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I bought the Acer C720 Chromebook as I wanted a smallish lightweight laptop to carry around with me on my trips. Whether it’s for working or pleasure this Chromebook is lightweight coming in at just 1.25Kg, compared to my regular HP 15.6inch laptop weighing in at 2.32Kg.

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So having perused around the web looking for one to suit my needs I eventually opted for the Acer C720.

If it isn’t entirely clear to everyone by now, Chromebooks are certainly becoming the “in thing” to own right now. And more importantly for budget-conscious computer buyers, inexpensive prices are the norm for these browser-centric laptops (save for the Pixel, of course). Google and its partners have peppered the landscape with Chromebooks hitting the £199 to £299 price range, and I picked mine at a well known high st, come retail park outlet on my business account for just £178, the retail price is £198.99

Although it occupies the same price point as the underpowered Samsung offering, the C720 packs a surprising amount of punch. Read along and see the merits of the Acer C720 Chromebook, and why it may just be your best choice when it comes to value in the Chromebook space.

The main chassis and lid of the laptop is a shiny ash-grey plastic, fused together with matte hard plastic on the bottom. Around the display is a hyper-glossy piano black plastic finish, accented with some rubber nubs along the top edge to keep the screen off the keyboard, and a VGA webcam at the top centre. Apart from the screen bezel, the C720 didn’t seem to pick up dirt or fingerprints at all — something about the texture of the grey plastic kept it clean with use.

The bottom of the laptop has a couple big intake grilles for the fans, as well as necessary pads to keep the air flowing, paired up with one exhaust vent in the hinge area — it’s an unfortunate necessity of having a full Intel processor on-board here, but as we’ll discuss below it’s well worth the tradeoff. Considering the liberal use of what we can only imagine is low-grade plastic, the C720 holds together extremely well, and doesn’t creak or flex in any noticeable amount — far less than what’s been said of the HP Chromebook 11 or Samsung Chromebook.

Starts in seconds

The Acer C720 boots up in less than 7 seconds, I’ve not had load up in more than 5 to 6 seconds and it never slows down. As it’s continually updated, the Acer C720 Chromebook will only get better over time, as the software “settles in”. From the first start, once I had setup the Wi-Fi there was a software OS update waiting. Login with your Google account then you’ll be immersed in the Google ecosystem and able to instantly access all your Google apps data. Thanks to a state-of-the-art Intel processor, everything happens quickly, and I do mean quick and very, very smooth.

The always-new computer

The 11.6″ Acer C720 Chromebook is a hassle-free, updating the software in the background, high-performance computer built for speed, simplicity and security. It boots up in seconds, updates itself automatically, and comes with all the Google apps you like. The C720 has everything you need to watch videos, play games, explore the Internet, and get work done.

Keyboard Shortcuts

The Chromebook has a gazillion well not that many but, it certainly has a plenty of shortcut keys, so knock yourself out training your fingers to do some new gymnastics.  Press Ctrl-? and you’ll see the help panel shown below.

Built-in security

The Acer C720’s cloud-based Chrome OS offers a hassle-free experience requiring no manual updates. It’s immune to viruses, so you can explore the web worry-free. In addition, with multiple layers of built-in security features like sand-boxing, data encryption and verified boot, the Acer C720 is the ideal computer for connecting to free Wi-Fi hotspots in cafe’s etc.

Looking at the internal specifications, you’re getting a pretty solid unit for your money. Keeping things moving inside the C720 is a dual-core 1.4GHz Intel Celeron 2955U processor — that’s a Haswell micro-architecture version — paired with 4GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. For ports, you’ll fare better than you may expect: one of each USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, an SDcard slot, full HDMI out, headphone and microphone jack. For power, you’ve got a three-cell 3950 mAh lithium-polymer non-removable battery.

As for the dimensions, the C720 is relatively slender in the wide range of laptops, but is a bit chunkier than its immediate competition. We’re looking at an 11.3-by-8-inch footprint, with a thickness of 0.8 inches and a weight of 1.25Kg.

Looks are abstract, of course, but Acer has clearly cut back on the design budget with the C720. To say there’s simply no style or flair here, is right but, it just looks like any other random laptop out there. Save for the small “Chrome” logo in the top left corner of the lid, you wouldn’t know what OS it runs at a glance.

But in the end, that’s quite alright, it does the job. Because Acer has instead spent money delivering great hardware values. For the same price as the aforementioned machines, you’re getting a laptop with the same flash storage, screen size and resolution, but with twice the RAM, Bluetooth v4, 1x USB 2, 1xUSB 3 and a bonafide Intel Haswell processor. And we all know that internal hardware makes a big difference.

So, How did I find my first week using the Acer C720?

On my first day I charged it up and one day later (to the hour) the battery power is sitting at 47%. I have been using it quite a lot to get used to the keyboard layout as there’s no delete or insert buttons to be found. I have also spent a load of time loading extensions for my writing etc. Here is a list of Chromebook shortcuts

Using the Acer c720 for the past week has been a good positive experience for me. One that I have embraced fully, although there’s some shortcomings mainly getting used to the keyboard with the shortcuts, but as with any new device that you have never used before “patience is a virtue” as they say.

Carrying it around London was not a problem, the weight was not noticeable at all. Easy to get out of my TYTL backpack with it’s built-in pockets not only for laptops but also for tablets.

I didn’t have to charge it at all during to my trip but, was down to 11% battery life left when I reach home which was great, given that my trip was 49 hours long.

Look out for our review of the TYLT backpack coming soon.

Acer C720 page

 

 

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Dave Thornton

Senior Editor

Senior Editor
Been involved in technology for many years, more than I care to remember. Live in Dundee, Scotland. I like Android, Windows Phone OS, BlackBerry OS and iOS, and love writing about all things techie. Currently have a Honor 6+, Elephone P6000, Nexus 5, Chrombook C720, HTC One M7, Nokia Lumina 625, Microsoft Lumia 435, Blackberry Q10, HTC Hero and iPad mini