Acer Chromebook 13: First with Nvidia Tegra K1

Summary:Acer looks to extend its lead in Chromebooks with a model that ticks two firsts on its checklist. Most significantly, the Chromebook 13 is the first model to market with the Nvidia Tegra powering the laptop.

Acer jumped on the Chromebook wagon early, and it now has the lead in sales for the laptops powered by Google. It has combined decent hardware with Chrome OS, and offered Chromebooks at a reasonable price point.

Acer Chromebook 13 front
Acer Chromebook 13 Image: Acer

The newest model from Acer claims two firsts, one for Chromebooks in general and another for Acer. The Acer Chromebook 13 is the first Chromebook to hit the market powered by the Nvidia Tegra K1 processor. It's also the first 13-inch Chromebook produced by Acer.

Until the release of the Chromebook 13, these laptops have either had an Intel or a non-Nvidia ARM processor running the show. While ARM-based, the Acer Chromebook 13 has the Nvidia Tegra K1 inside.

Nvidia Tegra K1
Image: Nvidia

The Nvidia Tegra K1 is a powerful mobile quad-core processor with strong performance. It is particularly good for graphics with the 192-core GPU. This makes it a good fit for the Chromebook 13, along with the long battery life it makes possible.

Acer claims the Chromebook 13 will get up to 13 hours on a charge, a big advantage over other Chromebooks.

Acer will be offering the Chromebook 13 in four configurations:

  • The Acer Chromebook 13 CB5-311-T9B0 has a 1,920 x 1,080 full HD display, 2GB of memory, and a fast 16GB Solid State Drive. It is priced at $299.99 and is available now for pre-sale at BestBuy.com.

  • The Acer Chromebook 13 CB5-311-T1UU has a 1,920 x 1,080 full HD display, 4GB of memory, and a fast 32GB Solid State Drive. It is priced at $379.99 and is available now for pre-sale at Amazon.com.

  • The Acer Chromebook 13 CB5-311-T7NN has a 1,366 x 768 display, 2GB of memory, and a fast 16GB Solid State Drive. It is priced at $279.99 and is available now for pre-sale at Amazon.com.

  • The fourth configuration is for OEMs and the education sector. That model comes with a 1,366 x 768 display, 4GB of memory, a fast 16GB SolidState Drive, and will be priced at $329.99.
Acer Chromebook 13 back
Acer Chromebook 13 Image: Acer

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The Tegra K1 is based on the ARM A15 core, and Nvidia has tightly integrated it with the graphics processor. It is a low power processor, as evidenced by the long battery life quoted for the Acer Chromebook 13.

The Acer Chromebook 13 weighs only 3.31 lbs and is a svelte 0.7 inch thick. This puts it in line with some of the top 13-inch laptops available today.

Offering the Chromebook 13 with two display resolutions should appeal to the biggest audience. Those wanting a budget-friendly model can opt for the lower resolution display (1,366x768) or spend a little more and get the HD version (1,920x1,080).

Having two major choices in configuration also offers two tiers of battery life. The low-res unit has a claimed 13 hours, while the HD version of the Chromebook 13 gets a respectable 11 hours.

All of the configurations above come with the Nvidia Tegra K1 processor and graphics. It's too new to tell but the Tegra should give other Chromebooks a run for the money. We'll have a review unit shortly to see for ourselves.

Additional Chromebook coverage: 

Topics: Mobility, Google, Laptops

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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