on December 13, 2013
My wife pre-ordered the C720P as my Christmas gift, but we couldn't wait to exchange our "big" gift - after 27 years, we understand each other well. :-D So when the box arrived last night (delayed 3 excruciating days by the recent ice storm), I became a brand new Chromebook owner.
Opening the box revealed the Chromebook, power supply brick, standard PC power cable, and a "getting started" sheet. Getting started is trivial - plug it in (though it was 79% charged on arrival), pick a language, login to Google, and (optionally) follow a brief but informative tour. I've used the Chrome browser on Windows and Ubuntu desktops and my Nexus 4, so I'm already somewhat invested in the Chrome ecosystem. As a result, I felt right at home - all of my Google services and apps I had installed via the Chrome browser were ready to use, and a familiar Chromecast icon pre-connected my Chromebook to our TV.
ChromeOS feels quite natural if you've used Windows 7 - a "grid" icon in the lower left yields a start menu with your Chrome apps, with quick-launch icons and underlined active programs shown to its right. My grid has several pages, since I had already selected apps via my Chrome browsers on other machines - I instinctively swiped through the pages exactly as I would on a tablet. The lower right of the screen shows the time, volume, wifi strength, battery status, and the current user's picture (I snapped a new one with the webcam on my first login, but all that grey hair caused me to switch back to my younger self instead).
Touch interaction is so natural that my daughter, watching setup over my shoulder, asked, "So, does the touchscreen work?" I pointed out that I hadn't used the trackpad yet - all of my interaction had been touching the screen or typing. Tablets have changed the way we interact with computers of all types, so it's a huge win to have responsive and natural touch on such an inexpensive laptop. And it's really cool to go back a page in the browser just by swiping from left to right - I'll be trying this on my non-touch desktops with increasing frustration, I just just know it.
The keyboard works extremely well. I'm an 82 wpm touch typist, and have had no trouble at all whipping out this review. The layout is similar enough to a standard PC that I adapted without effort. The standard function key row uses iconography for browser, screen, and volume control and a power switch, and there's no Windows key (of course) or Delete (I use Alt-Backspace). But typing is quick and easy, and far faster for me than on my iPad, even with its optional tabletop physical keyboard.
I'm strongly biased toward over-buying RAM, so the 2 GB on this device worried me a little. However, I've had a dozen tabs open with no performance hit at all, and I loaded the Amiga 500 emulator in a Chrome browser window with very similar performance to my 16 GB quad-core Ubuntu workstation. As with most light laptops, the RAM is not expandable, so I'm relieved.
ChromeOS on this laptop is *very* fast, with a light and breezy feeling that I quite enjoy. The app store is gratifyingly large - not Android large, but enough that I haven't failed to find anything that I have needed yet. If you have an old specialty Windows program on which you depend, you'll want a more expensive Windows laptop, but otherwise, I don't think you'll have a problem finding what you want, and will be able to window shop (Chrome shop?) for many happy hours. Over a billion apps served, and the newer apps work off-line (though I have not yet tested this).
Although I've only used it for one evening, I'm exceptionally pleased with this product. My son (a senior in Computer Science) used the non-touch C720 model for his classwork last semester, running Ubuntu and ChromeOS simultaneously, and he recommended the C720P to me when I began considering a new laptop. I'm happy to recommend it to you.
UPDATE: After 4 days, I've learned a bit more. The battery lasts for about 2 days of fairly heavy and somewhat intermittent use, around 9 hours total. Wifi is rock solid, and interaction with our Chromecast is reliable and seamless. I have 18 tabs open right now, including 3 Drive documents, Gmail, Angry Birds, and the App Store, and it's just as responsive as when I first turned it on. Pinch-to-zoom works fine in apps such as Maps, but it does NOT zoom on a normal web page - I use Ctrl-+ for that [now it does - see UPDATE 2 below]. The new off-line apps worked fine when I intentionally took it out of wifi range.
The Chromebook has a large number of keyboard shortcuts, by the way - you can press Ctrl-Alt-? to bring up an on-screen "cheat sheet" keyboard overlay, then press various combinations of Ctrl, Alt, and Shift to see what each shortcut does. Pressing Esc closes the overlay and gets you back to work or play.
Still learning, and still having a blast!
UPDATE 2: ChromeOS continues to be updated, and I'm delighted that pinch-to-zoom now works just fine on web pages. It's a very natural way to simultaneously zoom and position text on a web page for reading. Thanks, Google!
I did finally around to installing Ubuntu Linux to run simultaneous to ChromeOS - it's literally just a hot key away - and that works exceptionally well. I thought this would be a huge feature for me (I use Linux extensively at both home and work), but in fact I rarely switch to Ubuntu because I can do most of my laptop work with ChromeOS just fine. In fact, when my dad passed away two weeks ago (peacefully in his sleep at 95, after a full and happy life, I'm pleased to say), I prepared the funeral program on my C720P and shipped a PDF to Pro Graphics for printing with no trouble at all.
In a similar vein, support for off-line apps continues to grow. I scanned the Chrome app store yesterday and saw about a thousand apps that work with no Internet connection, so while ChromeOS is still "better with wifi", it's increasingly useful when off the grid.
Google also announced that Chromebooks will soon be able to run many of the leading Android apps as well. It's not clear if this is a general, load any app from the Android store type of support, or just a few key Android apps that are curated by Google. Currently, 4 Android apps are supported, but those may be part of a "beta test" for Android support. Time will tell, but certainly support for Android bodes well for touchscreen Chromebooks like the C720P.
Finally, for her birthday in July, my youngest daughter asked for her own C720P. I bought her the original 2 GB RAM model in white for $279, and she has been as delighted with it as I have been. Still recommended!
Acer's C720p is our third Chromebook (large family) and it follows Samsung's, purchased a little over one year ago and HP's Chromebook 11 a couple of months ago. We are very happy with all three and we're likely to purchase more so, let me start by answering the obvious question (see next paragraph).
WHY A CHROMEBOOK?
There's so much to say here but let me make a quick summary. And never forget that we are talking about an 'under 300' device here because, yes, anything that costs 3˕ 4˕ 5 times as much should do better most of the time.
˕ If counting 'hours' and excluding 'work hours', Chromebooks are our most used computers and by 'computer' I mean PCs, laptops and tablets.
˕ Malware, spyware, adware˕ free. Since nothing is manually 'installed' on the Chromebook, I can't see how one would ever be infected. I am now actually turning on and using a Chromebook to open suspicious emails or click on dubious URLs that I'd rather not touch from a laptop or PC.
˕ Chrome OS happens to be one of the safest OS. I don't know if this is common knowledge but Google is constantly challenging hackers to crack it. And, as far as I know, Chrome OS wasn't cracked yet.
˕ Easy to share among any number of users without any concerns for compromising privacy. If you have a Google account you simply sign in and you are going to be within your own, personal environment, including Chrome extensions, shortcuts and so forth.
˕ Constantly updated and upgraded. Google updates Chrome OS every few weeks and I found my Chromebook actually getting better all the time rather than getting slower and slower and gradually falling into obsolescence.
˕ Nearly maintenance free. Whenever I don't use a tablet or even a laptop for a while they tend to get very busy for a few minutes or longer once I turn them back on. Tablets, especially, are almost impossible to use until all those dozens of updates/upgrades download and install. Not the case for Chromebooks. Whatever upgrades may take place out in the clouds they don't hit my Chromebook. Whenever I call up an app, I get it in its latest version.
˕ The attached keyboard helps a lot. Yes, you can pair a keyboard and even a mouse to a tablet but the Chromebook's keyboard is always there, it also negates the need of a stand or even some protecting case.
˕ Chrome OS is streamlined and efficiently focused where it matters, on the everyday uses most of us need a 'computer' most of the time.
˕ While you don't get the top of the line CPU on a $299 Chromebook, performance is much better than that same CPU on a traditional laptop because there's no need to constantly run virus scans, there is on disk fragmentation to deal with, among other things.
˕ No need to worry about backups and losing your data. Yes, keeping your important or very personal data in the cloud is not something that I do or I would advise anyone to do but 'everything else' should reside in the cloud just fine and the odds of that data ever being lost are quite small.
˕ Quite versatile. You can easily pair your Chromebook with Bluetooth (or dongled) mice, keyboards and speakers. And you can even use a remote desktop app to access a 'true' PC when you really need one. You can make phone calls and video calls and you can even play some games.
˕ Runs Ubuntu. I haven't tried it yet myself because... well... I have Ubuntu running on a PC already but if you Google Chromebook Ubuntu or Chromebook Linux you will get a few posts that explain exactly how it's done.
˕ Works offline too. Yes, it's not a laptop but there are apps that work well offline and if you don't trust Google's cloud you can access your own local NAS at least for viewing docs, PowerPoint slides or playing videos. There must be a way to save edited docs in your own cloud rather than Google's but I didn't spend much time trying to figure it out yet.
˕ Relatively low prince, 11.6" display and light weight seem to be just about right for something that typically you'd be using to browse the Web while watching TV or take to and from school.
WHY NOT A CHROMEBOOK?
Yes, Chromebooks can't do everything. Google's productivity suites notwithstanding, they are mainly and they are best at media consumption rather than production. Nobody should buy a Chromebook and expect to be able to edit video or perform some heavy word processing or do some hard˕ core gaming even though you CAN do them, it's just that you can do them better on a PC or laptop or tablet. My experience is that a Chromebook can't do 'everything'. Tablets are more portable, PCs and laptops are more powerful but, to me, my Chromebook is the most fun to use device and it's likely to stay this way. I am not going to call it my 'second' or 'third' or 'first' computer but, objectively, it's the one I most use outside business hours if what we measure is 'hours'. Chromebooks, now that we have three of them around are what our kids prefer for their school˕ related activity and most of their entertainment, when not playing games.
Haven't spent a lot of time with the 720p but, and not surprisingly so, it's all very familiar because this is our third Chromebook. The 720p is not 'exactly like' HPs or Samsung's but it's easily recognizable as a Chromebook and that's a good thing.
There are many common features between our three Chromebooks but there are quite a few important differences so here's what it's probably worth to mention:
˕ Touch, of course. I didn't spend a lot of time with the much more expensive Pixel but the C720p does what I expected. It's not an iPad or a Nexus 7 when it comes to responsiveness but it's quite decent and it's good to have options.
˕ The LED 1366 x 768p HD display resolution is no different from the other Chromebooks and I would say it's somewhere in between HPs (better) and Samsung's. But the differences are minor.
˕ USB 3.0, USB 2.0 and HDMI ports plus the SD card slot make the C720p a relatively easy to connect device, especially when compared to HPs.
˕ Intel Celeron 2955U processor with (only) 2GB of DDR3 RAM makes it the fastest Chromebook. I suspect that a 4GB model is going to be available soon but even with 2GB it still feels fine.
˕ Decent speakers. Quite impressive, in fact for their size.
˕ Great keyboard, as far as the chicklets keyboards come. I prefer it to the others but keyboards can be such a personal thing. It's the typical Chromebook layout and the key travel is good. As a touch typist it took me little time to get used to it.
˕ Good battery life. They promise 7˕ 8 hours. I don't know how realistic that may be but at 75% brightness ours ran for almost six ours after a full charge.
˕ Same freebies Google: 100GB in the clouds for 2 years being the most attractive.
I am not going to compare Acer's Chromebook with the Pixel or some top of the line laptop. I noticed that many 'pro' reviewers are complaining because the 200˕ 300 dollar Chromebooks are not 'high end' and aren't as nice as the Pixel and such. Well... did anyone check the prices? So, yes, let me make a 'duh' statement: this Chromebook is not as good as devices that sell for 3 times or 4 times as much so anyone who doesn't mind paying more should pay more and get one of those. Even though... look at some reasons above for why one may prefer a Chromebook to a laptop or a tablet, regardless of price.
Acer's device is at least as good and in some way better than my now one year old, often used and much trusted Samsung and, while not as pretty, it seems to be speedier and definitely much better connected than HPs. The price difference can be justified by the touch capability which is nice to know it's there.
Chromebooks and the C720p are not for everyone and they are not a universal computing device but, if used for what they are meant to be used, they are as good and as a revolutionary device as tablets.
on December 13, 2013
I have an Acer C720P ($299) and an Acer C720 ($199) and both are amazing machines. If you dont mind plunking down the extra $100 for the touchscreen then go for it but really you will do fine without it and save yourself $100 especially if you are buying these as gifts like I did for others in my family.
Here is a list of the APPS I use on both and it runs them fast and flawlessly:
Facebook, Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, Chrome Remote Desktop (flawlessly connects to my Windows 7 laptop and I can run any windows program remotely with ease), LogMeIn (flawlessly connects to my Office Desktop and I can access all my office records which is key since i am a family doc), Google Cloud Print (easily prints documents to all the printers i have set up), MyBible, Kindle, Twitter, Hootsuite, Weatherbug, Netflix, Pandora, YouTube, Google+ photos (automatically puts all my photos taken on my Iphone over to my chromebook), RUNS ALL WEBSITES INCLUDING BANKING WEBSITES and my mobile hospital app FLAWLESSLY WITH CHROME (including adobe flash player sites which my Ipad and Iphone still wont run)
The only CONS i can find so far is no SKYPE app.....If you want to do video calls then need to use GOOGLE HANGOUTS which is much less intuitive than skype....and you CANNOT hook a printer directly to a chromebook but you can use google cloud print to print easily...needs wifi connection to do most things (this is really not a problem for me as i am always connected and they have developed a number of apps that work when not connected including document writer and email offline)
Battery Life Amazing! almost 8hrs of use!
Touchscreen good but not like an Ipad (can't use your fingers to zoom in with pinch)
Touchpad very good! (and really dont need the touchscreen because touchpad works so well)
Keyboard very solid,
Can use any wireless mouse with it. (Ipad still cant utilize a mouse)
Screen brightness great.
Sound adequate but a bit tinny
USB port which can use flash drives to move and transfer files (another thing I still cant do with my Ipad)
2 years free of 100GB Google Drive (this saves you $120 right there)
12 free wifi passes while on planes (i dont fly much but still a nice convenience and saves you the $10 or so connection fee)
Free virus protection
All in all a great economical way to access the internet with ease and lightning speed and do 95% of what most people use a personal computer for this day and age.
on February 5, 2014
I initially tried out the HP Chromebook 11 but did not like it and my parents have the older Samsung Chromebook so this review will talk a little bit about why I like this one the best and different features of this laptop. Like the title says, this is, in my opinion, a 5 star device because of the "bang for the buck" you get with this device. This device is new so the prices have been crazy recently and way over what this should be listed for. It is supposed to be $299.99 and if the price is over that, wait until it gets fixed. The prices are going back and forth right now for some reason until more stock is acquired I assume.
Update: Tips/Tricks section added to bottom.
I am a college student and I think this device or any other Chromebook makes for an excellent 2nd laptop and that is what this is for me. I have a much more powerful laptop with 17 inch screen and i7 processor for my computer programming projects or anything (I am a Business Information Systems/Technology major) more serious where something must be installed or something. I also use my main computer for campus printing as it is what I am already familiar with.
Let me start with the "criticisms" that some people may discuss or may want to know before buying: Screen and speakers then I will go into the rest of the device.
Screen: It is a TOUCHSCREEN. This screen is not quite as good visually as the HP 11 if I am being honest. The HP 11's screen is actually really good especially for a Chromebook but this screen looks just fine still. One thing I have noticed after using this for a bit is that the "viewing angles" are not so great. I personally do not foresee this being any issue because this is not going to be a laptop for watching movies or anything like that. When looking straight at the screen or from the sides, there is not much issue but going far up or far down, colors begin to become distorted.
This particular model features a touchscreen and that works MUCH better than I expected. The screen feels very solid like glass. There has been no flexing or anything of the screen and the touch is really awesome. You can swipe from the left side of the screen towards the right to go "back" in your browser to your previous page and very cool things like that with it. The touchscreen is one of the major things that got me to go with this computer. You can do so much with the touchscreen which I really like and was wondering about before I bought this. I was afraid it would be very limited but it actually does a lot more than I expected such as the example I gave about being able to swipe across the screen to go back to your last webpage. The touchscreen is extremely accurate just like an iPhone or tablet should be. Scrolling down pages with the touch is very smooth and accurate and if you release your touch, the screen will glide down. Pushing the tiny "x" button on a Chrome browser tab is actually pretty easy and you get more used to it. The screen is very quick and responsive. The screen hinge offers some resistance so that when you tap the screen, it does not fall backwards on you and I will detail this more under the Frame/Body section towards the bottom.
Speakers: This is the only other thing I know of so far that one could ask to be better. The speakers are located on the bottom of the device. They still seem to play partially through the keyboard - though they are on the bottom so it is mostly coming from the bottom. This won't give you the most ideal sound experience but it isn't bad and if you are buying this to mostly listen to music, you might want to consider an iPhone or mp3 player instead of a Chromebook. I use headphones most of the time anyways. I just did a side-by-side comparison to my 17 inch i7 laptop and the headphone sound is the same. I swear with the HP 11, even the headphone sound was of lower quality than that of my much more expensive i7 laptop and I am not sure why.
Keyboard: The keyboard is great for a $300 device with all the features this laptop has. I am typing this entire review on the C720P right now and having no issues. The keys do not have a huge amount of "return" as in they don't compress a lot but I do not personally have any issues with that - it is just the way they are. This has taken some getting used to for me but I see no advantage/disadvantage to this Acer keyboard over the HP 11 or Samsung Chromebooks, they are each different and I have liked them all. The texture of the keys feel good to my fingers and have a slight "texture" to them. Because of the low amount of return on my keyboard keys, they type pretty quietly which is sort of nice for taking to my classes so I do not disturb people around me.
Touch pad: This touch pad is by far my favorite out of the Acer C720P, HP 11, and Samsung. This touchpad is fully clickable, just like the rest but this one just feels way better to my hand. It is completely smooth and when you push down on it to click, it gives you a very nice, solid response that you know you have clicked it and I just like that feel.
Frame/Body: I waited for the release of this white body because I thought it looked better than the original slate color. I am happy with the way it looks in person also. The feel is sort of a "matte" feel and is not glossy like the HP 11 (if you've seen it) which I think is a good thing because that means it should show WAY less fingerprints. The frame does not flex or bend whatsoever so far and I have tried to see if I could get it to. Very sturdy frame/body.
Another thing about the body of this device that relates to the screen, the screen stands firm and gives you some resistance when closing/opening it which is great because it is a touchscreen and you don't want to be tapping a button on screen and having to hold the back with your other hand or have to pick it back up right after you tap the screen and it falls back a half inch. This is another positive to me and by no means is it difficult to open or close, it just has a perfect amount of resistance to resist falling backwards after touching the screen. Lightweight, sturdy, clean. I just tried to fit it into a protective sleeve I bought when I had my HP 11 (the sleeve fit over the HP 11 and was made to fit Macbook Air) but this sleeve did not zip shut when I had the C720P inside. It fit into it fine, but hung out the opening to where my sleeve would not zip. So the form factor is bigger than the HP 11 as well though again, this doesn't bother me personally - just something to note.
Webcam/Camera: I was actually impressed with the quality of the camera/webcam on this device. I never expect a whole lot from webcams in the first place but I feel that this one was done well. No, this doesn't produce a crystal clear image but it does actually pretty well and has a lot of different filters you can apply (Probably like all Chromebooks) with the camera app. The delay is pretty minimal when you are moving side to side for example. It keeps up pretty well and not that I video-chat a lot, but I am content/happy with this camera and I think it takes decent pictures for a low cost laptop.
Charger: The charging port is a very small hole on the left side of the device but the charger does have a small power brick with it like most laptops I have seen (but not all). The charger/brick is lightweight though and shouldn't bother me. The device typically can go from extremely low power up to 100% charge in about 2 hours which then gives you 7-8 hours of use (more battery info below).
BATTERY USE UPDATE: Acer claims 7.5 hours and I promised to give my input after some more use. Screen brightness is the main factor to battery life from my experience. When having the brightness set to around 50% (a little dim for me), I can easily get over 8+ hours of battery. When at 100% brightness, I believe the battery life is more around 7 hours and so I have decided to keep my screen brightness around 70-75% and I have seen 7.5-8 hours of use on this setting while this C720P is brand new. This is based on pretty regular usage which consists of some YouTube video playing with sound, casual web browsing/email, and taking notes with Google Drive. When charging up from extremely low battery, it takes roughly 2 hours to get fully charged which I am happy with. I will try to continue to update the battery life if I notice it being any different or changing on me over time or in different situations.
After doing MORE battery testing from having this device even longer, I am seeing very good numbers by this C720P in its early life. In class taking notes on Google Drive, I was able to see 8+ hours of screen time. I say 8+ because I believe it was 8 hours 20 minutes and possibly a little more up to 8.5 hours. This is with screen brightness around 65% which for me is adequate for note taking/light browsing. I will continue to update as my usage increases and time goes on.
Why get a Chromebook?
For me, I am taking this to class each day and taking notes from my college professors. I type much faster than I write and this helps me get more information into my notes before moving to the next PowerPoint slide. This is a lightweight, small, easy to use device. It turns on very quickly, types well, and the touch screen makes it cooler but yet you are only spending $300.
This device is great especially as a secondary computer for just doing stuff on the Internet or taking to meetings, classes, etc. I don't have to put any anti-virus software on it or any extra programs so what you pay for the device is essentially all you pay for.
Chromebooks are, in my opinion, sort of between a tablet and a full laptop because they are not either. They are like a laptop in that they look and act like a laptop which is great because I just like having a track pad and keyboard attached to a screen/touchscreen. This device has 1 USB 3.0 port, 1 USB 2.0 port, HDMI out port, SD card slot, headphone port, a space where you can insert a cable to secure the Chromebook to a table or desk to avoid being stolen, really convenient buttons along the top row of the keyboard for back, forward, refresh, full screen mode, change page, brightness, and volume. They are like a tablet in that they cannot technically do everything your typical laptop can. They don't install programs (they install apps from the Chrome web store) and they do not have a CD drive (although more and more laptops are getting rid of their CD drives).
I really like Chrome OS which is what this device runs instead of Windows 8 or Mac OS X. It is simple, quick, easy to use and get used to, and I really like that about it and another big reason I went with a Chromebook.
Updates to come:
Performance: Still doing some testing on this and I will update after a few days of both regular and heavy use.
Comment and let me know what else you are interested in knowing about through my review and I will update that as well!
For those that have the device/are ordering, here are some tips and tricks I have found using the unique touch screen:
1. Swipe your finger from the left side of the screen over to the right and release -- this will act as a "back" button.
2. Swipe your finger from the right side of the screen over to the left and release -- this will act as a "forward" button.
3. Touch the "minimize browser" square in the top right of the screen, swipe down and release. This will minimize your browser by using the touch screen.
4. Using the same "square" in the top right of your browser screen, you can touch it and swipe left to put the page to the left of the screen.
5. Using that same square again, swipe right to put your current browser page on only the right half of the screen. This is nice because for me, it really covers just half of the screen - great if needing to multitask.
6. Swipe up on the top right square and it will "maximize" your browser page.
on December 11, 2013
I purchased the Acer C720P and have been using it since early December. It has been a really great computer to use and, in some ways, it has become my main computer that I use now.
Very fast performance
Boots is seconds
Fully charges in ~1 hour
Long battery life
Viewing angles are just OK
Sound is "tinny"
This is a great computer. However, it is a Chromebook and as such, people considering it for purchase should be aware that this is Google's ChromeOS and not a Windows system. If you use many of Google's services, as I do, you will feel right at home with ChromeOS. For those of you not familiar with ChromeOS, it is an operating system based on Google's Chrome browser and it requires an internet connection for optimal use. So, if you are looking for a system in this price range to browse the web, check e-mail, make video calls (Google Hangouts, NOT Skype) and some other light computing, this is probably on of the best values available. There are no programs to load, so you simply log in with your Google account and you are good to go. Google has made Gmail, Docs, Sheets, and Slides available for offline use (although, I must admit, it was a little tougher than I expected to get Docs, Sheets and Slides setup for offline use). Google gives you 100GB of cloud storage (for two years) when you purchase the Chromebook.
The C720P has a touchscreen and I find myself using the touchscreen for scrolling webpages and navigating though webpages. I discovered accidentally that you can move webpages back or forward by simply swiping your finger across the screen! Really cool! This can also be done be sliding both fingers across the trackpad.
If you have any needs for installed apps such as MS Office (and Office Web Apps do not meet your needs), Photoshop, or other programs, then perhaps a Chromebook is not for you. Otherwise, as long as you know what ChromeOS can and cannot do, I believe this is one of the best Chromebooks available today.
4/19/2014 - Update - I purchased this Chromebook since it was released and I am feeling the need to update this initial review now that I have been using it for a while. The Acer 720P has become my daily driver while I am on the road and even at home. Since the Chromebook was released, Google has updated ChromeOS multiple times, adding in supervised users and also pinch to zoom, which is great for the touchscreen! Battery life is very solid and the 7.5 hours they quote is real as long as you stay with Acer's default brightness settings. If you increase brightness, battery is closer to 5-7 hours depending on how bright you set it. The main thing I appreciate about this Chromebook is its performance. It is pretty snappy and, after 5 months of use, it lives up to Google's claim of only getting better. There has not been any noticeable degradation in performance of the Acer C720P.
on December 18, 2013
I just recently joined the world of google with my purchase of the Acer C720P chromebook. I won’t bombard you with a bunch of technical talk about what makes the hardware so much better than another comparable product, because frankly it doesn’t answer the question, “is it right for me?” I have had the same Toshiba laptop for the past four years, and with me getting tired of the constant lag behind of doing simple tasks, i decided to purchase this chromebook. When I purchased it, I was well aware of what I was getting. I did not feel like shelling out twice as much money for material I know I will never use. With that being said, know that I use my computers for average web-surfing and homework. I do not play a ton of games or watch a ton of videos, my usage of these products are very limited. If this at all sounds like you, than this chromebook is for you.
The keyboard: Has a nice spacing out, and while some dislike the “chiclity” type keys, I feel they are sturdy enough to handle the most common bit of word processing. Hitting the shift button while trying to capitalize certain letters has gotten be hitting the arrow buttons, but that may just be my inexperience. There is no function keys, which someone who has had a chromebook before probably knows this already. I do like the easy access to volume adjustments at the top of the keyboard. Overall, it feels just like a keyboard, I can type on it comfortably, so this really isn’t a deal breaker.
The touchpad: Is what threw me off at first, I am used to the touchpad with the left and right click buttons. This touch pad has an integrated button so it is something new, as convenient as that may be, I have been having trouble with the “right-click.” Otherwise, I do not feel any lag when I use it, but I did have to adjust the touchpad speed, but that is just a preference.
Software: It runs on googleOS.. DUH. So it doesn’t leave as many options to have your special programs and applications like some other OS. Though you can run Ubuntu I have decided that it really isn’t that big of a deal to me. The common applications, google docs and other things I would need for my homework is just as easy, for me, to use as microsoft office. It is just like other chromebooks, so that would sum that up.
The screen: At times the deal breaker, I know I’m paying 300 dollars for the entire product, that the screen was not going to be outstanding. I am however, extremely impressed. Like I mentioned before, I don’t plan to do much video watching but this screen is better than the one than my old laptop, which at the time cost around the same price. The touchscreen just sweetens up the deal. It works effortlessly and have not experienced any kind of problem, except for the occasional clicking on the wrong thing, but i did that on my $250 tablet.
Overall: This was probably the best $300 I have ever spent. It is perfect for what I will use it for. Virtually silent until you lay your head next to the SSD. The screen while not being the LED screen you may want, well worth what you paid for. I look at it as the price of the tablet, but with that you are getting an attached keyboard and 100GB free on google drive for two years. This is a great school chromebook and business chromebook, and anyone who is looking to just do some homework and web-surfing would love. Just know, you are not getting the top of the line laptop, but you are getting a high quality piece of equipment with no bloatware and no worries. I plan on looking at chromebook in the future.
on December 17, 2013
I'm a former Apple fan-boy who has always been forced to used Windows everywhere and pretended to like it. This is now my third Chromebook to purchase. I have the ultra-chic and really-pricey Chromebook Pixel and love it... but I got this Acer C720P for an employee of mine and have now started buying them for my parents and other people as gifts because they're such a tremendous value for the money. Everything's great, from the keyboard to the screen to the speakers. I have to say, speakers are so important to me on a small computer, and these are AMAZING, cranking out really loud, rich sound that doesn't distort.
For those of you considering a switch to Chrome OS, just do it! I haven't looked back once, have traveled to half a dozen countries with my Chromebook, and have never had a problem. Everything I do is online anyway, and there are offline versions of Gmail and Google Sheets... but then again, I've pretty much never been without a connection anywhere... and if I am without a wi-fi connection, I create one from my phone, or I just use my phone, or I rent a 4G/Wi-Fi hotspot in other countries (sometimes free if you rent a place through airbnb in a lot of countries, otherwise about $5-10/day if you rent one at a foreign airport). And as you know, more and more of google's apps are usable offline.
Everything works through Chrome, you can store files locally but just as easily save to your Google drive on the cloud... at this price, I think I'm getting something that would/should be over $1000... and something that wasn't even imaginable a few years ago... if you told me there'd be a lightweight, touchscreen computer, with 8 hours of battery life for this price I never would have believed it. If you then told me that I'd never have to worry about the thing getting viruses and all my docs would be stored online, I'd never believe you. I used to have panic thinking about backups and what happens if I lose, forget, or have my computer stolen... not anymore...
I'm sold, I'm sold, I'm sold. Once you try one, you'll want to buy others for friends and family... plus it's Amazon, you can try it for a while and if you don't like it, return it.... but I think you'll love it. And before anyone gets negative about anything, remember you're talking about some amazing features for an extremely attractive price... you should be highly supportive of anything that is such a game changer as this computer, because the competition brings about new features and lower prices and helps consumers everywhere.
You'll love it. Side-by-side next to a macbook air, this has it beat hands down when you consider pricing and features... and with the extra money you have two people can book a week trip to Hawaii including airfare if you shop your trips out right...
on April 10, 2014
Disclaimer: I have been developing software and hardware for well over 25 years. Most of our products have been based on Microsoft operating systems. I also have experience with the Intel Macintosh and a number of different tablets including Android, Windows 7, Windows 8 pro, Windows 8.1 pro and two Asus RT 8.0 systems. When I first heard of Google's efforts to produce a cloud based laptop, which was essentially the Google browser, I scoffed. Chromebooks did not make sense, particularly given the insanely high cost of the initial Chromebooks.
After watching the Samsung Chromebook remain at the top of the list of best-selling Amazon laptops for many months, I decided to pick one up and give it a try. I can't say at first that I was blown away, but I could definitely see the potential offered by inexpensive systems with minimal exposure to malware and stealthy updates which almost never delay access to the system or introduce unwanted glitches. The more I used my Samsung the more I began to depend upon it for day to day tasks such as answering emails, modifying contracts, testing and managing our websites, web searches and entertainment.
I began to fantasize about an affordable Chromebook with touchscreen access. When Acer announced the availability of the 720P Chromebook replete with touchscreen, I bit the bullet and ordered. I was able to order from Amazon using my prime account and expected delivery within two days. However, it seems that my order was passed off from UPS to the postal service and it arrived a day late. To Amazon's credit, I received an email apology and credit of $10.00 to my account because of the delay in delivery.
The external package tape was broken as if dropped, but the device seems fine (this kind of external package damage is a first for me with Amazon electronics.) Two things immediately caught my attention when I opened the Chromebook box ... (1) the increased weight and bulk compared to my Samsung and (2) the extra-large power supply with heavy-duty power lines and cable running to the computer. As I charged the device, I could feel some heat on my thigh next to the laptop power socket. Perhaps, the saving grace is that it seems to fully charge within an hour or so. Heat on the bottom of the unit is considerably less noticeable when running on battery alone.
The screen is bright and touch seems to work well. I noticed touch zoom was added to many more websites after a background upgrade. The keyboard, for this hunt and peck user, is good and better than the Samsung Chromebook. The audio is the best of any of my portable devices. Loud without distortion and enough bass to allow for me listen for extended periods. The Samsung is thinner and lighter and I will miss that, but the Acer machine feels more substantial and not uncomfortably thick or heavy.
I can't emphasize enough how nice it is to log on, enter your Google account and have everything running in minutes! Chrome OS is limited and this may change as it matures but this instant on and install is addictive. It shames all other OSs. We shall see if Chrome OS can grow and stay as user-friendly. I think I spent all of two minutes booting and logging in before I had a machine with most of my settings and apps intact and installed!
One major disappointment. I frequently use LG (700 and 730) Bluetooth headsets to listen to streamed music from my Amazon and Xbox music accounts. I have encountered frequent problems with Bluetooth streamed audio when using Windows 8 tablets and Windows RT tablets after upgrading to either 8.1 or subsequent Microsoft / OEM system updates. I have no problems at all using Bluetooth headsets with the Samsung Chromebook. However, if I'm any significant distance away from the Wi-Fi router when using the 720P audio may skip or pause and Netflix videos will repeatedly pause at least every 30 seconds. If I am closer to the router, Bluetooth and Netflix seem to work fine. I see this issue even when I have three bars in the Wi-Fi signal strength icon. Importantly, while in the exactly same distant location, I was able to watch Netflix video and listen to the same audio using the Samsung Chromebook paired with my LG Bluetooth headsets without issue.
Bluetooth is not exactly a new standard and I am dismayed at the difficulties manufacturers and software developers have in producing portable devices that can take advantage of streamed audio without hiccups or pauses! Inevitably, Microsoft seems to first give and then later take away reliable streamed Bluetooth audio in many of its portable devices. I had hoped that I would fare better with Chrome OS devices. Apparently, consistently supporting quality Bluetooth audio is beyond the skill set of Chipset, Google and Microsoft engineers.
I plan to continue to experiment with my Bluetooth Devices and media streamed to my Chromecast dongle. If issues with Netflix paired with Bluetooth audio persist, I suspect I will return the Acer. Perhaps I am odd man out in expecting portable device manufacturers to deliver systems fully supporting quality Bluetooth audio streaming.
Update: Bluetooth and Wi-Fi seem to interact when using Intel based devices. I raised my Linksys router about four feet above the desk by mounting on a microphone stand and can use the Acer 720P to stream Netflix and XBox music with less re-buffering and pauses. That said, I still experience no issues raised or not when using the Samsung Chromebook in the same location.
The more I use the 720P the more I appreciate the touchscreen. I no longer use my beloved Asus Windows RT tablet much. It still serves its original purpose of testing our websites and checking email, but the almost constant nagging to "update" to RT 8.1 has becoming tiresome. Win RT 8.1 kills BT audio and the built-in camera flash and we will not install 8.1 until absolutely forced to.
I mentioned the improved touch pinch to contract and zoom in my initial comments. This update makes the touchscreen far more attractive. I just updated my Win RT 8 tablet two times. Each update put the tablet out of service for at least 20 minutes. Currently, Chromebook devices update without any noticeable interruption and is a huge bonus. Would be interesting to see how many hours, weeks or months are lost when updating Windows machines.
Streaming from Chrome tabs seems to work well enough for a show and tell, but the color on my Vizio TV with Chromecast is nothing to write home about. It was disappointing when I discovered video play back from internally stored files cannot be Chromecast. Using Chromecast takes a noticeable toll on battery life.
UPDATE 2: Microsoft has released direct links to online Office Word, Excel and One Note. Office links can be found in the Chrome store. Having the icons and links in your Chrome Apps pop up menu makes it easier to use online Office Apps. Unfortunately, Save downloads the file to your Chromebook memory rather than One Drive or Google Drive. I drag the file to Google Drive and delete from the Chromebook. A bit of a pain.
Battery life seems to be significantly better than what I get when using the Samsung but, no formal comparisons have been made. Even with Wi-Fi / Bluetooth issues, the long battery life and touchscreen makes this a keeper.
on December 25, 2013
I actually bought this on Acer website. But, thought my review will help others on Amazon.
I have had the original CR-48 chromebook from Google (sent free) 3 yrs ago. It revolutionized the way we use home computer. I had to choose another chromebook, for sure, as I knew I was not going to get the battery life, performance, durability, reliability from a Windows machine (with the web only use, which is what chromebook is meant for).
I did a lot of study and on different manufacturers for a chromebook. This Acer 720P ended up being my choice. First, I have to commend Acer for many things. I ordered on the morning of Dec 23. It was in my hands next day, on Christmas Eve. Acer offered free overnight shipping along with 10% discount on that day. I only paid $285 (incl. tax). Also, they probably charged the laptop full. Because when I opened it, it was 80% full. I never expected to have it that soon and that service from Acer.
This computer totally exceeded my expectations.
. Keyboard: Feels great with rugged feel on the buttons.
. Trackpad: I have had trackpad issues when lower part of thumbs were touching and taking the mouse/focus somewhere on the screen. No such issues on this one. The size seems to be right for my fast keyboard typing.
. Screen: I was impressed on the quality, for the price. It is not matted look, like I had with CR-48. CR-48 was 13.4" which was little larger than this one.
. Weight: Lightest you can get. Just 2.4lbs. This was one of main criteria to buy a mobile laptop. Feels good in hands and to carry it around
. Construction: The base/keyboard feels nice and sturdy. The back of the screen is pasticy, but that does not impact the use of it. It helps keep the laptop from tipping over with light weight. You do not touch it while using the laptop anyway.
. Sound: Awesome. I have not had a laptop that sounded as good as this one. Acer did an excellent job on this one.
. Google Goodies: Always welcome
. Ports: I wanted HDMI for sure. Not many lightweight laptops offered it. This had it along with USB. I wanted the ability to connect to an external HDMI device. So, this was perfect.
. Touch: I was really impressed with the touch capabilities of the screen. It is as good as a top of the line tablet. No issues in using it so far.
. Performance: Did not see any slowdown when using heavy websites. Scrolling was smooth, and pages loaded faster.
. Memory: I preferred the 4GB version but that has not been available from Acer or Amazon for a long time. So, settled with 2 GB. Not sure if that would be a constraint during the lifetime of this machine. But, so far, the machine is handling anything I throw at it.
. Battery: We hate to keep the laptops for charging in the middle of the day. This is another criteria for me (to last the battery all day long). I did not run out of the battery yet. When I fully charge it, it says 11:30 hrs, which was awesome! I have been using it for 3/4 hr now, playing video locally and on Chromecast, it is now at 85% full, with 7:17hrs left. Could not be happier.
.Chromecast: This was the surprise for me. The youtube casting to the TV was instantly HD quality and very smooth. With CR-48, the casting took sometime to get to decent quality. That shows that the performance of this Acer is much better.
This is only the first day of my use with this machine. I will update as I use it. At this point, I am excited to have this chromebook for the price I paid and the features it came with.
on December 12, 2013
To be honest, I am very new to the chromebook world however after only a few hours of using this machine I am instantly hooked!! I currently have an old dell inspiron and MacBook (2008) so this was a big leap for me. My primary goal with this unit is to work online when needed and occasionally write documents and basic projects for my young kids (3 & 6).
Shipping: Took a few days longer than expected but despite the cold temperatures, the unit came undamaged and was sealed properly as I would expect it to be.
Unboxing: Chromebook was operational within 3-4 seconds of pressing the power button and battery life showed almost 80% right from the start. Everything was included as it should be and all items worked when plugged in.
Screen: I have seen some reviewers complain about a blue tint on the screen however I did not notice that. I realize this is not a pixel or MacBook etc but for the cost I am extremely pleased with the screen thus far. I used the laptop in low light and with full overhead lights yet no issues for me on this front.
Sound: I wasn't blown away by the sound when I was on ESPN however I have external speakers so I am not overly concerned with that. If I need to use the sound for an educational game or youtube then the internal speakers should suffice but I think you could do yourself a favor and purchase a Bluetooth speaker ( I have bose sound link mini and it is amazing).
Keyboard / Track pad: This was a major point of contention for me before the unboxing because of my experience with my brother's Samsung chromebook. I hated that track pad and was concerned this would come off as flimsy and cheap. I am glad to report that my fear was unjustified and I was actually pleasantly surprised with how natural and easy it felt to use this. I didn't get the feeling of a "lesser unit" while typing and clicking the pad. So far so good!
Touchscreen: I had to keep telling myself "this isn't a tablet" and be careful when pressing the screen. I guess for me this takes some time getting used to however the screen was very responsive when I clicked on the toolbar or highlighted certain things and clicked on a link etc. For $299 to have a touchscreen that works I am extremely happy!!
I was able to put my usb drive in easily and my word documents opened up EXACTLY as they had with my Dell. So all of my saved files that I intend to transfer to the C720p look like they will be intact and that is an added bonus. Again, I am new to the google side of things but overall I am happy with my experience and going forward I anticipate the chromebook will continue to make major headway over Microsoft and possibly certain apple laptops (which are nice but way overpriced IMO).
Cons: My only real issue so far is that I wish this came with 4gb of memory as opposed to 2gb. It certainly isn't a deal breaker for me but it is nice to have that option. I was able to open 5 tabs and didn't feel the performance lagged for me. I have not tried using chromecast yet and hope that this model will suffice when using the cast. I will update once I have had a chance to merge the 2 together I am sure an update with this model will come in the next 4-6 months but for now this laptop does what I need it to and I love this purchase.