Acer and Google Hope a $199 Chrome OS Laptop is What the People Want

Posted on 15. Nov, 2012 by in Laptops, Laptops

Acer C7 Chromebook frontThis 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

Acer C7 Chromebook backCompared 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.

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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.

Acer C7 Chromebook keyboardOther 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.

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5 Responses to “Acer and Google Hope a $199 Chrome OS Laptop is What the People Want”

  1. Jeff Yablon

    15. Nov, 2012

    This one is a bad idea. Bad battery, too heavy for the form factor, too thick. The Samsung, on the other hand, at just $50 more, is pretty great: http://answerguy.com/2012/11/05/google-chromebook-desktops-browser-business-change/

  2. SMP

    16. Nov, 2012

    I agree, but there are some – school kids mainly – who want the cheapest price that their pocket money will stretch to.

    There are also lots of Windows fanboys out there who simply don’t understand computers but imagine they do.
    They look at the disk size requirement of a bloated OS like Windows which also stores all user data and application programs locally and imagine that the 16GB SSD use for an ultra compact fixed size OS which stores all its data and apps on remote servers, and don’t understand that Chromebook’s 16GB fast SSD + 100GB online cloud user data storage + infinite online storage for applications (+ additional USB drive/Smartcard flash storage if the user requires) is more and better than the 320GB slow mechanical hard drive is required for low end non-Ultrabook Windows devices. Since these guys are not working for a living, the battery life doesn’t really matter.

    They also don’t understand that a fat OS like Windows will run much slower than ChromeOS on the same hardware because the Windows OS hogs more RAM, and Windows applications don’t all use graphics, audio and video codecs to the extent that Chromebooks – many Windows applications rely on the x-86 CPU’s multi-media instructions to provide this acceleration even if the hardware is present on the device, and these are a lot slower than Chromebooks not only in the codec processing itself, but because they slow down other CPU tasks while they are doing this. The Chromebook which only run one application a fully hardware accelerated browser which is optimised to use the hardware acceleration available on the device fully and so will run much faster than similarly spec’ed Windows devices when it comes to video, audio, and graphics and multi-tasking with these apps.

    I think that from various blog posts, Google has realised that there is a class of cash-limited computer fanboy type user who thinks they are wizz kids on computer literacy, but are actually very ignorant, and Google is providing a device for these people as well.

    It is also a good device for computer literate people who want to flip the developer switch and install a Linux distribution.

  3. Mike Smithson

    16. Nov, 2012

    People have got to get their heads round the notion that at these prices the world of computing has changed.

    I’ve had my Samsung for three weeks now and haven’t touched my traditional lap-top or tablet.

    The Chromebook is much faster for browsing, lighter, has a longer battery life and is totally hassle-free.

    Gone are the days of repetitive up dates or having to be concerned and viruses.

    I just love the 7 second start-up and the instant shut down. I love the fact that it is totally silent – because there is no fan.

    And if you’ve got a modern smart-phone then you’ll have no problems finding a wifi connect – because they have portable hot-spots built in.

    On top of it all the Samsung is lovely to type on.

  4. Bruce Rosenberg

    16. Nov, 2012

    Thanks for the insight into the world of chrome OS and chrome books, I am especially interested in the Samsung.
    Which I suppose one could remove the small SSD and replace it with a larger one, say 128 Gb

  5. JR Namida

    03. Dec, 2012

    This is a fast computer using Chromebooks, not as fast as the Samsung but faster than most 6 year old computers people use at home.. For a WiFi location this is a great one, and priced well for most people, tis also light enough for a woman to carry about without needing to change sex, & become a 7 feet tall NFL lineman.

    Flip the developer switch, and install several different operating systems. Now you have a great computer system with your favorite Distro, and all the free software you could ever want.

    Gimp is a perfect time waster for the artist on the bus or train as a commuter most of their working day. Libre or Open Office suite for the documents that you need to prepare for tomorrow or an early meeting. Print when you get to office or home…

    JR

    JR

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