Acer unveils first Chromebook with Haswell for $249

Acer unveils first Chromebook with Haswell for $249

Summary: The fight between ARM and Intel just got more interesting as Acer unveils a new Chromebook for $249 with Haswell.

TOPICS: Mobility, Google, Laptops
Acer Chromebook previewed at IDF forward angle
(Image: Acer)

The Chromebook space is rapidly evolving, and Acer's new model is the first to bring Intel's Haswell technology to the Chromebook. The new Acer C720 has an Intel Celeron processor with Haswell technology with a quoted 8.5-hour battery life.

The Haswell Celeron should bring improved performance over the previous generation processor. Samsung's Series 5 550 Chromebook yields good performance with the older Celeron, so the Acer should be even better. Samsung's older Chromebook gets six hours run time per charge, and the Haswell Celeron should easily beat that. Significantly, Acer is introducing the C710 Chromebook for $249.99.

The Samsung Series 5 is over $500 on Amazon at the time of this writing. Acer's price is the same as the Samsung Chromebook which uses an ARM processor.

The Acer C720 has decent specifications for such a cheap laptop:

  • Processor: Intel Celeron 2955U

  • Display: 11.6-inch, 1366x768, matte, outdoor viewable

  • Memory: 4GB

  • Storage: 16GB

  • Battery life: 8.5 hours

This is packed in a 2.76lb laptop that is only 0.75in thick. Acer has also worked two USB ports in the C720, one 3.0 and another USB 2.0. 

The Acer C720 Chromebook is available for pre-order now from Amazon and Best Buy online shops.

It is noteworthy that Google and HP recently announced the Chromebook 11 with an ARM processor for $279. That Chromebook only has a quoted battery life of 6 hours.

See related: 

Topics: Mobility, Google, Laptops

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  • There's really no point to arm based devices any longer. And device makers

    should really be thinking thrice about using arm's going forward. Intel has the power, perf, and price. And going forward it will be lowering the power quicker than arm, increasing its already considerable perf lead over arm, and lowering it's prices as it's multi year manufacturing process lead over arm fabs widens. At this point all future android tablets and chromebooks should be coming out on Intel. And really it's not too soon to be planning for intel inside the next generation of smartphones. As for chromebooks themselves, also pretty pointless when you can get a W8 device in the same price range and with a touchscreen.
    Johnny Vegas
    • I am with you 100% till the last sentance

      Chromebooks are MUCH better than any sub $700 Windows 8 machine.

      Case in point: My Wife and College Daughter. Why give them a leatherman when they just need a good screwdriver?

      Here is my visits with my daughter visiting: Drops off laundry and places her windows laptop in my hands and says, "Do your stuff." I than go and re-image her drive with the one I made and than resync her documents and than Windows updates. If I have time I reimage her drive and there you go. She won't let me go Linux for her laptop since well she rebels by buying Apple products and she is invested in iTunes. BUT she isn't stupid and refuses to pay for a Apple laptop.

      Chromebook: She drops off her laundry and done and everything is already sync. ONLY issue (Foot notes and headers with Google Drive)
      • Is saving $50 really worth all the limitations of Chrome OS?

        Paying $279 for a glorified appliance that only runs a browser, when for a few bucks more a more functional computer can be purchased.

        Install Chrome on any computer and you have effectively replaced everything any Chromebook has to offer, but also have access to countless other things.

        Chromebook is very much like WindowsRT. A novel idea, but it really doesn't solve a problem, but rather introduces many limitations for saving a few dollars. No thank you.
        • ChromeBooks are a big win if you have to SUPPORT the PC

          Agreed, if it doesn't do what you need, then it doesn't, and you'd be stupid to buy it - but if it does, and you just don't need the add'l capability of a Windows laptop, then saving the $50 is just the start of it - the maintenance is much simpler. Maybe you've trained your non-IT family etc. to use Windows in a way that requires no maintenance ... but if so, you have an exceptional family :-)

          That's the current use case; agreed, they're trying to grow it into its own platform/ecology, which would open broader use cases. We'll see if they succeed (they're closer in some areas than others).
          • Turning on automatic updates isn't exactly a new concept.

            Is that all a Chromebook offers?
          • Always new OS - More than just a Browser -Built in Hard/Software protection

            I had auto update turned on. Windows upgraded to Win8.1 worked perfectly except it updated my laptops wifi. Now wifi doesn't work correctly. Top of the line laptop pc is 13 months old. PC manufacturer wants $59 to give me back old wifi driver file. Windows wifi driver rollback is grayed out. Wifi vendor says talk to PC vendor, they only make hardware. Spent whole day trying to find old wifi driver file for free. No luck. Various vendors say they will try to find file for me for $49/hr or sell me an app to find file for $39. With Chromebook you don't worry about these driver files, Virus protection and other techie things.
        • I actually felt that way perhaps a couple years ago

          But generally any home time i spend on a windows PC ends up being "system administration", and a lot of waiting. I never get to really do anything. Its not all windows *fault* either, it just the nature of that type of that sort of heavyweight operating system. I will say it again:

          _It is a huge advantage NOT having the full windows operating system on a typical home personal computing device_ (I could say the same for linux and MacOS, although I could live with the MacBook. But windows is worse)

          At work, its a different story, of course. There I have 2 fast tower computers, a kubuntu one and a windows 7 one. There I could not use ChromeOS.

          Use the right product for the job.
        • Chromebooks are a lot better in a good set of situations

          Why would people want a computer device that brings a lot of "stuff around" if people can do everything they want on a browser? And on top of that it's even more expensive - it could be a single dollar.

          Traditional PCs are very heavy on administration, while I don't have any feeling about chomebook regarding OS maintenance tasks, between tablets and windows machines (or linux desktops), I believe the difference must be huge, like gigantic - the amount of hours, money, external consulting, maintenance tool execution, ... must be many times greater with a traditional PCs. I'm counting chrome machines can compare with tablets - but it's just something I suspect of so far.
        • Depends on how much your time is worth.

          OIt depends on your circumstances really.

          If your time is worth nothing, then yes you are better off coughing up the extra $50 for a slowpoke budget Windows laptop which will crawl along and requires you to spend a lot of time on maintenance.

          On the other hand, go for a Chromebook if you want to switch on and use your computer rather than spending time waiting to boot, maintaining and updating the system, installing apps, installing and troubleshooting device drivers etc. Some of us actually have a life outside of this drudgery.

          The thing is that most of us will earn $50 in under two hours of work, so how much are those many hours spent wrestling with and maintaining the Windows OS really costing us? In terms of TCO, studies carried out in schools where Chromebooks have been deployed show that Chromebooks are about a third of the total cost of Windows laptops and leads to increased productivity - mainly due to the zero maintenance feature of Chromebooks. The fact is that in developed countries the cost of computer hardware is dirt cheap compared to labour. Unless you are unemployed, or are buying the computer as a hobbyist, or are stuck with Windows because you are locked into having to use a particular application that requires Windows, Windows does not make sense. That is why Windows is on the decline.
      • Not so fast.

        I was thinking the same thing when I got a laptop for my step son. The high school where he goes makes having a laptop or tablet mandatory now so I got the cheapest Dell laptop that I could find. Got one for $299 (after back-to-school instant rebate special they had) thinking it would be a total piece of junk. However, after more than 2 months with it, the kid thinks it's totally awesome. It runs everything including some of the new PC games. He's a big time gamer too. It's fully functional including a DVD burner, HDMI out and plenty of USB ports. It's lightweight, fast and boots up like BOOM. After seeing this thing in action for myself, there is no way anyone can convince me that a chrome book is better. No way, no how.
        • By the way...

          That Dell laptop also has a 15.4 inch screen, 4 gigs of RAM and a 500 GB hard drive to boot.
          • ...and it weighs five pounds

            Inexpensive laptops like the one you are describing don't fill the same ultraportable niche as a Chromebook. Sure you get more speed and more display size (though at that price level you don't get more pixels), but you also get a much bigger and heavier thing to carry around. For me, the difference between a 2.5 pound Chromebook and a 5 or 6 pound laptop is the difference between a machine I will carry and a machine I will not - your definition of "lightweight" is obviously different than mine.
          • Asus Transformer T100: 2.2 lbs... $349

            Full windows8
            32 GB storage
            plenty of ports and expansions
            detacts from the laptop keyboard to become a fully functional tablet
            Access to tons of apps and full desktop programs.
            11 hours of battery life

            A chromebooks savings will likely average out to be maybe $25/year over the life of the device at the cost of how much functionality and usefulness?

            Things like the Chromebook are devices the require a user to change their needs in order to make the device suitable for them. Just to save a few dollars to have an appliance that only runs one web browser.
          • Don't expect it to last...

            I wouldn't expect that to last very long, especially if he is pushing the CPU a log with games. IC chips that integrate memory banks only (and I'm sure other things) can only read/write a certain number of bytes before they start to malfunction and slowdown. A $300 laptop PC that is speedy out of the box is probably using cheaper, less durable components on the motherboard. The circuits are so complex, even a single component going wrong could screw over the entire system.

            Ergo, you may have saved money for now, but don't surprised when he tells you he needs a new one before long.

            Nowadays, that's really how the market is working. Getting chips up to high speeds isn't expensive and it's that difficult for those who know what they're doing. The tricky part is figuring out how to make them more efficient. Certainly though, they always seem to succeed so maybe one day we'll be running miniature high level chips off of watch batteries or regular ones that last weeks or months without needing a charge.

            Interestingly enough, in Japan, efficient electricity use is quite an important thing when it comes to powered devices, unlike in Western countries where people will pump as much Voltage as they can into a machine.
            Andrew Babin
    • The only thing I disagree with

      is that there is no use for ARM based devices anymore. There's plenty of use for them, just not in applications where the processor is considered one of its selling points. Your blu-ray player, TV, and all sorts of other things use ARM processors. One of the key points of ARM is that the architecture can be licensed, so an electronics company can license an ARM design and patch on whatever other parts they need as an SOC. For you to do that with an Intel processor you need extra chips, since you can't license an Atom.

      But other than that, Intel has managed to match the power consumption of ARM devices.
      Jacob VanWagoner
      • The ARM chip is more efficient.

        The reason for the 2 hour lower battery life is the high quality quality very bright (300 nit) wide view angle display. If they had used a cheap 200 nit narrow angle display and lower screen and build quality like the Acer C720, they would have $200 or so with a 8 hour battery life.
    • no point for intel to exist any longer

      AMD, Oracle etc can carry the servers ( sprinkled with ARM too) and on the power savings side, ARM.

      Fake benchmarks, marketing lies including stuffing twice the battery capacity on intel notebooks vs ARM to make the battery life good should be things of the past ( intel did that a lot with AMD).

      Unfortunately, chromebooks are being made by the same OEMs (acer, hp etc) as traditional PCs so at least in chromebooks, intel can use their relationships with OEMs to continue their dirty tactics and marketing FUD.

      OTOH, HP openly breaking ranks with intel bodes well for the future though.
  • If you're considering a chromebook purchase you should read this first,20378/
    Johnny Vegas
    • Now THERE'S what we need

      A link to a two year old article on a lampoon site. Of course there were many who actually believed this article on The Onion as well:,34160/
  • 1366x768 Resolution Hell?

    Why can't we escape from the 1366x768 resolution hell? The first thing I check with the notebooks are resolution for the past two years. Not that this is a personal caprice, but rather this resolution not enough in today's standards.

    Other than that, in today's market, I'm a little bit doubtful about mobile Intel processors running on Chromebooks and Android tablets.
    Tolga BALCI