each is available as a regular laptop and a “Spin” version with a 360-degree hinge. These might be just what the premium midrange needs.
Acer was an early supporter of Chrome OS, making some of the most reliable budget laptops running Google’s cloud operating system. Last year’s Acer R13 was one of the finest Chromebooks you could get, but the new models (See on Amazon) look even better. Despite its small size, the 13-inch variants appear to be Acer’s flagship models.
The two 13 (above) and two 15-inch models (below) share similar specs, so it’s mostly the 2-in-1 capability that differentiates them. The Chromebook 13 is a traditional laptop form factor running a Celeron N3350 CPU, and the Chromebook Spin 13 adds a 360-degree hinge so you can use the device in tablet or tent mode. The 13.5-inch display (in touch or non-touch depending on model) has a 3:2 ratio like the Pixelbook, and the resolution is an impressive 2256×1504. These devices start at $399 with the Spin variant adding $100 to the price. The 13-inch versions should get around 10 hours of battery life.
The Chromebook Spin 13 also supports Wacom stylus input. There’s even a slot in the laptop where you can store the pen when not in use. This feature isn’t available in the 15-inch Chromebooks.
The new 15-inch Chromebooks have a larger 15.6-inch display, but they’re standard 1920×1080 panels. Still, the Spin 15 is now the largest convertible Chromebook on the market. These devices also come with more configuration options; you can get a cheaper Celeron 3865U CPU or go all out with the Intel Core i5-8250U. The Chromebook 15 starts a little less expensive than the 13-inch model at $349. The Spin adds another $100 to the price. This one is rated for 14-15 hours of battery life.
All the new Chromebooks have metal chassis that make them more sturdy and aesthetically classy. That’s a nice change from other $400 computers that use clunky plastic frames. The base model Chromebook 13 and 15 should land in the US later this month. The Spin variants will come a bit later.
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