Last year I reviewed Acer’s C7 Chromebook which I found while being a little on the cheap side was a nice simple notebook running Chrome OS. Late last year Acer released a new version of the C7 with a faster Haswell based processor.
The first thing I noticed is that the battery life has improved, you now get at least 6:30 hours out of the C720 (Acer say 8.5 hours) which is a big improvement over the 4 hours of the old device. The C720 feels a lot quicker than its predecessor which is probably due to losing the old spinning drive and gaining a 16GB SSD drive, the whole package is very quick and responsive. As Chrome OS is basically just the Chrome browser it doesn’t need a lot of power and even when opening multiple tabs the C720 feels nice and quick plus it starts up in seconds as well. It still only has 2GB of RAM but unless you have a ton of tabs open I can’t see it being a problem.
One of the benefits of the new processor and hard disk configuration is that the new Chromebook is lighter (1.2KG) and thinner than the old one. It still has a very plastic feel but for a cheap notebook it’s not too bad.
The screen runs at 1366×768 and has an anti-glare filter on it, the screen actually pretty nice and probably one of the best features of the notebook. The keyboard is of the island type and there isn’t a lot of travel on the keys, it does feel a little cheap but it’s perfectly useable. The trackpad is supports two finger scrolling and like the keyboard does the job but feels a little cheap.
For connectivity there is WiFi and Bluetooth, a single USB 3 port, a USB 2 port, HDMI (full sized), SD Card slot (full sized), power, headphone and Kensington Lock.
I probably don’t need to go too much into the Chrome OS, it just the Chrome browser as the UI and you can read my impressions of the OS in my original C7 review. As a no frills laptop for basic computing needs the C720 seems pretty good. If your needs are met by the browser then this could be a good choice. Personally I would rather use Windows 8 and have a touch screen device like my Surface.
The C720 costa £199 on Amazon.