Acer Chromebook C720 (preview)
The second installment of Acer's Chromebook is now available in Australia
- Improved battery life
- 30 per cent thinner than predecessor
The Acer Chromebook C720 appears to be an evolutionary attempt to right the wrongs of its predecessor, the Chromebook C710.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
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Note: we've now done a full review of this Chromebook. You can read it here: Acer C720 Chromebook.
The Acer Chromebook C720 appears to be an evolutionary attempt to right the wrongs of its predecessor, the Acer C710 (Q1VZC), which hit the Australian market in March. The first model delivered on its promise of a portable and cheap computing experience, but left users with usage restrictions (which is not unique to the C710 but applies to all Chromebooks), and had a disappointing battery life, somewhat voiding its 'road companion' status.
The new Acer C720 is ideal for users who are immersed in a Google-centric experience, or don't mind adapting to one. Running the Google Chrome operating system, it is intended to allow quick and efficient access to Google's Drive, Docs, Gmail, and other services.
The pitfall here, like with all Chromebooks, is that the C720 is not all too useful without some sort of Internet connection, be it home or office Wi-Fi, or mobile tethering.
Internal storage comes in the form of a 16GB solid state drive, which truly indicates how Internet-reliant the Chromebook is. Fortunately, Acer has included one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port which can be used with an external drive for additional storage.
Inside the Chromebook C720 is a fourth generation (Haswell) Intel Celeron 2955U (low power) processor, alongside 4GB of DDR3 RAM. Acer claims this configuration, in combination with the internal battery, keeps the C720 ticking for up to 8.5 hours. This promises significant improvement over its predecessor, which delivered 1hr 44min in our rundown test. It produced more with lighter use, but is still poor, especially when compared to competitors’ devices.
Like its predecessor, the C720 has an 11.6-inch display with what Acer calls ‘ComfyView HD’ technology. The screen has a matte finish, and a resolution of 1366x768.
The Chromebook C720 also has an HDMI port, a 2 in 1 card reader, and 3.5mm audio jack. It is, of course, Bluetooth 4.0 compatible, and has 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless compatibility. An Acer Crystal Eye HD webcam is built in.
According to Acer’s measurements, the C720 weighs 1.47kg and is 20mm thick. This makes it 30 per cent thinner than the C710.
The Chromebook C720 is available through Acer's website, as well as retailers JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman, and the vendor’s Australian distributor, Bluechip. It retails in Australia for $399.
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For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
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The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
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