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Customer Review

1,087 of 1,149 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing combination of price and experience., December 26, 2013
By 
This review is from: Acer C720 Chromebook (11.6-Inch, 2GB) **Discontinued by Manufacturer** (Personal Computers)
I got my first Chromebook about six months ago, it was Samsung series 3 with an ARM processor. Initially it meant to serve me as a second laptop for occasional light work online, but very soon I realized that I was using it most of the time. My powerful Windows laptop and Mac mini were just sitting there collecting dust, getting my attention only once a week at best. I replaced my Samsung with Acer C720 2 GB RAM version two weeks ago.
Here's a quick breakdown.
- C720 has a slightly better screen than Samsung. Same washed out colors, but contrast and viewing angles are better, and so is brightness level. If you are spoiled by the screens of modern tablets, you might think that 1366x768 resolution would look unattractive. That's not quite right. I should remind you that MacBook Air 11 screen has the same resolution and the same size. It's just enough to do what it's designed to do.
- The keyboard layout of C720 may not be as good as Samsung's, but I like Acer's feel and key movement better. Unless you have very large hands, it might provide one of the best typing experiences in the price range below $300, and it's definitely better than most Windows laptops for that price. I write quite a lot and C720's keyboard didn't cause any significant discomfort so far. Touchpad is reasonably good, but nothing to be overexcited about. I only wish it was a bit larger.
- C720 is WAY faster than Samsung. Don't be deceived by the name of the processor - this Celeron unit from the Haswell family has more processing power than Chrome OS requires. And 2 GB of RAM should be absolutely enough for anyone, who normally doesn't keep over a dozen tabs running heavy websites simultaneously. The fan would kick in from time to time, but it's very quiet and is never annoying. Boot time is typically impressive for Chrome OS devices and takes around 7 seconds.
- Battery life is one of the sweetest spots of this laptop. To get promised 8.5 hours you don't have to keep the screen brightness at 50% all the time (as you would do with the Samsung to get 6.5 hours). I don't carry the charger with me and never managed to make it run out of juice. In fact, sometimes I would even give some boost to my phone's battery from C720 without worrying that it may die unexpectedly. Also, the battery charges pretty quickly.
- Speakers of C720 are louder than Samsung's, but they don't sound much better - they shoot down at the table (or your lap) and don't really promise anything. But plug in headphones or external speakers and you'll get some decent sound quality for a low budget device.
- The Web Camera on C720 is also superior to the one in Samsung. Promised difference in resolution might not be that visible, but it keeps higher framerate, works better in low light and seems like it captures a wider viewing angle. It is definitely an upgrade. Microphone gets the job done, but it's not very useful in somewhat noisy environment.
- C720 is a little bit heavier than Samsung, but by no means it is heavy or bulky. It is still a portable laptop that could be easily moved or carried with one hand. Its build quality is better than most Windows laptops below $350. Obviously, there's nothing special about the quality of materials, but everything feels solid, the lid mechanism is sturdy enough, and overall it's not bad at all. It certainly lacks some style, but it looks and feels more expensive than it costs.
I love Chromebooks for the ease of use. The first set up takes about five minutes. They are perfect for kids, for elderly people unfamiliar with computers, for students, for writers, bloggers or even programmers. It's amazing how much stuff can be done in a browser. Online shopping, social networking, managing emails, listening to music, watching movies, reading books, video chatting - everything that most casual users actually do on their computers and even more. Offline capabilities are not forgotten - you can watch movies from the local or external storage, listen to music, work with Google Docs and many other Chrome apps or even games that can run offline. One of the greatest things about Chrome OS - there is virtually no maintenance. You have to try really hard to make it work wrong. Updates are seamless and a complete reset of the system with the Powerwash, in case you want to give it away or sell it, takes just few minutes.
I was skeptical when the idea of a Chromebook was introduced to the public. But when I tried one myself and gave it a proper open-minded shot, I wasn't able to go back. Today Acer C720 is my daily driver and I would change it only to a better Chromebook. For $199 it's almost impossible to beat its value. Don't forget, that with the purchase you also get 100 GB of Google Drive space for 2 years. And if you like touchscreens, C720p for $299 is also a very good deal.
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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 16, 2014 2:57:09 PM PST
Timothy says:
thanks for the detailed review

Posted on Feb 6, 2014 8:59:00 PM PST
GC says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 6, 2014 12:16:36 PM PST
WOW...fear, uncertainty & doubt, much, Windows Apologist™ GC?? With the possible exception of the mini-reviews of mediocre Windows laptops you've included, most everything else you've shared here is a typical knee-jerk, hair-on-fire emotional reaction to ChromeOS and reads as if you lifted copy wholesale right from Microsoft's own "Scroogled" print or media campaigns.

I find it amusing that folks like yourself find it SO hard to believe that some casual web users go out of their way to AVOID using Windows, and that for them, ChromeOS is the perfect answer. Your opening quote is most disingenuous -- ChromeOS works *FINE* for *MOST* of the projects that "ClintG" mentions, as long as you're aware of your capability and storage options and (occasional) limitations within the confines of ChromeOS. BTW, I'm curious -- are you, GC, and "ClintG" the same person, only with reversed initials?

Finally, if you truly believe that Microsoft, Apple (or pretty much any other major technology company whose very survival depends on INCREASING their web-based services) is NOT recording and leveraging -- read that, MONETIZING -- your personal information, you're quite possibly even more deluded than what your post would lead the average reader to believe.

Good luck to you in your little 'ole Windows bubble, there...

Posted on Apr 10, 2014 2:56:36 PM PDT
Perfect timing! I was just click away from choosing the Samsung rather than the Acer and then I clicked on your review. Thanks for such a thorough review.

Posted on Apr 19, 2014 8:58:42 AM PDT
What is Google Drive space and whant happens after the 2 years is up?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 22, 2014 11:15:15 AM PDT
Speerdo says:
I've owned the Samsung Series 3 for about 15 months now and can attest that it's underpowered. Anything over a few basic tabs will stress it. The build quality is the worst I've seen in a name-brand device. Stick w/ the Acer. More power, better quality, lower price. I'll gladly deal with the occasionally quiet fan as a trade-off.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2014 6:20:48 PM PDT
Val says:
Google Drive is an online storage (also known as cloud storage) service from Google. You can have your files, pictures, videos and documents online, access them from various devices and share with anyone. After 2 years from the moment you redeem your gift storage, you can still use and manage everything you have uploaded, but won't be able to upload anything else, unless you buy more storage (they recently cut the prices in half) or redeem another gift.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2014 6:22:02 PM PDT
Val says:
Thank you, happy to help. Enjoy your Chromebook!

In reply to an earlier post on May 6, 2014 11:35:44 AM PDT
Stuck in CT says:
Did you get an answer, cuz that is my question also?

In reply to an earlier post on May 6, 2014 11:38:32 AM PDT
Stuck in CT says:
when i use pinterest and pin recipes or pictures is that uploading to storage?
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