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on March 21, 2014
The refurbished Acer Chromebook C720-2802 is a good value at one hundred fifty dollars if you primarily plan to use it for web applications such as browsing, email, media, and so on, and aren't getting it for an intensive user who likes to keep 30 tabs open (think about more memory for them). It's a good match for children or other basic users, or as a second device. It's designed to be easy to setup, use and maintain.

The hardware is limited but adequate for the uses above, and better than most other Chromebooks. The upside of the hardware limitations is the long 8 hour battery life (as a laptop, or for displaying video about 6.5 hours).

This is a newer model (the C720 series was introduced in fall 2013) with a number of improvements from the older C710 series, including longer battery life and smaller size.

Other than being dinged for the bland design, it has gotten very positive reviews in late 2013 and early 2014. Look for the Endgadget C720 review page for links to a number of reviews. People like the trackpad.

PORTABLE AND SMALL: The compact size and light weight make it very portable. However, the screen size and keyboard size may be too small for some users, depending on their hand size and their eyesight. It's a 11.6" HD Widescreen LCD display (1366 x 768 resolution) with a matte coating. The keyboard is smaller and has less "travel" (up and down range of motion) than larger computers, but I found it easy to get used to and have no trouble typing on it.

This laptop measures 11.3" by 8" x 0.8" and weighs 2.76 pounds.

CHROMEBOOK: In case you don't know, a Chromebook is not a Windows or Mac computer. It's based on the Google Chrome suite, and the operating system is Chrome OS. This works fine if *all* the applications you need are on the web. But note that it will not run Skype (a Microsoft product), or let you install any other software (including drivers for mice or printers). So printing is somewhat cumbersome (depending on your setup) and not all USB drives and devices will work.

However, the Chrome OS and Chromebooks have some substantial advantages, besides the price: you don't have to buy any software or hardware; you don't have mess around with Windows for software updates, dealing with problems, etc.; virus protection is built in; and if you have issues with software you can easily re-load all the software with a "PowerWash."

FAST BOOT: Because this uses Chrome OS and a Solid State Drive, it boots very quickly - less than 10 seconds usually.

ACER: Acer is the fourth largest computer company in the world, after Lenovo, HP and Dell, and ahead of Asus. They also sell computers under the Gateway and Packard Bell brand names.

REFURBISHED: Computers sold as refurbished aren't new. Sometimes they've been repaired, sometimes they are just returns. Some may have cosmetic damage - but they should not have any functional issues. You do need to be prepared to return the item if there's a problem, so it may not be for everyone. But for most people, it's a way to get a great value on a laptop that will work as well as a new one. You'll forget it's refurbished.

90 DAY WARRANTY: As a refurbished computer, the warranty is only 90 days. Typically problems appear early on, and there aren't many moving parts in this computer. But the shorter coverage is one reason why this costs less.

2GB OF RAM, MAXIMUM: The maximum amount of memory that can be installed is the 2 GB that this ships with. That's enough for most web applications, but not enough for intensive applications like complex photo or video editing. It is fairly fast PC3-12800 DDR3 memory, though.

MODEST PROCESSOR: The Intel® Celeron® 2955U dual-core processor runs at 1.4GHz and has a CPU benchmark score of 1533. It's fine for the uses described above, but only comparable in processing power to the netbooks that were so popular a few years ago. However, it is a newer processor (released Fall 2013), so the Intel® HD graphics are improved and the newer Ultra Low Voltage processors extend the battery life. It's also a more capable processor than some other Chromebooks, which use tablet-quality processors.

LIMITED STORAGE SO USE THE CLOUD: The 16GB solid state drive won't hold many files; about 10GB of the space is free for your files. So plan on using the cloud and/or flash drives for your storage needs. There is a built in SD card reader as well.

USB 3.0: You may not think this matters to you, but it does. If you want to use flash drives, external hard drives or a memory card reader, USB 3.0 is far faster than USB 2.0. There's one USB 3.0 port and one USB 2.0 port on this laptop.

SOME NICE FEATURES: The C720-2802 includes the essential features - wifi, stereo speakers, a basic webcam - as well as as well as some nice features not found on all low price computers - Bluetooth 4.0 for wireless connections to a phone or speakers; and HDMI to connect video devices, displays or a TV. However, as with all of these tiny laptops, there is no optical drive (DVD).
88 comments|85 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I bought this to replace an aging laptop that I bought in 2004. The old laptop was slow, it ran hot, and it barely got over 2 hours of battery life.

I was skeptical of the Chromebook idea from the start. After all, what good *is* a device whose operating system is "just" a web browser, anyway?

Even though the Chromebook is a relatively recent thing, the idea of an operating system centered around the web is not. In fact, in the late 1990s, Netscape Communications Corporation (the predecessor of Mozilla) envisioned the exact same thing.

Microsoft, fearing what such an innovation could do to their stodgy, bloated, malware-riddled, and error-prone Windows operating system, developed Internet Explorer and made it an irremovable part of the "Windows experience".

Although support for the web was bolted onto Windows after-the-fact, and Microsoft products "just aren't engineered for security" (-Brian Valentine, senior vice-president in charge of Microsoft's Windows development, 2002), people used this awful system with the web, even though its bloat always requires expensive and incredibly powerful hardware, just to keep up with the poorly designed operating system.

Enter Chrome OS....

Chrome OS is an operating system designed by Google, from the ground up, and based on a stripped down GNU/Linux operating system. It is very lightweight, stable, free of malicious software, and it doesn't require fast and expensive hardware in order to run its apps, which are all based on the Google Chrome platform.

In Chrome OS, you have super fast web browsing, excellent extensions, support for video games, an office suite, etc. It really doesn't feel like "just a web browser", because it's not.

Who is Chrome OS for?

Google says "everyone", and that seems to be the case. I'm a techie, and I feel right at home in Chrome OS, and do not feel like I'm missing the functionality of my desktop PC for most tasks.

But, Chrome OS is also the easiest operating system to use that I have ever seen. You literally just take it out of the box, turn it on, and sign in using your Google account. It's simple enough for your grandmother.

Best of all, since your apps, settings, preferences, and extensions are all stored in the cloud, the settings you already have for your Chrome browser on your computer are imported automatically. Anything you do on your Chromebook will just be there any time you sign in on any other Chromebook, or into any other Chrome web browser.

This Acer Chromebook has a very solid construction considering the price point. It doesn't feel like a cheap laptop at all. It is very thin and light. The battery life is 8-9 hours of normal use. The system boots in under 7 seconds, but there's really no need to turn it off. Just close the lid, and it goes into a deep sleep mode. The Haswell-based Celeron and 2 GB of RAM really packs a punch running Chrome OS. On Windows, this would be a bad experience, but Chrome OS is light and efficient. The Solid State Drive contributes greatly to the incredible battery life, the fast boot up, and the almost entirely silent operation. Chrome and its apps launch instantly.

The screen is fairly bright, and easy on the eyes.

The only learning curve for me with this laptop was getting used to the touchpad. I really recommend going over the "New user" guide that pops up the first time you sign in.

Although Google and Acer state that the "free goodies" (60 days of Google Music All Access, 100 GB of free Google Drive Cloud Storage for two years, and 12 in-flight GoGo internet passes) are not included on refurbished Chromebooks, I got lucky. When I visited the following link, Google gave me all of these perks.

[...]

All in all, I don't think you can ask more from this device at the $149.99 price from Acer's refurbishment outlet. I also put it on my Amazon.com Rewards Visa and got an additional 3% off, making it $145.49.

You're not going to get a Windows laptop anywhere near this price. The cheapest Windows laptops that do anything useful are nearly $400, and they get terrible battery life thanks to their sluggish hard disk drives, and run hot because the processor has to run at full speed all the time just to keep up with Windows, which is obese, and to run antivirus software that Chrome OS doesn't need, which slows down your Windows computer even more.
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on October 6, 2014
Buyer beware. The unit I purchased came set up in Russian and password protected. The Chromebook also had a hairline crack which gradually worsened over time. It did not appear that anyone spent any time evaluating the unit when it was turned in to Acer. I eventually got the Chromebook operational but eventually lost the screen. Unfortunately the warranty was expired so I was told that I was out of luck. I maybe got four hours of usage out of it. Basically, it was a complete waste of a purchase.
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on March 28, 2014
I bought this as a supplement to our desktop and regular windows laptop. My goal was to have a handy device that takes up less counter space than our full size laptop while allowing us to be immediately productive as needed - and could be a more compact yet functional travel device to supplement our tablets... Since 90 percent of everything we do, including managing a couple of online stores is done online, this is the perfect device. It has pushed us deeper into the cloud, but that's fine by me. And the increasing functionality of Google Drive and Chrome apps/extension, this is pretty functional device that is conveniently synced across all of our platforms. Some initial observations:

Pros:
Boots up FAST, instantly for all practical purposes
Long lasting battery
Cross platform syncing
No virus issues
Fast and responsive, no resource issues with the efficient chrome OS

Cons:
It's a bit flimsy - no doubt about that. But at $150, who cares? I know I got a great deal... and as a productive person, I believe that form should always follow function. That's why I am not an apple guy. Still, its slim and attractive.

Those are my initial thoughts after a few days... so far, I love this little thing. Perfect size, perfect power, perfect online functionality, adequate build quality, outstanding value.
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on April 29, 2014
I already own a refurb Samsung Chromebook and use it all the time, so, I got this for my Mom. Have to say it's probably even better than the Samsung. The page loading is better, most likely because of its better processor. The lid is a bit more difficult to start to open. Looked brand new when received, no scratches on exterior and so far haven't noticed faulty pixels in display, though, I haven't tested that. So far, this is performing better than expected and I consider it a bargain for less than I got my Samsung. I know some people say these Chromebooks aren't true laptops, but, unless you're a serious gamer, I'd say these are more than adequate. My Chromebook has become my main computing device.
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on October 24, 2014
Be careful if you order the refurbished model that goes on sale occasionally. Mine came with the enterprise version of the OS installed which requiring a password, other than your gmail account, to log in. There was little documentation and no information on what to do, so after hours of looking for an answer on-line, I tried Acer's website. There I finally found a link to "Request Unenrollment for Managed Device" which stated "A managed Chromebook is set up and maintained by a school or company. If you believe you've received a managed device in error and you are the owner, please fill out the form below." I filled out the form and submitted, after over a month I finally received an email from Google with instructions on how to fix this. Only took a couple of minutes to fix.

If you order one of these and get the same problem, here's Google's instructions on how to fix it. https://support.google.com/chrome/a/answer/1360642
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on June 27, 2014
See for yourself: [...]

The Celeron 2955U beats out the Celeron N2830. Sure, the new ARK processor is higher up in the ghz, and less power hungry than the 9255U, but all in all, it's a slower processor overall.

The "old" 9225U processor in this is screaming fast, launches applications like lightning, runs Ubuntu quickly if you choose to dual-boot with it, (which is easy to setup).

Sure, it may not get the extra hour of battery life, but the extra hour you get by waiting for applications and for new browser tabs to load with the new processor version, aren't really saving you time or energy.
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on May 24, 2014
My elementary school age son uses chromebooks at school, so I got him this one to use at home. We were using his regular PC to log into both his school and regular google accounts, but chrome delightfully synchronized all of his bookmarks from his regular account to his school account, and his teacher thought he was playing minecraft at school because it was in his bookmarks bar.

So a little separation of the two seemed like a good idea.

This chromebook has the latest intel cpu so its fast AND has long battery life. The ARM cpu based units have the battery life but not the speed, and models like the C710 have the older intel cpu with good speed, but short battery life. One thing the C710 has is some amount of upgrade potential but it requires a pretty heavy disassembly process. This unit can't really be upgraded.

Its thin, light, has a good enough screen and as long as you're okay with doing stuff in a chrome browser or with google apps, its a fully functional lightweight laptop. Besides school work, it also functions well enough as a lightweight home theater PC with the USB3 port for an external drive and the hdmi output for a tv. Wireless remote/mouse/keyboard or what have you, and you can stream netflix, hulu, amazon instant video and so on.
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on June 14, 2014
I love these. As soon as I got this one I ordered another, which is on loan to my mom in the hopes that she'll buy one. The other is being used as a nifty set top box. They work beautifully, play HD video just fine, they have wake on USB (slightly weedy), they'll run Ubuntu in a number of ways if coaxed... And the battery gives you about 8 hours as advertised, while actually doing things. No joke.

The keyboard is a bit weedy. The keys aren't in a layout I like, and feel a bit clunky. However, this is the only computer I've ever owned that came with a matte screen (it's wondeful), which would make up the entire loss instantly were I not a keyboarding fiend.

I can't really live day to day without a full Ubuntu environment; but I haven't actually tried to bring this up on one of these because I already found better things to use them for than as a day-to-day computer (which I did for just a bit using Crouton, but it wasn't perfect). I'll update this review if I ever actually have on to spare for my own personal use.
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on April 22, 2014
This chromebook is very sleek, light, and sturdy. A lot of people ask about chromebook vs windows. To put it in a nutshell chromebook is a trade-off of simplicity and low-maintenance for extra features that would probably be <10% of your use. The chromebook is light, affordable, can't get viruses, lasts 8 hours on battery, has automatic updates that take 30 seconds to install and restart, and there is basically nothing in the software your grandma could mess up or your family computer nerd could tune up, it just works. But its not a workstation computer, it can't run photoshop and you can't edit video or install world of warcraft, you just do everything through a web browser that looks and functions exactly like the Chrome browser would on windows, but with no windows behind it. Chromebook is ideal for a portable laptop you always want ready to go with no maintenance or headaches. Windows fans say why buy something with less features, but in my opinion simplicity has a lot to offer. A swiss army knife has a lot of features, and I have one somewhere at home, but I generally eat my steaks with a much simpler knife and even the fancy steakhouses that could afford to put a swiss army knife at every setting choose to value simplicity and not do so.
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