Cheap, powerful and well made; this is Acer’s best Chromebook yet
11.6 in 1,366×768 display, 1.3kg, 1.4GHz Intel Celeron 2955U, 2.00GB RAM, 16GB disk, Chrome OS
The C720’s 11.6in display has a 1,366×768 resolution, but now it has a matt not glossy finish, which significantly reduces the amount of reflections that appear onscreen when you’re outside or in a brightly lit office. The screen’s overall brightness is still dim, but we could see the screen clearly from a variety of angles thanks to wide viewing angles. There’s also a generous amount of screen tilt as well, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a comfortable working angle.
We couldn’t run our normal colour accuracy tests as they’re not compatible with Chrome OS, but overall we were pleased with the C720’s general image quality. The C720’s contrast levels were superb, and we could see a very high level of detail in our test photos.
Of course, the C720 isn’t just about hardware, the major feature is Chrome OS, Google’s operating system based on the Chrome web browser. With Chrome OS, you can only install programs from the Chrome Web Store. Chrome OS is ideal for those who spend most of the computing time browsing the web and sending emails, and are happy to use Google’s online services to write text documents and create spreadsheets.
Chrome OS is simple and easy to use, but you must be online to get the most out of the C720 because most of your documents and media will be stored in the cloud. Although the C720 has a 16GB SSD, this capacity is too low to store lots of files and media locally.
Conveniently, an increasing number of Chrome apps work offline, so you won’t lose access to some files when you can’t find a Wi-Fi connection. Google Drive documents are all synchronised to your Chromebook and you can create and edit existing word processing documents offline. Spreadsheets are less flexible, and at the time writing they can only be viewed offline. Gmail’s available offline, but you’ll need to download the separate Offline Gmail app from the Chrome Web Store to use it. You can then read and compose emails when you’re offline.
Admittedly, Chrome OS’s offline support still needs a little work, but it’s hard to complain when the C720 is such a bargain. If all you need is a no-nonsense laptop where you can get online easily and take with you on the move, the C720 could be for you. It wins a Budget Buy award.
|Intel Celeron 2955U
|Processor clock speed
|Memory slots free
|Intel HD Audio
|Intel HD Graphics
|Total storage capacity
|Optical drive type
Ports and Expansion
|Wired network ports
|Wireless networking support
|PC Card slots
|Supported memory cards
|Operating system restore option
|one year RTB