Acer C7 Chromebook: 4GB RAM, 6 hour battery, and 320GB hard drive (hands on)

Acer C7 Chromebook: 4GB RAM, 6 hour battery, and 320GB hard drive (hands on)

Summary: When Acer debuted its $199 Chromebook it was unusual as it included a hard drive instead of flash storage. The new refreshed model still has the HDD, but doubles the memory and offers increased battery life for a higher price tag.

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Acer set the price record for Chromebooks with its C7 that debuted for just $199. The 11.6-inch laptop was average for the genre, with the exception of a 320GB hard drive instead of flash storage. The four-hour battery life was short for a Chromebook, marring an otherwise decent budget offering.

C7 frontal
(Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

Since the company refreshed the C7, I've been using one for a short while. Acer doubled the RAM from 2GB to 4GB and added a bigger battery delivering a respectable six hours of run time on a single charge. The 320GB hard drive remains, making it still the Chromebook with the most local storage.

Hardware specs:

  • Model number: Acer C710-2055

  • Operating system: Chrome OS

  • Processor: Intel Celeron 847, 1.1 GHz

  • Display: 11.6-inches, 1366 x 768

  • Memory/storage: 4GB/320GB hard drive (5,400 rpm)

  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi b/g/n

  • Battery: 6 hours

  • Ports: 3-USB 2.0; VGA; Ethernet; HDMI; Audio in/out

  • Dimensions: 11.22 x 1.09 x 7.95 inches; 3 pounds

The new C7 has good performance on par with the similarly equipped Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook. The 4GB of memory keeps things running smoothly without lags or stuttering. The display is not the most vivid, but it's not bad. I must admit I am spoiled in this regard by the outstanding display of the Chromebook Pixel, so that's a factor in my perception of this Acer screen.

side-profile-closed-v1
(Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

Some folks will be happy with the inclusion of a 320GB hard drive, but it's overkill for me. I am happy with small flash drives for internal storage on Chromebooks, especially given how well Google Drive cloud storage is integrated with Chrome OS.

Keyboard trackpad
(Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

The chiclet keyboard on the C7 is not the best I've seen on Chromebooks but it is adequate. Key placement is as expected and there is a top row of small keys for controlling the laptop and Chrome functions. The trackpad is good, although not as good as those on the Chromebook Pixel and the Samsung Chromebooks. It's still better than the trackpads found on most other laptops.

Extended battery
Extended battery. (Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

Acer increased the battery life of the C7 from a paltry four hours to a more reasonable six hours by going with a larger battery. This battery sticks out of the bottom of the laptop, forming a nice ergonomic tilt for typing. The battery is removable which is unusual in small laptops. This might be useful for international travelers who can get a second battery for up to 12 hours between charges.

The Acer C7 is available for $279.99 from retailers including Amazon. The $80 price bump over the first generation C7 is reasonable for the doubling of RAM and the increased battery life.

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Topics: Microsoft, Google, Laptops, Reviews

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24 comments
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  • $351 :-(

    Just looked over here, in Germany, the starting price is $351 on Amazon and that is the 2GB version...
    wright_is
  • What a waste of money.

    One can buy an AMD Win 8 laptop for a lesser price. Chrome devices are an insult to human sanity.
    Owllll1net
    • .

      Meh!
      daikon
    • By the way things are going

      ... Windows 8 seems the problem :-)
      The news for MS haven't been good for a few days - let it settle down, I'm sure something good will pop up...
      AleMartin
      • Even windows 8 has a larger

        market share than chrome os. Unless all you do is edit documents online and browse the web chrome os is pretty pointless. Now if you could install windows on it you'd have a pretty cheap laptop.
        Sam Wagner
        • You can do a lot more than that

          windows 8 also sells more than raspberry PI - impressive! Win 8 must be a success and raspberry PI a failure...
          AleMartin
    • Insult to humanity:

      Owlllllllllllllll1net
      D.T.Long
      • The stars have aligned. :-)

        So here are Google fanbois with an agenda...

        1. daikon
        2 .AleMartin
        3 .D.T.Long
        4. A new moron, Naryan
        Owllll1net
        • Typical Owlnet5

          When all else fails call folks names.

          Epic Fail.......
          daikon
        • You are funny

          Are you calling me a moron this time? before I was stupid....

          Why don't you agree with my post?! Do you believe windows8 is doing well?! Are you "brave" enough to say such thing?!
          I can find 100 opinions saying that windows 8 is failing - but hey you don't think so.
          It's like the father watching his son on a military parade - "damn, among thousands my son is the only one with the right step".
          You don't do any good to yourself - trust me :-P
          AleMartin
        • One more thing

          Why don't you post intelligent opinion, instead of wasting energy pointing morons, stupids, fanboys, ....
          What if I'm a fanboy?! Do you have a problem? Are you a fanboy?! Can you tell here you are not a fanboy? What if I'm a moron, are you the knight in a shiny armour cleaning the world....?
          AleMartin
      • Actually:

        The biggest slap in the face has been Windows 8's Start Screen. It's like Microsoft was thinking "Oh! People have grown to be used to the desktop and Start Menu. LET's CHANGE IT UP ON THEM, EVEN FOR NON-TOUCH PC's!" Bunch'a square jerks.
        Richard Estes
        • Yah!

          & who was the square jerk that removed the horse from my carriage?!
          Jason Barkley
        • blind hate, subjective beauty

          i think the start screen is a nice addition to windows. might be intimidating at the beginning but you can appreciate its beauty once you learn its secrets. i take it you tried it fully thats why you are giving such a remark
          lavhu
    • Pffft

      You're an insult to human sanity. Back to your bridge, troll.
      Naryan
  • The $80 price bump fair?

    I can upgrade to 4GB of RAM and add a 6 hr second battery for less than $80. As a result I would probably go with the $199 basic configuration. I would then end up with 10 hrs of battery time.

    I do like the Acer Chromebooks however. They are ideal for people looking for a low cost, highly portable laptop and who choose to dual boot Linux and Chrome. A 16GB SSD is too small for a full Linux notebook. It can be done, but leaves little room for data.
    D.T.Long
  • Acer C7 Chromebook: 4GB RAM, 6 hour battery, and 320GB hard drive (hands on

    By the sounds of it this seems to be a very cheaply made chromebook. Makes you wonder just how long it will last before it breaks. Given its Acer I would guess not long.
    Loverock-Davidson
    • Nothing like an Apple

      They seem to win all reliability studies... also satisfaction..
      AleMartin
    • Okay, that's a fair argument.

      That's why I bought a Chromebook made by Samsung. I've dropped it a few times, and it still works without any problems. Also, SSD's are more durable than HDDs because essentially it's like using a gigantic stick of RAM instead of a hard drive, hence, the explanation of how SSDs have no moving parts.
      Richard Estes
  • $232 on Amazon

    The Samsung series 3 is $249.I guess it is in demand and commands a premium.

    It is a nice laptop for installing Linux or running linux as chroot. It is faster and cheaper than the ARM E series Windows crap you get for quite a bit higher cost.
    Mah