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on October 24, 2014
To start, this Chromebook is the best one I have ever owned. I read the reviews before buying and like many of us, was still a little skeptical because of how affordable it was ($239 at the time I purchased it.) So far, this is what I have used it for and following is a list of pros and cons I've noticed in the month I've had it:

I'm a nursing student and use this for taking notes of lectures in Google Docs 80% of the time. Because I'm in an accelerated program, I sometimes have 4 or more classes per day which requires me to be running multiple tabs at the same time, searching through folders, streaming video, downloading things from Google Drive, changing and adding classes and tests to Calendar, and so forth. This Chromebook never misses a beat. It can handle as many tabs open as you could possibly ever need. For college, I really don't think you could possibly need anything more powerful or anything Windows or Mac based... in short, this thing just works. Now here's the pros and cons:

PROS:
- It's lightweight yet still feels pretty sturdy even though the case is plastic.

- The battery life is AMAZING. I can't stress this enough. I use this Chromebook all day for note taking and browsing the internet for school and at the end of the day, I seriously am at about 70% battery power remaining! The nice thing about that is I can stop at a Starbucks or something on the way home to study my notes with plenty of battery power left. No more carrying an AC adapter around! Once I get home, I can log on to my Windows computer and everything is there, fully synced in my Google Drive. I plug the Chromebook in and charge it up for the next day. No power issues at all.

- The WiFi works flawlessly, connects quickly to any available network, and is able to pickup the signal very well. It picks up WiFi signals way better than my previous Windows laptop and even better than my Galaxy Note phone.

- The keys are spaced out nicely so you don't feel cramped when typing. They're not too noisy where you're going to bother other classmates while typing, and they feel sturdy. Not a whole lot of flexing or anything while typing. In short, it doesn't feel cheap.

- Boot-up time is what they claim... 7 seconds or less. If you keep it on but close the lid, it puts it to sleep and when you go to use it again, it's ready to go before you even finish lifting the screen up.

- The sound quality is way better than I expected from a Chromebook. I'd venture to say it's even better than most laptops. You can crank the volume up if needed and it is loud yet still clear. Obviously using headphones will give you better sound quality but you get really good sound from these speakers alone.

THE CONS:

- The screen... oh, the screen... where do I begin... As others have mentioned, it leaves much to be desired. The quality of the picture is pretty poor for anything beyond note-taking, browsing the web, and watching some YouTube videos. The screen just looks sort of muddy and washed out. It's also pretty small at just over 11" which makes having multiple windows open side by side almost impossible. But, you're sacrificing screen real estate for compactness so it's a trade-off that you'll have to decide if you're willing to make as Acer now makes the Chromebook 13 which, for about $40 more, has a much better screen that is full 1080p and offers a faster processor (more on the Chromebook 13's processor below.)

- Top cover/screen design: When closing the lid and carrying the Chromebook around in my messenger bag, the design of the keyboard allows part of the keyboard to touch the screen, leaving a scratch-like line across the screen, near the middle top. I tried rubbing it to see if it would go away and it didn't. Using a cleaning cloth I was able to make it less noticeable, however, it's still there and I imagine will only get worse over time. I may talk to Acer about this and see if this is a common problem, and if not, if I can get my Chromebook swapped out.

SUMMARY:
To summarize, this really is probably the best deal on a time-tested Chromebook with over a years worth of good reviews and reliable operation and I've experienced the same thing with mine. With its Intel Celeron processor, it's fast enough to do probably everything you would need to do. The on-board RAM (2 GB) is plenty to have multiple tabs open, videos streaming, etc. The 32 GB of on-board storage is plenty considering most of your work is going to be done online anyway. It's also solid state which means it is very, very fast. No spinning hard drives as you would find in the average laptop. I can honestly say, for the money you're spending, you're getting an amazing deal on this Chromebook.

SIDE NOTE REGARDING THE ACER CHROMEBOOK 13:
The Acer Chromebook 13 was released in August with people getting their pre-orders in the mail shortly thereafter. It is an impressive machine, offers a faster processor (that I really don't think you'll need), the same amount of RAM, but only 16GB of on-board storage (the $379 version comes with 4GB RAM and 32GB storage but as of October 2014, has a 3-5 week backorder timeframe here on Amazon.)

Regarding the Chromebook 13's processor: it is an NVIDIA Tegra K1 which is an ARM based processor vs. the Acer c720's x86 based processor. While the Tegra K1 is faster, you won't notice the speed increase unless you are a serious power user running many, many apps at the same time. Also, because it's the first Chromebook to use an ARM based processor, some Google apps will not run on it because they are built around the x86 architecture. This will change in the future, of course, but for right now, with the Acer Chromebook 13 being the only Chromebook using the Tegra K1 processor, the developers are not going to be in a huge hurry to upgrade their apps until more Chromebook models using it are released. This won't affect everyone, but it is something to think about. Also, NVIDIA is working on an upgraded Tegra K1 processor due out sometime by the end of 2014 so that may be another reason to hold off for the moment.

The screen size and resolution of the Acer Chromebook 13 is a big improvement over the Acer Chromebook c720, offering vivid colors and a large 13+" inch screen providing full 1080p resolution. Even though it's less than 2" larger than the 720's screen size, it is noticeable when trying to run two windows or apps side by side, looks better when streaming videos, and has more of a laptop screen feel. With the increased screen size and faster processor, it may be a better option for you but in my opinion, I'd hold off until the Tegra K1 ARM based processor is more established and the app manufacturers have updated their apps to work with it. It's only about $50 more expensive, you're gaining a lot, and really only loosing the extra 16 GB of on-board storage, but you're also dealing with the issues with the new NVIDIA processor.

I'm personally going to keep the Chromebook c720 until something with more substantial upgrades is released sometime in 2015.

Would I recommend this Acer Chromebook c720 to someone? Absolutely. As I said in the beginning of my review, I think this is your best bang for the buck in terms of current Chromebooks on the market.

*** I hope you find this review helpful. Please let me know [...] if it has helped you at all... I do my best to get you as much info as I can so you can feel good about your decision to purchase the product. I will also update this post with any info I hear back from Acer regarding the issue I mentioned about the screen getting scratched by the keyboard. ***

Thanks!
- Paul
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on January 27, 2015
After a TON of research, I went with this chromebook over ones that were newer, had bigger screens, or had more of this or that. I've heard complaints about the screen in particular, but I find the resolution and quality to be more than adequate. I was a little reluctant to go with the 12" screen, but actually prefer it - a lot! It just makes this chromebook that much more portable, and that much easier to snatch up when moving about the house, or when running out for the weekend.

I think I did get the model with a little more storage space or something, but I personally will never use it all up. Even if I did, it's so easy just to park files in the cloud or whatever.

What has really lived up to the hype is the battery life - you really can look forward to a minimum of 8 hours on a charge. I was so used to having a laptop tethered by the power cord that it really is wonderful to just use this thing and leave it anywhere in the house that's convenient, and only have to recharge it about every 4 or 5 days!

While it may be par for the course with a chromebook, as someone switching from laptops, I love how this thing is silent, and I don't get hit with all of the popups and banners like are more of an issue with a laptop (at least how I browse the web).

I was also surprised that the sound on the C720 is better than on my 17" Toshiba Satellite, although the Satellite has really bad speakers.

Another thing - boot time is basically instantaneous. Again - this may be standard with most or all chromebooks, but if it isn't, it's one more reason to consider the C720. I think I also read where opening a lot of tabs would slow down page loading? I think I've had at least a dozen, with no issues that I noticed. This was with audio or video on at least one tab, too.

I need to be clear and say that I didn't get the C720 with the expectations of it replacing a laptop. I just am not a tablet or "big smartphone" person. I don't really like using touchscreens for the most part. I've also had my own business and enough jobs that required laptops when out on the road that I love about this what I hated about all of them. That even goes for a really nice Thinkpad that I had from my last job - possibly as good as it gets with a traditional laptop, but the C720 is just better in the ways that are important.

The only negative thing I can really think of is that I wish there were "home" and "end" keys, as I've really gotten used to using them. Again though - there may be some equivalent that I just foolishly/ignorantly don't know about. While I should probably be more critical or give more analysis to the other programs on the C720, I honestly don't use them enough for it to detract from how I feel about it. For that matter, I think there are ports for all the popular stuff - even a HDMI if I'm not mistaken? So all the connectivity and flexibility is there, right under my nose.

...I also did (honestly) try to set up the HP printing feature, and I think I did it correctly. I didn't test it though, but my HP printer does show up as if it were configured properly. I know that can be important to some users, so I wanted to mention that it at least exists, even if it might not work well (I honestly don't know).

While some of what I've said is probably not too helpful, at least it should convey that they pack a TON of features into even what should be just a basic little "light duty laptop," and for such a ridiculously low price vs. even a lot of tablets.
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on May 9, 2014
Background: I'm a student, and I was looking for a light and portable (under 3lb) computer which could quietly and quickly handle multitasking use of a word processor, netflix, social stuff (email/FB) and spotify. My criteria was pretty simple. I also love Google products. I've had this laptop for ~3 weeks, and I love it.

The best:
- It's so light. Seriously.
- $250. So cheap. SO CHEAP.
- It boots up completely in 5-7 seconds.
- 8.5 hours of battery life. Actually.
- The fan is SO QUIET. I can't hear it at all. (On my old laptop, the fan was so hot you couldn't have the computer on your lap. It was also so loud, you couldn't hear music playing off the built in speakers.)
- Once you get used to it, you will use the keyboard shortcuts. This is one thing I particularly love about Chrome OS. On a Windows computer, you've got so many different programs running from different developers, and so you're limited in your shortcuts. But when everything is Chrome, you can standardize your shortcuts. I use them all the time. Everything runs in Chrome windows, so I'm constantly using new window, new tab, close window, minimize window, etc. Also, the built in "refresh" "back" "forward" "full screen" and "switch window" buttons on the keyboard are gold.
- Also, two finger scroll. Yes.
- If you're working late at night and want minimal brightness... The low settings on this are fantastic.
- I bought the 32GB version, and I doubt I'll use all the memory. Also, there are two USB ports on this thing, so you can always plug in storage. (FYI, speaking of ports, there is also an SD card slot, and a mini HDMI port.)
- The speakers are surprisingly loud and decent quality. You won't have any problems (at all) with spoken-word audio. I can happily tolerate listening to music on them too, but I prefer headphones (that's kind of a given, this is a cheap chromebook after all. I wasn't expecting a fancy media device).

The things you need to know, which could be good or bad or maybe you don't care:
- It's a Chrome OS. Duh.
- The keys aren't backlit (but fyi, they're not uncomfortably small).
- There is no CD/DVD drive.
- There's no delete key, but you won't miss it.
- Also no caps lock key, but it's replaced by a search key which accesses all your files and apps as well as the internet.
- There's no page up or page down buttons, but again, you probably won't notice once you get used to shift+up arrow/down arrow.
- 11.6" screen, again, duh. I like it, actually. My 16in screen feels unnecessarily large.
- In direct sunlight, it's usable, but not the best. It has a semi-matte screen, so there's no reflection, it's just a little dark. I haven't had any problems the few times I've used it outside.
- The laptop comes with, like, ten free GoGo In-Flight wifi passes.
- It doesn't attract many fingerprints.
- Apparently it does automatic security updates. So that's cool. I noticed an unobtrusive pop-up the other day notifying me I was safe, so I guess it's working.

The bad:
- The ports are kind of tight. This isn't really significant - don't rip your headphones or USB out, just exercise reasonable care and you shouldn't need to worry.

If you can handle Chrome OS, and you want something portable and fast with awesome battery life... This a wonderful computer. No complaints.
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on December 6, 2014
After buying I instantly had nothing but problems with this chromebook. First I couldn't get connected to the internet on it, something which is required to set up and use it. After spending 2 hours on the phone with Google's tech support (they were very helpful but this review is not of them) we figured out that this chromebook is not compatible with my modem, a modem that I have had no problems with in the past and works great with all my other devices. So I decided to buy a new modem. After installing the new modem I was able to connect to the internet and the chromebook seemed to be working fine, until I tryed to go online. I quickly figured out that any time I had the chromebook turned on my internet speed instantly dropped from about 12mbps to 40kbps on all devices I had connected to the internet. After spending massive amounts of time troubleshooting it just isn't worth the hassle, this chromebook is going back. Maybe it was a lemon but I'm not going to deal with the possibility of another one being the same. I'm going back to an android tablet, which I should of done in the first place.
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on January 22, 2014
Super fast Chromebook. I own a Samsung Series 3 Chromebook that was a decent system for the price but the ARM processor presents some limits in both performance and running Linux applications.

I've set up Crouton to run Ubuntu 13.10 (Saucy) and its working perfectly, including the brightness and volume buttons. I installed the the Android Development Kit Bundle w/Eclipse. The only obvious strain on the system I've noticed is that the AVD's take a little time to boot up.

Being able to switch back and forth between ChromeOS and Ubuntu on a $250 laptop that's rated for 8.5 hours of battery life is pretty awesome.
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on March 6, 2014
just got this today-- a day early as a matter of fact... i switched from a samsung chromebook to this acer and serioiusly: because i had everything backed up to the cloud, i was able to clean the old one (i'm giving it to my daughter) and set this one up in about five minutes total... beautiful machine... lots more appealing that the two macbook airs i used to have...

in fact i quit itunes altogether and simply stream music... i've also been working in google docs lately and find hardly any difference between it and microsoft or apple... in fact this machine can do what i need (write, spreadsheets, presentations) and some of the newer apps i need to explore... there shouldn't be any complaints about this machine, except from tech nerds who think that this isnt's "strong enough" or "fast enough"... it rawks... i got the 32 GB version which will be way more than i need but if you do have music, movies, etc. you should have no problem w/it as it comes w/a SSD memory card slot (like my samsung) and a new usb 3.0 port that i can get 64GB or 128GB sticks for that download faster than anything on a 2.0, which it also has...

and about the comment above about it being better than the macbook air-- so true, it's exactly like a macbook air, just faster and more stable (chrome OS, that is).... keypad is great, screen is great, size is perfect, weight is perfect... what more can i say?

and it's all true what you've heard-- right out of the box, w/in five minutes i am online and working on something i was working on last night (because it was in the cloud)...

and if you're worried about having to be online all the time for it to work, i ask you this-- when are you ever w/out access to the internet? i mean seriously come on.. if anyone is that worried about this machine not having 3g or 4g then they need to get w/their carrier and add tethering to their phones because i have the tethering option and have only used it once... and printing is a breeze; i mean, how many printers out there are already internet or google print ready? i saw a printer just the other day for less than $60...

and the fact that you'll never have to worry about upgrades, viruses, etc... all automatic... and when i set it up, there they were: all my apps and bookmarks ready to go... i can't wait to have it charged completely so i can see if the battery does in fact, last 6.5 hours...

so much more than a simple netbook, and because it's google, everything works across all of my platforms-- my nexus 7 as well as my nexus 5...

great value, great looking machine, great working machine... get one of these things, you won't be disappointed.

03/15/2014 update:

nothing bad at all, in fact still runs and works like a dream... but i have read a couple of gripes regarding the SSD Card hanging out about 1/3'... yes it does do that; unlike my Samsung which fit to at least 1/4", but really hasn't gotten in the way of anything: mostly i use an SSD card or micro SSD card w/an adapter and when i give over my micro SSD to a friend i just give him the USB adapter and use it... there are so many ways to do it to your liking... i have yet to get anything transferred from a USB 3.0 because no one i have owns a machine w/one, but i certainly will once my friend who has all the new movies finishes his new desktop tower build. that's all... keep having fun... oh yes-- wanted to mention that my camera is a DSLR Sony alpha model and w/all the photo apps out there, there's no way to make a bad photo, even w/my little point-and-shoot... just plug and play, everything basic sets itself up, you can do the customization.
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on July 10, 2016
I bought 2 of these because my kids' schools use these for so much work - and homework is primarily online now. But I found that these have cheaply made parts. One of them had a problem right out of the box - screen would go black... often. Then that stopped and it started getting lines running through the screen, and having glitches all the time. The other had problems with screen black-outs and degradation after about 7 months, until the screen finally was just done. For the price paid ($229) I would rather have invested in a Kindle tablet, but the schools all use Chromebooks and I wanted the kids to have the same platform to facilitate ease. Good thing I bought the 2-yr Square Trade warranties on them.
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on April 22, 2016
I purchased my Acer C720 around a year and a half ago and have been entirely happy with its performance and reliability. I mostly use it around the house as a wifi connected Internet device and for word processing, which I do using the Google Docs application. Should anyone be wondering, it's a relatively simple matter to set up documents so they can be edited offline. I've set up a number of dummy chapter and short story documents that serve as accessible work spaces when I'm offline. Work done offline is automatically saved to an onboard Google Drive application, which automatically syncs with Google Drive online as soon as I reconnect to the Internet. This makes for a pretty much effortless transition between my desktop and my Chromebook. (It's necessary to do the initial setup to work offline while you're online, by the way. It took me a while to figure this out. The setup instructions can be found on the Internet.)

The size and action of the keyboard are entirely acceptable. I rather like typing on it. The screen is reasonably clear and bright--entirely adequate for most applications, though the vertical angle of optimal view is rather narrow. The C720 can handle full screen Standard Definition video well enough. HD is sometimes another matter. I like the fact that the C720 generates very little heat when in use.

In my opinion, this is a solid little device for the money. Just make certain that your needs and expectations don't exceed its design capabilities. You won't be running any processor intensive applications on a machine like this.
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on December 10, 2014
This C720 is a hot little bundle of fun. IMHO, being delivered with ChromeOS is it's only weakness. Luckily, there is a simple workaround: Install one of the Linux distributions. There are two right now. I choose the Bodhi since there is a build specifically for the C720. Using Bodhi allowed me to discard ChromeOS and use all of the space on the SSD (which, BTW, you can upgrade the SSD on your own. Google for the instructions: C720 SSD upgrade). 128GB drives run about USD$65 on Amazon.

Changing the OS allowed me to use printers on my network WITHOUT using Google's cloud printing BS. I also have access to applications with a great deal more maturity.

The only additional costs to make this change? The price of a couple 2GB flash drives. One to hold the Chromebook's recovery file (just in case) and the second to hold the Bodhi linux install stuff. The change took about two hours (not including the slow download of Bodhi).

This sort of change might not be something you want to do on your own, but I'll bet you know a geek who'd be happy to help. This changeover isn't difficult and having that recovery flash drive is a safety net in case you really want to use ChromeOS after all.

So now I have aC720 with a 128GB of on-board storage and a fully functional OS.

UPDATE: I started with the procedure to change over to Bodhi Linux (c720-specific build), but moved to the HugeGreenBug Linux distro. Bodhi was okay, but had usability issues for me.

A slight repeat of the above review:

Using LINUX instead of the crippleware it came with lets you map shared drives and also use local printers without needing G**gle's cloud. Among other things, you can also run applications will do what you want to so rather than being limited to doing things that are allowed by G**gle's sandbox. Chrome's apps will never catch up to the offerings found for Linux.
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on April 8, 2014
Ok, I know I'm overstating my case with the remark title. But really, I was perturbed with Microsoft for abruptly pulling the plug on XP. Suddenly I was expected to replace my laptop and the software on it - an expense of at least $1500 to $2000. And why? Because Microsoft got lazy? Windows 8 is horrible. I surely don't want to replace XP with that! So I decided to try a less expensive solution, if only for fun. And Wow! What an improvement! all for $250 (I bought the 32 GB version and a carrying case).

At first I was a little less than enthused because after all - the Chromebook is just a glorified browser, right? Wrong! I discovered it is very easy to install a full blown version of Ubuntu Linux with all the bells and whistles - and it doesn't upset the default version of the Chromebook at all. Take that Microsoft!

Linux is free. Google software is free. Web storage is free. And the new Acer Chromebook is amazing! 10 seconds from stop to online! Can't beat that. And the battery life is amazing. While this approach may not be for someone who doesn't care for computers or a big learning curve, it is a great approach for someone who has more brains than money.

The C720 is fantastic. The processing speed and utility are great. And it is half the size and half the weight of my old laptop. What's not to like?

Goodbye Microsoft. Hello new world. And so it goes...
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