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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.
18 helpful votes
19 helpful votes
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on January 19, 2017
I have used the snot outta this for years and LOVE it. The screen is not the best especially outside but it fits even in my little camera bag and I use it ALL the time. Great on trips to back up camera files, blog, surf, etc. Feather weight. I love Chromebooks!
1 helpful vote
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on February 23, 2017
I got this for my mom for Christmas, she loves it and uses it everyday. I'm pretty sure these chromebooks are the best thing for older people using new technology. It's plug-n-play for the most part, and it has no frills, no fuss, approach to everything. You can still do 95% of what you normally do on every other computer. Browsing, listening to music, app downloading are all extremely simple. Just one click.
The size is an adorable 11 inches. It fits anywhere and everywhere. If you're looking for a travel friendly laptop, look no further.

This is a great little gem, bought it almost 2 years ago already and it's still going strong. Technology has a habit of aging terribly but with this Chromebook, we've had no problems with viruses or odd glitches. The OS is a new thing for me, it took some getting used to at first but after that I realized its quite similar to my macbook pro. The trackpad can get a bit buggy, but I personally dislike these anyways. (they're prone to getting dusty and then rendered virtually unusable =__=) So in the end I just bought a tiny wireless mouse for this model. Best solution ever!!
1 helpful vote
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on August 9, 2015
By far the most bang for the buck I've gotten on a laptop. Used this for about a year and a half. Still use it every day.

Pros:

- Super quick boot up.
- Lightning fast web browsing, Youtube/Netflix playing, document editing/productivity.
- Can do 99% of everything I need naively or through an easily downloaded web app.
- Great battery life, even now 1.5 years later
- Super Lightweight. Throw it in my bag and take it to all my classes, can hardly tell its even there.
- Upgradable SSD, easy to install (which I did end up doing. See Other Thoughts)
- Good keyboard. Not the greatest, but I enjoy typing on it.
- Responsive track pad
- Full size HDMI port
- Two USB ports
- Fairly durable. I've dropped it off my bed onto the floor a few times when I fall asleep and there's hardly a scratch on it.
- VALUE. Got on sale for $150.

Cons

- Screen. Mediocre resolution/quality. Probably the only thing I don't absolutely love.
- Clicking in on the track pad to click makes a cheap hollow sound that I don't like. But I don't really mind because I just tap to click (which I recommend everyone to do)

Other Thoughts

I upgraded the SSD to a 64GB SSD because I side loaded Linux (which anyone can easily do through an application called Crouton, Google it) In order to add some more functionality that I needed (things including web development applications and specific Linux programs I use). So I needed a little more disk space than 16GB. The SSD only cost $50 and installation was simple. So an even better value because at $200 I get 4 x the amount of SSD space and still payed less than it costs now.

I highly recommend anyone considering this laptop!!! Great buy!!!
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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 17, 2014
This is a fantastic little chromebook, and by far the best bargain in computing today, IMO. For way less than the cost of a tablet, you can get a light, small notebook that really flies for browsing, e-mail, etc. I got one for my 10-year old and then one for my 70-something parents. The fact that I don't have to maintain their 10+ year old WinXP machine makes it especially worth it.

Also great customer service. I decided to buy a third machine for myself, but the one I got from Acer had a bad keyboard. Returned through the Amazon orders page (rather than through the instructions in the box) and got a free shipping label. As soon as I dropped the package off at UPS, the purchase price was credited back to my credit card. No hassles, no waiting.

So I ordered another one and started playing. Put in a new 64gb SSD (voiding warranty) and installed Xubuntu (dual-boot using ChrUbuntu scripts). Fantastic. I would have bought a 4gb RAM c720 if available, but this one does the trick anyway. It has pretty much relegated my Thinkpad x220 to backup use, for performance reasons, not just novelty. Really fast. Note: the ram is soldered in, so no upgrade from 2gb even if desired. SSD replacement is a cinch, however. Limited ram makes running Wine programs a bit too slow, but native Linux apps (including Gimp) work really well.

Summary: could not be happier with machine and customer service.
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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 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.
1 helpful vote
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on September 12, 2014
This was sold as refurbished, but seemed brand new.

I only gave this 3 stars because I couldn't figure out anything useful to with it. I tried installing Ubuntu, and it worked well, but, this Chromebook is (at least to me) just a toy. I eventually sold it to a friend that wanted it to use at work to kill time.

On the plus side, the touchpad rivals a Mac, it's truly glorious in it's design. The keyboard is nice enough to type on, and the screen was clear and easy to read. It's super light and portable; the screen was small, but that's what was expected.

If you needed something for a child or grandparent this would likely be perfect. Not running Windows MAY decrease the chance of viruses, it feels like a Macbook Air, and the chassis build quality is nice. It'd be hard for someone to get in to much trouble with this device.
1 helpful vote
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This device has mostly replaced a Windows 8 laptop as my primary travel/work device, as I usually have access to WiFi. I use it for browsing, quick notes, MS Remote Access, and if necessary, free Word Online.

If I were traveling on a plane frequently, or required anything except a browser and fairly rudimentary MS Word functions, I probably would not be satisfied with a Chromebook.

As for this particular unit, it feels cheaply built and looks cheaply built. It is surprisingly lightweight. It feels a lot like a $200-class netbook.

However, it has lasted over 9 hours of nearly-continuous typing and browsing for me, and that is far more important than a normal Windows 8 netbook that can only get 3-4 hours on a charge.

Notably, I also purchased it as a refurb device, for $150. At full current retail at $269, I do not think I have purchased it.
1 helpful vote
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