Acer C7 Chromebook Review


acer_c7_chrome_book_googleThe Acer C7 is Google’s first attempt at an ultra cheap laptop.  This laptop comes in at a very nice price at $199 but does it compare to other netbooks from different operating systems in what it can do or is it  cheap imitation of a netbook just so that you give more money to Google?

Well I can give you the short answer to that question, The C7 is probably the best netbook I have come across.  For the price, it offers everything that I think you could ever want in a netbook, low price, fast, a good screen, plenty of hard drive space, and the opportunity to add in all of the apps you could ever need in a netbook.  It is something that I can take to school with me everyday and use for every class as a way to take notes on and even do more due to all of the added features that comes with all of the Chrome OS features that makes it easy for me to make powerpoint presentations, spreadsheets, and other documents.  But I seem to be a little bit ahead of myself, here is my full review of the Acer C7 Chromebook.

So lets start with the specifications for it.  It has a dual-core Intel Celeron Processor, 11.6 inch screen, 320 gigs of on computer storage, with another 100 gigs free of cloud storage, dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n and Ethernet  a 0.3 Megapixel HD camera, 1 HDMI port, 1 VGA port, 3 USB 2.0 ports, and a 2 in 1 SD card reader.  Overall the laptop is only about one inch thick and weighs about 3 pounds.  It is very light and is easy to carry around with no problems.  The battery will last you for about 4 hours if you are using it for web browsing and will burn through battery a little bit more if you download anything or are watching videos all day long.  The keyboard is a little small but the keys you can get used to and eventually you become used to the small keyboard even if you have larger hands like myself.  All together it is built pretty well and hold up really well despite being small and lightweight and made of plastic.  I feel like you can be a little rough with it and it won’t just fall apart like other small plastic laptops (although I won’t recommend beating it with a stick).  I should note about how the C7 does not come with a CD drive due to its small size.

The screen looks great as it gives a very good resolution for a small screen at 11.6 inches.  With the available brightness settings it is no problem to change the brightness to your iking with the touch of two keys and it responds very quickly on screen.  Overall it is better than you would expect from a $200 netbook, but not near as good as the ultra HD monitors that are starting to come out.

The battery life is solid, but not great.  The C7 has a very small battery to go with the small size of the laptop.  With using the internet as well as writing documents and doing work for Games-tec, it can run through the battery in faster than the average of 4 hours as I have found.  I usually average about three hours of battery life with constant use.  I think this is the one area that I would like to change about the C7, and give it a slightly more powerful battery, one that could last more along the lines of the comparable Samsung models that last for around 6 hours.

Screenshot 2013-02-04 at 9.23.15 AM

The camera is nice and the app that comes with the camera has some nice features like different filters and whatnot.  The images come through really nicely even though the camera is not really something that you would see on a higher end laptop.  But for the size of the C7, the camera works very well and gives you better than expected images.

The computer comes with the basic Chrome OS which, being said is simply Google Chrome and that’s pretty much it.  The nice things about it is that the bottom bar on the screen holds anything that you want it to, including any Chrome Apps that you download from the Chrome App Store.  This feature is for any Chrome laptop but it’s just something that I thought I could include here as it is a primary feature that you will be using.

The amount of hard drive space you have is kind of unnecessary as the computer comes with 100 gigabytes of Google storage with the computer and chances are that you will not have to fill up the 320 n board gigs.  This is one option where I wish the Acer could have had the SSD that the Samsung copies come equipped with.  The SSD is better equipped for the Chrome OS in my opinion because you will not need the large storage that the Acer offers.

The keyboard is nice, but is a little on the small side.  For me, it was a little difficult getting used to it, as my other laptop has a much bigger keyboard than the C7.  Although, after about a week, I got used to it and it isn’t that bad when you know the “feel” of the keyboard.  I do find it lacking a little bit in the fact that it does not make good use of the fn keys as there is only one already programmed in for the wifi connection.  I would have liked to see more buttons for use on the keyboard, but they can be programmed in if you want to go that route.  One other button i noticed missing that was odd was a screenshot button.  There is no designated button that can give you a screenshot.  It is kind of getting down to the nitty gritty but it’s something that I find odd that it isn’t there.

Screenshot 2013-02-04 at 9.21.26 AM

The trackpad works very nicely and for the size and price of the computer it is something that I would have expected from a ore expensive model.  It has one single button that works for left slicks at the bottom of the trackpad, hidden so that you cannot see it but can feel when you press the button.  For right clicking you have to use a two finger tap which works well with the tracpad and I find myself very rarely having any issue with my fingers being recognizable by the system.

The overall computing power is alright as it does not have any problems running Youtube videos at higher resolutions or play any of the games on the app store.  However, I did notice that when scrolling through some longer PDF documents for school that the system would slow down and take several seconds to scroll down the page.  Seems like maybe a minor hiccup but I think that it could potentially become a problem if you somehow manage to fill up the hard drive.  Otherwise, it is good to run basic applications on it but don’t try to do anything to intense on the computer or else it might not be able to handle it.

The physical build of the computer is solid.  The outer part of the screen, the edge, is made of a shinier plastic than the rest of the computer but it can get dirty extremely fast and makes me wish that the flat silver color covers the rest of the computer.  One other thing that I noticed that the outer part of the computer, most notable on the back of the screen, or the outer part of the case, is that it scratches very easily.  I have only had he C7 for about a week and a half and it goes in a case when i transport it.  And yet, it has a large scratch on the outside and makes me wonder about the overall durability of the computer.Screenshot 2013-02-04 at 9.22.37 AM

Overall, I think that the Acer C7 is a very capable netbook, but it is not much more than that.  Until the Google Chrome store further develops and more games and applications are added into the store.  Then, once that happens, I think this machine will be more than worth the price it is right now.  Until then I think the C7 is best used for taking back and forth to school or work for the use of Google docs or the other Google document programs that come with the system.  It does not have the computing power to play many games on but there aren’t really any that will be available for the device.   Overall, I would rate the computer at 75/100.  I could recommend it to any student or employee as a cheap and easy way to take a solid computer with you on the go.

 

 

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