Acer Chromebook 11

While many Chromebooks try to stand out from the rest using features like rugged designs or tablet conversion, the Acer Chromebook 11 practically takes the opposite approach. 

The Acer Chromebook 11 is the non-convertible version of the Acer Chromebook R11, giving you everything you need from a Chromebook, with new gimmicks. You’re getting a long-lasting battery, a compact and light design, reliable performance and a super low price of $179 (£199, AU$329). Just wait until those Black Friday deals knock that price even lower, too.

Acer Chromebook 11 review

Design

Acer has found a way to make something that looks so plain stand out. The Acer Chromebook 11 has a beautiful white exterior decorated with a micro-diamond pattern etched into its cover for extra grip. It really pops on any non-white surface, especially with its two aluminum hinges. While the plastic casing might feel cheap at first, the notebook’s underlying performance helps you look past it.

Its 2.16GHz Intel Celeron processor and 16GB of internal storage give you just enough power and room to work with multiple web pages open at any given moment.

Meanwhile, the Acer's 11.6-inch, matte screen has wide viewing angles and no noticeable glare. The 1,366 x 768 resolution display is ideal for working in both indoor and outdoor settings, all while making web pages and streaming video look nice and crisp.

Other features include a single USB 3.0 port, one USB 2.0 port, an SD card reader, and an HDMI.

Acer Chromebook 11 review

Chromebook Style

The compact Chromebook keyboard takes some getting used to, especially if you're used to using a standard full-sized keyboard on a PC. Without the little niceties like backlit keys, it was a pain to use the computer in the dark while viewing movies.

Most of the time, browsing the internet goes smoothly, with responsive "Ok Google" voice searches and Chrome apps. However, with only 2GB of memory on tap, performance can also take a sudden nosedive when watching a few YouTube videos with a few other tabs open for music, email and web browsing.

Acer Chromebook 11 review

The downward facing speakers are more powerful than you might think, but the bass is pretty weak. They're best used atop a hard, flat surface to bounce the sound off of. Thankfully, the Chromebook has a set of side vents that allow sound to stream out, even if you have the laptop resting on soft surfaces, like your lap.

Overall the audio experience of the Chromebook is decent and you can comfortably hear videos and music, without necessarily having to use headphones or a Bluetooth speaker.

First reviewed April 2016

Measuring, just over 11.5 inches wide, 9 inches deep, and 0.73 inches thick, this Chromebook might not be the smallest or slimmest available (the Asus Chromebook Flip measures 10.6 x 7.2 x 0.60 inches), but it slips easily into a messenger bag or backpack.

It is also notably smaller than the Dell Chromebook 11, which is 11.69 x 8.57 x 0.83 inches. Despite having almost identical specifications to the Acer, the Dell is chunkier due to its rugged design built for the wear-and-tear of educational environments.

The Acer Chromebook 11 weighs 2.4 pounds (1.1 kg), which is about on par for small Chromebooks. Although the 1.96 pound (890g) Asus Chromebook Flip is lighter, the Acer beats the Dell Chromebook 11's 2.91-pound (1.32kg) military-spec bulk. That said, the Acer is remarkably easy to carry in one hand, and you can practically forget about it when tucked into a backpack.

Acer Chromebook 11 review

Spec Sheet

Here is the Acer Chromebook 11 configuration sent to techradar:

  • CPU: 2.16GHz Intel Celeron N2840 (dual-core, 1MB cache, up to 2.58GHz with turboboost)
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics
  • RAM: 2GB DDR3L SDRAM
  • Screen: 11.6-inch, 1,366 x 768 HD IPS LED
  • Storage: 16GB SSD
  • Ports: 1 x USB 3.0 ports, 1 x USB 2.0, HDMI, SD card reader, headphone jack
  • Connectivity: Intel 802.11ac; Bluetooth 4.0
  • Camera: 720p webcam
  • Weight: 2.4 pounds (1.1 kg)
  • Size: 11.57 x 9.33 x 0.73 inches (W x D x H)

Acer's 11-inch Chromebook has many of the same specifications as the Dell Chromebook 11, except the latter has a military-grade reinforced design to better survive classroom use, which is reflected in its $249 (£170, AU$320) price tag. That makes the Acer a more reasonable purchase at $179 (£199, AU$329) if you intend to be in less punishing environments.

At the same time, the Asus Chromebook Flip is lighter, and its touchscreen can be folded back to turn it into a Chrome OS tablet. However, at $249 (about £160, AU$337) for the base model, you'll have to decide whether those features are worth the extra eighty dollars.

Acer Chromebook 11 review

Performance

Being a Chromebook, all apps and activities run on the Chrome browser, which makes switching tasks as simple as clicking between browser tabs. Although the Chromebook 11 readily handles everyday tasks, performance can take a dip if you have too many demanding sites loaded simultaneously (i.e. heavy JavaScript, streaming video, etc).

Having multiple YouTube tabs open can have an especially noticeable impact, leading to delays in minimizing and maximizing videos.

Acer Chromebook 11 review

Benchmarks

Here's how the Acer Chromebook 11 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

  • Octane: 8,694
  • Mozilla Kraken: 3,800ms
  • Battery life (techradar movie test): 10 hours

The Acer Chromebook 11's Intel Celeron processor delivers plenty of performance compared to competing systems. It performed better across both the Octane and Mozilla Kraken JavaScript benchmarks than the Asus Chromebook Flip. The Asus scored 6,795 with Octane (a 1,899 point difference), and 5,447ms with Kraken, making it noticeably slower than the Acer.

Most of the heavy lifting is done in the cloud, so you'll have a smooth experience so long as you have a strong internet connection. The Chromebook did very well with recognizing my voice for Google searches and swiftly loaded up web pages and images. If you're looking for an extra feature that somehow makes the Acer stand out against other Chromebooks (such as tablet conversion or military-grade toughness), then you'll be disappointed.

Acer Chromebook 11 review

All-Day Battery

While Acer Cloudbook 11's battery is rated for about 9 hours, I managed to get 10 hours with the video test and the screen set at 50 percent brightness. Competitors like the Dell Chromebook 11 and the Asus Chromebook Flip both have between 8-9 hours of everyday use.

The Chromebook 11 packs plenty of power to last through a day's worth of watching YouTube videos, listening to streaming music, writing email, and checking documents in Google Docs. And when you do need to plug it in, the laptop charges up very quickly, so I could get going with the Chromebook without missing a beat.

When all you want is a straightforward, yet effective, Chromebook for a relatively low price, the Acer Chromebook 11 fits that need perfectly.

We liked

Small and light, the Acer Chromebook 11 sports a minimalistic white design while managing to stand out and look pretty stylish. Its bright screen has no noticeable glare and has excellent viewing angles for watching streaming video and view web content.

However, its most attractive features are long-lasting battery life and a low price tag. This is the ideal system to have around, provided you have a reliable internet connection, to quickly get through everyday tasks.

We disliked

Although the Acer Chromebook 11 adequately gets the job done, there is a such thing as being too straightforward. The plastic exterior can feel a little cheap, which almost borders on flimsy when you factor in its light weight.

I'm not a huge fan of the cramped non-backlit keyboard, and getting used to it is all the more difficult in low-light or dark environments. Lastly, even though the speakers have a lot of power behind them, they don't have very good bass, and they can be muffled when set on soft surfaces.

Final verdict

The Acer Chromebook 11 is a solid, inexpensive, Chromebook for everyday cloud computing. It has a stylish look, inoffensive matte display, and a low price tag, which should make it attractive to anyone looking for a decent Chromebook for work and entertainment.

As shown by its minimalist style, there's hardly a bell or whistle in sight, and the system does feel a little cheap at first. But the ease of access to everything you need with a click (or a quick "OK Google" quip) and its performance makes up for those shortcomings in the long run.



from TechRadar - Technology Reviews http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/laptops-portable-pcs/laptops-and-netbooks/acer-chromebook-11-1318612/review