Recently, Acer began shipping their brand new “AC700” Wi-Fi model, the lowest priced Chromebook to hit the market. As it turns out, despite its low price, it’s a solid option for not just budget-minded buyers, but anyone who wants a new Chromebook.
The Acer AC700 Chromebook (Wi-Fi) is a great option for someone who wants the benefits of a Chromebook without spending a lot of money. Its internal hardware specs are extremely similar to the more expensive Samsung Series 5 (a 1.66Ghz dual-core N570 processor, super fast SSD drive, 2 GB of RAM, and 1.3 MP webcam). Even at its lower price, it still provides all the same revolutionary built-in security/privacy benefits and speed optimizations found in other Chromebooks.
The 2GB of RAM is higher than the 1GB you get in most netbooks under $500, and unlike a tablet, it’s nice to have an actual keyboard to work with. The Acer’s keyboard has special keys that can help you multi-task and navigate the web/work/play faster.
The 11.6″ anti-glare screen has an HD resolution of 1366 x 768, which is a higher resolution than you’ll find on most 11.6-Inch netbooks. The higher resolution gives the AC700 a very crisp, high-def look when watching movies or looking at photos. This, in addition to the optimizations Chromebooks have for playing streaming video result in a much better HD video-watching experience than you get with a netbook of the same price. You can play streaming HD videos from Youtube in 720p or 1080p without experiencing stuttering or jerkiness.
Interestingly, even though the Acer AC700 Wi-Fi Chromebook is less expensive than the Samsung Series 5, it comes with a digital HDMI port for optionally hooking up to a an external HD display — something the Samsung oddly lacks (The Samsung model has an older-style analog VGA display port instead).
All in all, we think the Acer AC700 Wi-Fi Chromebook is the current best choice for getting a Chromebook on a budget. If money is not an object, you may want to look at other models for bells and whistles, but if you’d like to spend as little as possible on a cloud notebook without compromising on features or performance, the Acer AC700 is currently the best option.
- Very lightweight and compact (slightly lighter and smaller than the 12.1″ Samsung model).
- Nearly identical specs to the Samsung Series 5 for a much lower price.
- Very, very fast — the AC700 can go from powered-off to surfing the web in about 10 seconds.
- Digital HDMI port for hooking up to an external monitor/TV/projector (The Samsung has an older VGA port).
- Exceptional video streaming performance for sites like Netflix, Hulu, and Youtube.
- HD display has an anti-glare finish for use in bright lighting or outdoors.
- Long battery life (approximately 6 hours).
- Samsung model has longer battery life (8.5 hours).
- If you’re using the AC700 for a lot of movies and music you may want to use external speakers or headphones.
Overall Rating: (4.5)