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Acer Chromebook C720P
Another worthy Chromebook for the student is Acer's new Chromebook C720P. This model was the first Chromebook — outside of my beloved, but much too expensive Chromebook Pixel — to come with a touch screen.
I've found a touch screen to be useful in a Chromebook but not worth the extra $100 that brings its price up to $299.
This model does, however, also come with a 32GB SSD — unlike its excellent older brother the Acer C720, which only has a 16GB drive.
Otherwise, the two models are identical. Each comes with an 11.6-inch display; a SD card slot; one USB 2 and one USB 3.0 port; an HDMI connector; and an audio jack. For wireless connectivity, it uses dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
Finally, if you want to try this model at faster speeds and more RAM, the C720 Chromebook with Core i3 has just been released. ZDNet's own James Kendrick, the only person on the planet I know who has played with more Chromebooks than I have, found it the "fastest Chromebook I've used, with the exception of the Chromebook Pixel." At $379.99 list price, it should be!
HP Chromebook 11
Like almost all of the Chromebook family, the HP Chromebook 11 comes with a 16GB SSD drive , a SD card slot, two USB 2.0 ports, and a headphone jack. One interesting addition is that this model uses a mini-USB port for its charger. This means you may be able to use your Android smartphone charger in a pinch if you've left its real charger at home.
Beside supporting dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, you can also get this device with a Verizon 4G option. The ordinary one costs $199. With 4G it will run you $299. I travel a lot and there have been times I've needed 4G, but if you spend most of you time at your Wi-FI equipped school, office, and home all have Wi-Fi, I wouldn't bother with the 4G.
I like the Lenovo N20p. They're not the cheapest Chromebooks around: the 1.83GHz Intel Celeron N2930 processor model runs $349.99, while its otherwise identical twin with a 2.16GHz Intel Celeron N2830 processor will cost you $329.99.
On the other hand, while the keyboard isn't as good as a Lenovo ThinkPad's keyboard, it is an excellent keyboard. If you spend your time writing papers for class all the time you'll really appreciate this.
This Chromebook also comes with a touch screen. Its six cell battery also gives it a long life, up to eight hours. That's none too shabby for a Chromebook with with an Intel rather than ARM-based processor.
Both models come with 2GB of RAM standard. You also have the option of upgrading to 4GB. Most of the other features are the same as you've seen on the other Chromebooks: 16GB of storage, a headphone jack, a USB 2 and USB 3 port, an HDMI port and an SD Card slot.
The one exception is that the N20p comes not just with dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4. It also supports the newer and faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi. This can make a real difference if you're home or office, as mine does, already supports 802.11ac.