386 of 409 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2012
Update, December 2013: at this point, almost all users should get the Acer C720 Chromebook instead of any of the C710 models.
Update: In my opinion the right Acer C7 to buy is the Acer C710-2834. As of late September 2013 it may not be shipping for a few weeks from Amazon, so you might want to wait for the C720 instead! If you can't wait, consider the Acer C710-2833, which is available for $199 from other Best Buy and Newegg. Either the 2833 or the 2834 has a 16GB SSD instead of this model's 320GB slow spinning hard drive; that is an important and noticeable performance upgrade, at the cost of disk space which is simply not that important on a Chromebook for most users.
Executive summary: $199 is a great price. Chrome OS is quite an interesting and enjoyable computing environment which serves a wide range of needs (close to all of my family's computer use for sure). The Acer C7's performance is noticeably better than that of the $249 Samsung ARM Chromebook for certain things, notably 720p video and Flash games. Plus, the Acer can be opened up and upgraded, unlike the Samsung. Along with "cheaper" those are basically the only areas in which the Acer beats the Samsung, but those made my decision for me. The major flaws of the Acer C7 are the tiny hard-to-use cursor keys, and the downright horrible speakers; the major flaws of Chrome OS, for me, are local network file access and limited supported media formats. Those are significant problems, but for $199 they are not showstoppers.
I'm quite fond of my Acer C7 Chromebook. The overwhelming feature is the price. $199!
Chrome OS offers a zero-maintenance solution to having a second computer around for family members who essentially only need a web browser anyway. I've come to really enjoy using it. I enjoy knowing that I will never need to provide much tech support for it.
A potential buyer of the Acer C7 might also be considering the $249 Samsung ARM Chromebook. I think the Samsung Chromebook is substantially more beautiful, has no fan or spinning hard drive, and has a much better keyboard and speaker. However, it is underpowered. At Best Buy I was able to try them side by side. The Acer was able to handle 720p video from YouTube almost (though not quite) perfectly; on the Samsung dropped frames were much more noticeable. I also tried a Flash game, Bloons Tower Defense 5, which I've noticed is surprisingly stressful for my older laptops. It runs fine on the Acer C7, but is very choppy on the Samsung. Finally, it is easy (if potentially warranty-breaking) to expand the RAM on the Acer C7 up to 16GB (!), and even to replace the silly hard drive with an SSD. The Samsung ARM Chromebook is essentially impossible to upgrade. That, for me, was the clincher.
The Acer C7, though not actually ugly, is not a particularly pretty machine. The plastic around the display has a particularly cheap look-and-feel. The hinge at least feels strong. The display itself is reasonably nice, with a decent viewing angle. It's glossy.
I do not like the keyboard. I think overall it's not a great keyboard (especially compared to the Samsung ARM Chromebook which has a lovely pleasant-to-use keyboard). The really awful thing is the cursor keys, which are startlingly small and also scrunched up with the page up and down keys. It is really, really unpleasant to use the cursor keys on this keyboard. There are other oddities, if not real problems. The Enter key is oddly shaped for no apparent reason other than gratuitous ugliness. The keyboard has a Caps Lock key (usually replaced by Search on Chrome OS keyboards), and also a Fn key, the only purpose of which is to have a Wifi-Disable keypress Fn-F11 (did anyone really need that?) and to send function keys over Chrome Remote Desktop (I suppose someone might need that---but I regret having a whole key for it in prime territory). This keyboard puts the Chrome OS Search key down with the Control and Alt keys, which is unusual in Chrome OS devices, but it does work to my benefit as it sends Command to Macs over Chrome Remote Desktop. In case it helps anyone, right-Control also sends Command.
I like the Chrome OS keys for back, forward, refresh, full screen, and next window.
The touchpad is quite a bit more resistant to clicking than I would like. I use tap-to-click instead, but there's no tap-only variant of click-and-drag. (I want the 3-finger drag from Apple.)
I often use this Chromebook attached to an external display (and keyboard and mouse... think of it as a desktop replacement!). When I first posted this review I mentioned some issues with this configuration. A Chrome OS update in mid-February 2013 fully resolved these issues for me. The OS auto-update feature is delightful, by the way, automatic and non-intrusive.
With an external Mac keyboard, Command sends Control, which is great for someone whose hands are used to Mac key shortcuts.
The absolute worst thing about the Acer C7 is the speakers. They are bad. Really, really, bad. They're quiet and tinny and I can hardly stand to listen to them. I'm no audiophile, either---I think almost anyone who uses this machine will cringe a little bit at the sound quality. Was this really necessary to hit this price point? Be prepared to use headphones or external speakers. (And not Bluetooth external speakers... I'm told they are not supported in Chrome OS at all, and this machine doesn't have Bluetooth anyway.)
The fan is audible. Not awful, but this is no silent machine. I can't really tell which sounds are the fan and which are the spinning hard drive.
This Acer C7 model comes with a 320GB hard drive. The question here is... why? As far as I can tell the only filesystem access you get is your Downloads folder. Which the OS is allowed to clear at will to free up space! Chrome OS was designed for minimal local storage, and frankly I don't see how this space will ever be that useful. I suppose there's the "load it up with movies before the car trip" argument. I'll probably even do that myself when I go to visit my family this holiday season. But I'd prefer to have a silent, fast, tiny SSD for normal use, and bring my movies on an external hard drive. Update: This is now possible with the Acer C710-2833, which I recommend instead of this model, and which is also really available for $199 on Amazon.
I wish it had USB 3.0. Oh well. (Another point in favor of the Samsung ARM Chromebook, there.)
On to software. You can use the Web. You can get a terminal with Control-Alt-T and use ssh (but no real local shell). Chrome Remote Desktop is entirely usable. Google Cloud Print seems to work fine, for those of us who have an always-on computer around anyway. Offline Gmail and Google Docs are great if you sometimes lack internet access. Flash games work fine. Google Hangouts has a dumb name but is a fantastic videoconferencing product (the camera and microphone are fine).
While I'm on Chrome Remote Desktop: You'll want to right-click the app icon to get it to "open as window", because if it opens as a tab Chrome itself will consume keypresses like control-N and control-W instead of sending them to the remote host.
One thing that is lacking is the ability is access network file storage. We have an always-on computer filled with video and audio and I'd like to be able to access those files conveniently. What I've done that's workable is started an FTP server on that machine. But it's not a great interface, and each file has to be downloaded before playing, rather than being streamed. "Sneakernet" via USB drive works fine too of course. I think there is pay software, like TVersity, that will set up a media server for you with a nice HTTP interface, but I haven't tried it. And I wish this was built in.
Media playing is a mixed bag. This is irritating... why can't every computer just come with a player as nearly universal as VLC? I haven't had trouble with audio; it seems to play my various mp3, m4a, flac, and wav files just fine. Video is trickier. It seems to play mp4 files happily. It will play some avi files, but not others. Wmv files don't work. For the somewhat technically proficient: you can convert to Chromebook-playable MP4 using various products, like Handbrake or VLC, or the command-line tool ffmpeg: "ffmpeg -i file.avi -c copy file.mp4", "ffmpeg -i file.avi -qscale 5 -strict -2 file.mp4", and "ffmpeg -i file.wmv -qscale 2 file.mp4" are three simple sets of options I've found useful. Frankly having to learn about ffmpeg is, again, irritating; this should just work.
You can enter Developer Mode using a particular keystroke during bootup. This gives you a root shell which potentially allows all kinds of fun. It also wipes all storage in your "stateful partition", so don't do this after filling up your silly 320GB hard drive with things you want. The wiping also happens on leaving Developer Mode. Developer Mode also makes Netflix stop working. After playing with this for a bit I decided I didn't really need it. I like that it's there... the principle of the device being unlocked is pleasing to me. But in the end the clean, minimal, just-works built-in Chrome OS is essentially what I want from this machine.
Conclusion: At $500+ Chrome OS is an oddball. At $200 Chrome OS is a remarkable new paradigm in computing. It's pleasant to use, and for $200, the various hardware and software flaws aren't bad enough to give me much pause. In fact, for $200, if you're at all tempted, you might as well buy it and see for yourself. A reason to pause would be to consider the $250 Samsung ARM Chromebook, which has significantly better aesthetics and might be a better choice for some people. For me, the Acer C7's better performance for 720p video and Flash gaming, plus the ability to upgrade memory and hard drive, makes it the winner.
219 of 231 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2012
First of all, I didn't purchase this from Amazon, since the only sellers here are selling it at absurd prices, there are plenty of places selling it for the $199 price. Because of the low price, I wasn't sure what I was going to get. I was quite surprised to see that although it is hardly a premium build, it is quite attractive for the price. Basically, this is about a $300 machine (if it ran Windows) being sold for $199.
I am getting about 4 hours of battery life, which is more than I expected. Since unlike the Samsung unit the battery is removable, I am sure that extra batteries and batteries with a longer life will soon be available.
Compared to the Samsung model this unit costs about $50 less. What you give up is (a) battery life (but the Samsung battery is not removable); bluetooth, some weight and size, and you get a 320gb hard drive instead of the Samsung's 16gb ssd. What you gain is a slighty bigger keyboard, a slightly better screen, and the ability to play Netflix (since the Acer uses an Intel processor). Although there isn't too much use for a large drive in ChromeOS, it is a huge benefit if you want to install Ubuntu - which is easy to do on the Acer if you want a "real" OS on it along with ChromeOS. You can also easily expand the RAM and swap the hard drive out if you want, although it will void your warranty.
My big worry was that the hard drive would result in slow boot up times, but honestly this thing boots up from off in about 15 seconds and is extremely quick while surfing, so it hasn't been an issue.
What this thing is NOT is a Windows computer that will allow you to download programs like Office or iTunes. I am amazed at the number of people bitching about this when it is so easy to read and find out what ChromeOS is.
What this excels at is web surfing, not having to worry about viruses, and having automatic updates. WHen I use my Windows and Apple systems I seem to spend most of my time updating, worrying about viruses, etc. For the times when you are watching netflix, hulu or amazon video, catching up on emails, surfing, using goole+ hangout for video chats or doing light weight work with Goggle docs this Acer is quick, cheap and maintenance free. What more could you want for this price?
206 of 217 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2012
I researched the chromebook prior to my purchase and was worried that I had made a 200 dollar mistake. Many blog reviews mentioned the poor design or cheap materials. So I pictured this very ugly and flimsy laptop showing up. I opened the box and was delighted by what I found inside. I thought the Acer Chromebook really looked good. It passed the preverbal test of I would not be ashamed of being seen with the device. To me it seemed too many reviewers had taken the smallest things and made them seem like critical defects. In my opinion from an appearance perspective the Chrome book holds it own in the economy laptop world.
Performance on the Chromebook has been pretty good. The battery life seems low with only 3.5 to 4 hours. I cant stress enough that it is a different world working with a Chromebook. Not a bad world - just a different world. I really like the simplicity of the device. I was not a big google product user so that has been the biggest part of the learning curve. After two weeks I have found that I am really learning to let go of a Windows universe. Life after Windows has been refreshing.
I picked the Acer due to the cost and tasks i typically use my iPad for. For example, I wanted to watch Netflix and other video streaming and the other Chromebook with the SSD seems to be unable to do that at this time.
Some reviews have mentioned the fan noise but I have not had any issues with that. It does turn on but it is not a distraction. I think much of the really detailed criticism is more for people who are very refined in what they expect for a laptop. For 200 dollars this is a great machine to surf the net, watch movies, do social media, and do homework on. It has build in virus protection and no other software is needed. The apps/ browser extensions allow for a great deal of variety in how you use the device. Add a ten dollar wireless mouse and this little machine is good for a casual evening of digital consumption or the typical homework assignment.
I would buy it again.
105 of 110 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2013
First off, I gotta get it out there... I am absolutely IN LOVE with this thing! I have been a Googlephile since joining Gmail in 2005, so obviously this is right up my alley. But you don't have to use all the Google services to appreciate this revolutionary piece of machine.
Anyone thinking about switching to the Chrome OS needs to know what it can and can not do. In a nutshell, if you can do it with a web browser in Windows, you can do it here. There are a few rare exceptions, but those are disappearing. If you are willing to rethink how you do things, I've found that the Chromebook can do about anything you would want to do. I am a heavy computer user, fix PCs for a living, and I have not once had to use my Windows 7 desktop since purchasing this Chromebook on 12/21/2012.
Now you won't be able to use a lot of peripheral devices with it, but most of the standards work. Keyboards, mice and external storage devices will work fine. Things like cameras, phones, etc will not (though they will still work for charging of course). This does not mean you can't accomplish your task though. The Chromebooks still have SD card slots, so for something like a camera, rather than plugging the camera in to dump pictures, you just take the SD card out and plug that in. Same task done, just in a different way. It also will not interface directly with printers, but with Google Cloud Print, that's not a problem, and you'll still be able to print from it just fine.
As far as this particular Chromebook, I don't have much to say or to compare against other models. This review is mostly about the Chrome OS itself, which is certainly the shining feature.
As someone who spends most of his days cleaning up viruses, re-installing software, etc, the Chrome OS is a HUGE breath of fresh air. It simply works exactly how it is supposed to, and it works the same every single time. I haven't had to install a single bit of software or wait for a single update. All the software you need comes from the cloud through the browser, and all the updates are done silently in the background, and at MOST will make your boot up take an extra 30 seconds. I have not once had to restart the Chromebook because of an odd glitch, though that's not to say it's impossible. Just hasn't happened to me at all through a month and half of heavy use. My Windows machine surely would of done it many times in that month and a half.
The other really great thing about living a cloud-based computing life is never worrying about losing your stuff. Services like Google Docs are constantly saving your work in the cloud. I can in theory (and have once just for fun) stop in the middle of working, go sign into my sister's Chromebook and pick right up where I left off. Fantastic. Gone are the days of losing everything you've done simply because your computer died.
The Chrome OS is also GREAT for people who share a computer. All information is kept private between accounts, unlike Windows where some security exists, but most files are still open for everyone by default. Someone could use my Chromebook to look at all sorts of awful things, and I would never know. The guest mode is also great for the security minded. Anyone who's ever owned a laptop knows that people are CONSTANTLY asking "Hey can I use your laptop real quick? I gotta check XYZ". Well in the Chrome OS, they can just use the Guest account so that they will not mess up any of your stuff, and unlike Windows' guest mode, Chrome OS will delete everything the guest downloaded/viewed as soon as they log out. It's a beautiful thing.
I feel like I could keep going on and on about how much I love this thing, but I bet hardly anyone will read it, so I won't bother. So, on to the wrap up... Oh and did I mention, like everyone else has, just how quickly this thing boots?! Less than 20 seconds. Jesus...
The Chrome OS is not for everyone, but actually it pretty much is. And it is constantly getting better and adding even more features. If you're ready to give up all the frustrations you normally have with a computer, and want to spend your computer time actually DOING stuff rather than working to keep the thing running, then get a Chromebook. If you just spent 10 minutes waiting for your computer to boot up because it had 20 updates to install, and it sent you into a fit of rage, get a Chromebook. If you're tired of paying $50 a year for virus protection that slows things way down and ultimately still lets a virus through, get a Chromebook. If you simply want to be cool like me, then get a Chromebook.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2013
I got the Acer C7 almost a week ago and I have barely put it down! This is an amazing machine, it does absolutely everything I want and it was two hundred dollars. How can you beat that? Since receiving my Chromebook I have touched my iPad a total of one time, and that was just to get music and movies off of it. It is comparable in weight to the iPad and it has a bigger screen. I haven't noticed any issues with the battery life. It lasts upwards of four hours. And honestly it's rare (for me at least) to be using it for that long without being near a power source. I have been able to find web apps for everything I need or want. I am a student so I do writing, research, web browsing all that fun stuff and this takes it all in stride. I love the three hundred and twenty gigs of memory. I am very comfortable with the cloud, but it's nice to actually have some music and such on your device. I read reviews of the fan being loud, or the vent blowing out really hot air, I have experienced none of that. If the room is silent I can here the fan, but if there is any other noise it is silent. The air is warm not hot. The keyboard is great. The trackpad was just a tiny bit sluggish for my taste, but as soon as I turned up the speed in the settings it was perfect.
This is a great device. If you are considering this device I highly recommend it.
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2012
I bought this Acer C7 Chromebook in November for $199.00, so please don't pay more then that for this device. I am having fun playing around with my chromebook and I am loving it alot, but you also get what you paid for. The pixel resolution is adequate but not impressively bright in color and richness. It'S good enough for web browsing and basic apps but pictures and movies don't look all that impressive. I bought two games from the app store, but they downloaded so choppily I don't even play them. However I have downloaded tons of movies and they show pretty ok. The chromes web store sell apps, but they really web apps, some of them helps you with some offline coaching for some functions on the chromebook. The speaker convey fair enough volume. The webcam is good enough for skype and basic google hangouts video chat, which is easy to initate from with in G mail. The touch pad works well with one finger navigation, but for two finger scrolling or multifinger not so good. I find that the tap and drag moves were also hard to pull of consistently. The keyboard is raised island style with chiclet keys but typing feels comfortable. The only different with the chrome keyboard is that the search key marked with a magnifying glass icon is installed between the ALT and FN keys, but the function buttons all work directly to raise and lower volume or change screen brightness, a nice plus. The battery life suck's on this it last for about 2 hours and half.
The Acer C7 Chromebook comes with a 320gb internal storage hard drive, Wi-Fi,HDMI, Sd card slot for additional storage flexibility. There are three USB 2.0 ports, and all your other basic ports into a very portable gadget that can surf the web. You can take it with you on the go and work online, also check your email, skype, play games and even edit some document. It comes with a Ethernet jack and even VGA, but bluetooth isn't included.
The Good: . Very affordable plenty of ports and a large hard drive. . It boots up quickly and is simple use. . Small enough to put in your purse and AC charger plug is pretty small to.
The Bad: . Biggest drawback is the battery life. . Ugly design . Finicky touch pad.
I give it a 5 stars because I thinks it's serve it purpose and it is right for the price. I recommend this for anybody who want to surf the web, play online games, checking email and nonthing to major and heavy.
64 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2013
I purchased my first Chromebook shortly after it was introduced in October 2012. This device was perfect for my needs which were mostly checking my email and surfing the web. I loved the look and feel of it, ease of use, and battery life, but after five days the case heated up and the thing was dead. I tried charging the battery but that didn't revive it and it was useless. I returned it and got a replacement a few weeks later as they were back-ordered at the time. The next one lasted almost two weeks before it went blue screen and unresponsive. I returned this one as well but requested a refund instead of another replacement. I don't know if I just had bad luck or the company is having some quality control issues trying to crank them out so quickly. I'm going to wait and see what kind of track record this device has with other users before purchasing another.
54 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2012
This is a fantastic little unit. Bought this back in November. For 199.00 you can't beat it. It's like an 11" tablet without the touch screen but with a keyboard, which I prefer simply because all the fingerprints on a touchscreen get to be annoying after a while.
I'm surprised at the price gouging. You shouldn't pay more than $199.00 for this little gem. You can also get it NOW for $199.00 from Googles Play store.
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2013
So I went to the store to try out this machine and the Samsung one. Lucky for me, both of them were on display side by side.
Price didn't matter to me, so I had both of them on hold.
Right off the bat, the battery life on this is pretty weak. 3 hrs vs 6 hrs on the Samsung one.
But other than that, this machine beats the Samsung one in my book. Please, go to the store and test them out yourself. The sound volume in both is identical, the weight is just a few ounces more, barely notice any difference, but the screen on this thing is what sold me. Clear, Vivid colors, as compared to the Samsung one that has washed out, pale colors.
With the best buy associate, we played the same video on both and the clarity on this one blew the Samsung away. And this one looks so much better than the Samsung one. Not cheap looking AT ALL! Au contraire, I like the look of this way better; and I'm one of those gals that's into fashion, and beautiful items. I dress men as well as I dress women. And I have no problem shelling out the money for something that's worth it for me. I mean I first bought the Asus Transformer Prime ($600) when it came out, tried the IPAD, the Touchpad, etc, then realized that tablets are not for me.
I mean if they're supposed to be smaller, lighter versions of laptops, then they should do everything that laptops do, at least internet wise. But they don't. Skimmed web pages, extra bucks for extra keyboard and mouse, some websites not working properly on those OS, etc.
So I figured; everywhere now you can find a power outlet. Even in bathrooms. So what the heck? Most movies I watch are not that long, and I never surf the net for 3 hours straight. So this thing has been staying charged for 3 days easily. Close the lid, and it goes to power saving mode automatically. Come back, and it starts right where you left off.
And at $200 at BB, SOLD!
If I had just gone by the pseudo "expert" reviews online, I would have gotten the Samsung on Ebay for over $300.
Yesterday, I downloaded Ubuntu on my Acer C7, and lord it even got better! Now I have Bluetooth, and the sound has gone up twice as high as just using the Chrome OS. Unbelievable!
I have office suites already there, can work on pictures and download Linux compatible programs; And I can switch from Ubuntu to Chrome OS within 2 mins, without having to "root" or break my warranty. But why would I switch back to Chrome OS? I can use the Chrome browser within Ubuntu. I lost no speed, no battery power, NOTHING.
I have to talk about the sound again, because I almost got speakers for this thing. After I installed Ubuntu on it, I was blown away.
So go on youtube, there's a simple step by step guide to download Ubuntu. The whole thing took less than an hour and was simple and straightforward.
PS: This Acer C7 is also 40% faster than the Samsung one, in all tests around the net. You can also increase the Ram on this one, not on the Samsung.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2013
I'm not going to lie, i was skeptical about getting this item . However after doing some research i found that this might just be what i'm looking for, portable, decent battery (better than my heavy duty computer). You see i needed something i could take to work with me so i could do some work on the train since i have almost a two hour commute. My current Laptop was just not cutting it and well i found this little thing. While this might not be the top of the line netbook, it is a pretty decent one for the price, not to mention there is some room for upgrades, and Chrome OS is not that bad, and if you don't like it then you can always install Ubuntu Linux, something i did from the start, just because i needed some tools that were just not available on Chrome OS, mainly developer tools. One thing i've seen is that most people can't seem to install Linux, so a quick suggestion, just go to youtube and search "install ubuntu on Acer c7 Chromebook" you will find some good tutorials and simple ones.
Now for the Pros and Cons
-Decent Battery Life up to 5 hours depending on what you are doing (not as much as i wanted but it will do the job)
-the only Chromebook with a specious HD of 320 GB
-2GB of DDR3 but I've heard you can upgrade it to 4GB66X and DDR3 is dirt cheap
-decent Video card so any videos you watch don't lag
-Love how they spaced out the keys on the keyboard, i can actually type!
-hardly gets hot, runs pretty cool
-Battery life, again can run up to 5 hours however i would have loved more
-Touchpad, not sure if its mine only but it sometimes lags.
-Wifi, again not sure if ts just me but i seem to have an issue connecting to my phone's hotspot unless its unprotected.
So for 200 bucks you can't beat the price, but just keep i mind that Chrome OS is more of a cloud OS. This is a great computer to take with you on the go and browse the net, watch a few videos, chat and some some word processing. Or if your like me, a developer then its great write some code and use shell. If you don't like the OS then you can always install Ubuntu plus you have the generous 320 GB of had disk space.
I hope this helps people who are not sure about this computer.