Acer C7 Chromebook - What Is The Exchange For A Cheap Chrome OS (Part 2)

4/26/2013 11:36:58 AM

Display and sound

There is a big difference between LED backlighting 11.6inch screen, 1,366x769 pixels on both cheap Chromebook - Acer's screen is glossy when Samsung's is matte. In fact, this is the second Chromebook with a bright display (first is Acer's AC700). Colors are a bit cold on the C7, but the brightness, contrast and viewing angle are similar on both screens - neither is as bright as Series 5550, and surely you will want to adjust the lid to get a good viewing angle once you are in a comfortable position. While the Samsung's matte screen is easier for the eyes (especially when working outdoors), Acer's screen opens almost flat, which is a good thing.

Acer C7 Chromebook Review screen

Acer C7 Chromebook Review screen

Neither Chromebook will break the record of sound quality when using their built-in speakers. Their sound are tinny and easily blocked, because they are placed in the bottom shell near the front edge of the keyboard tray on both systems.  Samsung beat Acer on loudness here, but the C7's volume is still quite good in a quiet room.

Performance and battery life

$199 Acer's Chromebook has Intel Celeron 847 1.1GHz and 320GB hard drive. $249 Samsung's Chromebook is built with Exynos 5 Dual 1.7GHz (5250) SoC based on the company's A15 with 16GB of flash storage.  Either has dual-core CPU and 2GB of RAM, so it really is the fight between x86 vs. ARM and hard drive vs. SSD.  On Chromebook, processor speed usually affects things like page display and scrolling, amount of RAM affects how many tabs you can open at the same time, and storage performance often affects start-up time and page caching.

In our experience, Samsung's Exynos-packing system slot somewhere between the Chromebook equipped with Atom and Celeron-based models such as the Series 5550. Of course, they are all equipped with SSDs. C7 is anomaly - it's a little bit faster than its low-end brother, both in subjective and in influenced by results web rendering SunSpider test (528ms vs. 677ms), but it takes twice as long to boot (18 seconds vs. 9).  We do not remember facing any malfunction or hang - so, it is a completely competitive Chromebook provides average performance.

Battery life is another matter. Samsung's Chromebook is leading by equally specifications which can reach 6 hours 33 minutes in battery tests normal (including playing a repeated video from local repository with open Wi-Fi). Acer's Chromebook, which is rated four hours of operation, can only last 3 hours 16 minutes in the same test. Even though C7 features a smaller 2500mAh battery (vs. 4080mAh), it is also burdened with less-effective components such as 2.5-inch hard drive, Intel Celeron CPU and integrated cooling fan. Speaking of which, the fan is always spinning, even though it has different speeds, it is loud enough to be noticed. While it's somewhat annoying, it keeps the laptop cool even when the vents were covered a bit by the structure.


For many, the Chrome OS is an essential spice - you really have to live with it a few days to learn it. Although it's not for everyone, it is an attractive option once you understand the idea. Certain simplicity with cloud-based computing becomes clear once you start using a system designed to do just one good thing - what most people do: surf the Web. Do not worry much about the application management or software updates or lending your laptop - you can focus on increasing productivity. We have few fans among us at Engadget, and these dual low-end Chromebook are creating more interest than ever between colleagues, friends and family.

Acer's Chromebook runs Chrome OS version 23

Acer's Chromebook runs Chrome OS version 23

$199 Acer's Chromebook runs Chrome OS version 23. We evaluated the  version 19 earlier this year, which created one important change to the operating system - UI develops from almost a full screen instance of Chrome to a more similar with desktop experience provision, including wallpaper, task bar and start menu. It also introduced additional functional with an image editor, wider media compatibility, offline documents including Google Books, Hangout support, along with the tab-syncing with other versions of Chrome (mobile and desktop). That operating system version also comes with a Chrome Remote Desktop to access the system remotely and share your screen. Version 23, which is also present on the $249 Samsung's Chromebook, has a fixed login screen, additional background, calculator application, camera application (with modern filters) and deep integration Google Drive - along with 100GB of free storage for 2 years.


Whether you like the cloud-based computing low-end, or just curious about Chrome OS, there was never a cheaper Chromebook option. The $199 Acer's system surely wins on price, but it looked cheap. It provides fast processor with Ethernet connections and VGA, but at the cost of the glossy screen, poor keyboard layout and bad battery life. We've mentioned it as a bunch of cheap plastic, haven't we?

However, it's hard to ignore how C7 is tinker-friendly. The 2GB additional of RAM (by installing a second SODIMM) and replacing hard drive with SSD are a common way to reach the performance level of the Series 5550 with less money than buying a Google's top laptop - meanwhile, this Chromebook has been hacked to run other operating systems. Besides that, 4-cell Li-ion battery removable gives chance for larger capacity replacement battery.

After all, we think it is worth spending a little more for the $249 Samsung's model. It's elegant, well-built, thinner and lighter. Together with the matte screen, keyboard, Bluetooth and quite good battery life bring more subtle Chromebook experience. After all, if you plan to live in the clouds, you can choose cloud nine, right?


·         Product’s name: Acer C7 Chromebook

·         Price: $199


·         The cheapest chromebook so far

·         Fair performance

·         Hacker-friendly


·         Cheap build quality and materials

·         Poor keyboard layout

·         Short battery life


·         The $199 Acer system definitely wins on price, but it felt extremely cheap.

·         It provides fast processor in the exchange of the poor keyboard layout and short battery life.

It provides fast processor in the exchange of the poor keyboard layout and short battery life.

It provides fast processor in the exchange of the poor keyboard layout and short battery life.

Acer C7 Chromebook specifications

·         Type: netbook, ultrabook

·         Processor Name: Intel Celeron 847

·         Processor Speed: 1.1 GHz

·         Operating System: Google Chrome OS

·         Ram: 2 GB

·         Weight: 3.05 lb

·         Screen Size: 11.6 inches

·         Screen Type: Widescreen

·         Native Resolution: 1366x768p

·         Touchscreen: No

·         Graphics Card: Intel HD Graphics

·         Graphics Memory: 128 MB

·         Storage Capacity (As tested): 320 GB

·         Wireless Display Capability: No

·         WWAN (Mobile BroadBand): None

·         Battery Type: 37 Whr (Watt hour)

·         Tech Support: 1-year warranty


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