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Acer Chromebook 11 C732 review: Cheap, rugged and practical

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £251
inc VAT

Rock solid and highly affordable, but you pay for it with slow performance and a weak screen


  • Rugged build
  • Very affordable


  • Slow performance
  • Weak screen quality

Confusingly, Acer makes several different Chromebook 11 models, not to mention the convertible Chromebook Spin 11 and Chromebook R11. This particular one is a ruggedised device built for the education and business markets. It certainly feels solid, with the matte black chassis surrounded by a tough, rubberised grey strip for added shockproofing and should withstand a few years of life in the classroom or out on the road. It’s fairly light, too, weighing in at just 1.35kg.

Build quality aside, this is clearly a Chromebook built to a budget. It’s based on a Celeron N3350 processor, which made its debut back in late 2016, and the twisted nematic (TN) screen is an obvious weakness. While it can reach respectable levels of brightness – 293cd/m2 at peak – colour accuracy is poor, with an average Delta E of 8.52, with blues especially bad. Subjectively, images look overexposed and lack contrast.

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The speakers are noisy but lack finesse, with a harsh mid-range and resonance creeping in on loud effects and bassy notes. Wi-Fi reception isn’t as good as the competition, either, with the C732 struggling to maintain a steady stream at distances that didn’t cause other Chromebooks to struggle.

Yet it’s not all bad news. Manufacturers have finally stopped putting 2GB of RAM in their budget models, and the Acer has a usable 4GB. The touchpad isn’t bad for a small laptop, either. It’s relatively wide, has a comfortable smooth surface and didn’t have any problems with multitouch gestures. The keyboard is also better than it looks.

While the keys have an odd gritty texture on the surface and a rough action, they’re light and offer a reasonable amount of travel, making it easier to get up to a decent speed. Connectivity is also up to par, with two USB-C ports you can use for charging or as a display output, as well as two USB-A ports.

Acer 11 Chromebook C732 review: Performance

Performance could be better. In all our benchmarks, the Chromebook 11 was either the slowest on test or jostling for the position with its Acer stablemate, the Chromebook 14 CB514-1H. Two cores and two threads don’t cut it once you have more than a few tabs open, particularly if you’re doing anything vaguely CPU-intensive. Yet battery life is phenomenal: we managed 11hrs 38mins of video playback before the Chromebook 11 gave up the ghost.

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This isn’t an awful Chromebook, then, but if you buy it you’ll wish it was faster and had a better screen.

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