CNET First Look
Acer Chromebook C720P throws in touch for under $300Solid battery life, an SD card slot, a good keyboard and a touchscreen: hey, this Acer Chromebook's not so bad at all. In fact, it's probably the best Chromebook we've ever seen.
Hi. I'm Scott Stein and I am a Chromebook acceptor. This is a new thing for me. But, you know, Chromebook's have been out there for a while, and their value proposition really depends on whether you believe that computers are transforming into more tablety mobile devices. You don't have to power use quite the same way, it's more about web browsing, and Chrome OS is really just a very smart web browser that has additional features that work offline plus it runs apps, but those apps are basically also like web pages. They're not really downloaded. And so, it's really kind of like a very smart browser. It all comes down to the price and the features. Well, the Acer Chromebook C720P is probably my favorite Chromebook that I've seen. Why? Well, it has a touchscreen right here. And do you need a touchscreen on a Chromebook? What would the point of that be? Well, there're only been a few Chromebooks that even have touchscreens. The Chromebook Pixel, which is over a thousand dollars, was the prime example. But usually, a lot of these have been like Netbooks, really low-end processors, basic onboard storage, doesn't really do much, and cost about $200ish in that range, about what you would pay for a Netbook in the past. And why would you do that if the battery life and the performance weren't enough to par? Well, the C720P had about 6 hours of battery life in our test which is good and what you would expect. It also has 34 gigs of onboard storage which is double what you previously got which was about 16. Plus, this has got all the ports you're looking for. It's got USB 2, USB 3. It also has HDMI and it has an SD card slot. The SD card slot is what it's all about because you can pop in one, and for not a lot of money, you can expand your storage. Not that you'd necessarily need it much because Google Drive is getting much better at cloud storage management, and you get 100 gigs for 2 years with the purchase of this. And it's really easy to find cheap cloud storage now in a lot of places. So, you can use Google Drive and it feels like a natural extension of your onboard storage. But that brings up the point that a Chromebook still is best used when connected online. It's got 802.11 and Wi-Fi, but, you know, there are times you may not be online. This cashes for offline use, but I wouldn't trust that in the same way that I would with a tablet or with an offline laptop. But if you're looking for something, this is $299 with the touchscreen. You know, you are selling that price that can be a household laptop like device that allows you to basically do everything you'd wanna do and have touch for when you need it maybe for apps, maybe just 'cause you like the feeling of browsing like that for future evolving in Chrome and you're not paying up too much for it, that's why I like the 720P. It's not a game changer, but it's probably the best full-featured Chromebook that feels good to type on that I've seen. I'm Scott Stein and that's the Acer C720P Chromebook, pretty good value pick and a relatively full- featured Chromebook.