This week Acer launched their second Google Chrome OS powered laptop. The new model, dubbed Acer C7 Chromebook, has become available for purchase in Best Buy stores and online through Google Play and Bestbuy.com. Other than simply being a new Chromebook the new Acer C7 has also claimed the title of cheapest Chromebook with it’s $199 price in the United States, although only Samsung’s new $250 Chromebook is offered as a an alternative to Acer’s new offering.
Internals That Differ
Compared to the Samsung offering the Acer offers an Intel brand processor and a traditional 320 GB spinning hard drive (5400 RPM-type). The new Samsung Chromebook uses an ARM processor that is made by Samsung’s own ARM SoC (system on chip) processor division and system storage is handled by a 16 GB solid state drive.
The Samsung Chromebook’s ARM processor is the 1.7 GHz dual-core Exynos 5250, the 5250 is one of the fastest ARM processors offered by Samsung. In contrast the Acer C7 uses a x86 processor from Intel called Celeron 847, the 847 offers dual processing cores clocked at 1.10 GHz for a balance between power and battery efficiency –not to mention cost, the 847 is among Intel’s most affordable chips for a OEM like Acer to use in a laptop computer.
Other than the difference in processor and system storage technologies the Acer and Samsung have a few other features that differ. For instance the Samsung has a one USB 3.0 port and one USB 2.0 while the Acer has three USB 2.0 ports. Going further the Samsung lacks a native VGA port which the Acer has, both systems have HDMI ports though. Another thing is the Acer has an HD webcam while the Samsung has only VGA (640-by-480) resolution support for its built-in webcam. feature is the battery similar hardware features.
The two systems do both come with dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n chips, 2 GB of DDR3 RAM, chiclet keyboards and 11.6-inch displays with HD native resolutions of 1366-by-768. Also with both systems you get 100 GB of free cloud storage from Google’s Drive service for two years (effective from the day you redeem the offer).
Battery Life a Weakness
If good battery life is something you want in your new Chromebook the new Acer C7 isn’t for you. The 4-cell battery that is included with the $199 laptop promises only 3.5 hours of outlet-free operation.
The battery life issue could be very problematic for early adopters of the new C7 because there is no optional accessory being offered that can extend the systems battery life at this time (this could change with time). However things are all bad the Acer C7 has a user removable battery which will make adding third-party battery packs (when they become available) to the laptop easy.
The new Samsung Chromebook with its low-power ARM processor is said to last up to 6.5 hours with its battery. Is the possibility of an extra three hours of battery life worth an extra $50 to you?
Chromebook Prices Fall. Will Consumer Interest Rise?
Acer’s new C7 and the new Samsung Chromebook have something else in common that goes beyond hardware features, the two new Chromebooks are offered at prices that are significantly lower than their first-generation siblings. Was price what held back the first few Chromebooks back? Possibly, but it was probably the fact that Chrome OS is just too new and many people still don’t know what it is.
Many have pointed out that a Chromebook isn’t near as useful as a laptop running a desktop OS like Linux, Mac OS X or Windows. And those people aren’t wrong the current benefits of owning a Chromebook over a laptop running traditional desktop operating systems are insignificant in the face of the current disadvantages to owning a Chromebook.
Yes, Chrome OS is simple to use and users don’t have to worry about installing their own anti-virus software or having to make sure their OS is up-to-date. However those features don’t make up for relatively small application library being offered at this time in the Google Play store. Also most of the applications offered to Chrome OS users are also available to anyone using Google’s free Chrome browser.
When you get to the very bottom of it there really is nothing major that you can only do with a Chromebook. And without a significant must-have feature consumer interest in Chrome OS is likely to remain where it is now.