CNET First Look
Acer C7 Chromebook: cheap, but not that greatWe take another look at Acer's $229 C7 Chromebook, and realize it's more like a Netbook fitted with Chrome than a slick, affordable laptop-killer.
Hey, I'm Scott Stein. And back to school time is pretty much upon us and we're entering the holidays and you wanna get a bargain and you look in a circular and you see a laptop that's $199 and it sounds tempting. What is it? Well, it just might be a Chromebook, because Chromebooks running Google's Chrome OS are gaining in number. And a lot of people find them pretty useful for pretty barebones experience that's web-based and provides a lot of stuff that a laptop might give you in a lower price point. The question is why aren't these Chromebook's better looking and performing? And I'm gonna leverage that onto the Acer C7. The Acer C7 has been around since last year. Now, this Chromebook is $199 or $229 depending on the tiny spec bump you get inside, whether you get 2 gigs of RAM, a Celeron processor and 16 gig SSD or either you go up to 4 gigs of RAM at $229. This model is the $229. Now, keep in mind that's pretty much exactly the same price as the new Nexus 7, that little 7-inch Android tablet that's pretty slick. Why would you get this versus that? Well, of course, this has keyboard. This has a track pad. They runs full web-environment style apps. So, maybe if you wanna use Google docs and not feel like you're being truly hampered. This might give a better experience for that. But, Chrome-- well, it's made advances as somehow really great for offline that's really meant to be used online. And the battery life on this is still not great. This is about maybe 4 hours of battery. Now, a lot of tablets now were getting 10-11 hours, I mean, you should be expecting 10 hours of battery life. This doesn't cut it, although, it does come pack with ports that seem like they've come from another time period. You've got USB 2. You've got full Ethernet. You've got VGA on the side-- that's because this thing is actually pretty much a netbook. This has been a retrofitted netbook through and through that has been purposed to run Chrome OS. And I think it's time that we had models and designs that fit Chrome OS or flagship Nexus-style devices. And you got the Chromebook pixel but that is $1,200 plus. Runs beautifully but it's way too expensive. And what about the $300 price area? Why is it there's something like the Nexus 7 for Chromebooks? It's not here yet, and pretty much on the Google Play Store, your options might be the Acer C7 at the moment or the Samsung Chromebook for $250. They're pretty similarly specked out. I might lean towards the Samsung one because of the battery life might be a tiny bit better and the design feels a little more comfortable. Because of this track pad and keyboard and kind of sub-part display and speakers, you're not gonna have a lot of fun using this unless you're just using it to write e-mails and documents. But if you really, really want a barebones, Chromebook netbook- type experience that might kinda hold you back, go for it just before it worn. I'm Scott Stein and that's a look at the Acer C7 once again with 16 gig SSD. Last year we looked at the one with the 320 gig hard drive. Happy shopping.