If you need a laptop and are on a constrained budget, Acer has some new machines that could be just what you need.
That would be their new 11-inch C720 Chromebooks in 2 GB and 4 GB configurations priced at $199 and $249 respectively at Amazon.com with free shipping. That’s one-fifth the price of the cheapest MacBook, and less than half that of even an entry-level iPad Air.
Chromebooks are designed to be used connected to the Internet. You can create documents and spreadsheets or edit photos on a Chromebook using Google apps designed for these purposes. The Chrome operating system won’t support traditional PC software like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop, but files created in these applications can be viewed and edited using Google apps on the Chromebook or Cloud-based applications like Microsoft’s Office web apps.
The Acer C270s are not speed machines, powered by 1.4GHz Intel Celeron 2955U CPUs, but this new chip’s power sipping Haswell technology promises much-improved battery performance with a claimed runtime of 8.5 hours — just one half hour less than the 11-inch MacBook Air.
These Chromebooks also feature 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 resolution displays, Intel HD Graphicswith 128MB of dedicated system memory, 16GB solid-state flash storage drives (considered adequate for machines running the Cloud-based Chrome OS with which instead of storing your documents, videos, and photos on your computer, you save them to Google’s Cloud-based Google Drive storage service), 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, and one each USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, Bluetooth 4.0, a built-in HD webcam, a full-sized keyboard and a multi-gesture touchpad.
The C720s weigh 2.76 lbs./1.25 kg, boot in less than 7 seconds, and unlike the iPad, support real multitasking, allowing multiple pages to run at the same time, come with 100 GB of free storage on Google Drive for two years and with 12 free Gogo in-air Internet passes (estimated $150 value, redeemable for two years after Chromebook purchase) usable on continental U.S. flights of participating airlines.