Six months with the Acer C720 Chromebook: Still good for $199

Six months with the Acer C720 Chromebook: Still good for $199

Summary: Every time I pull out the Acer C720 Chromebook I am reminded again just how good a value this laptop is.

TOPICS: Mobility, Google, Laptops

I've been a fan of the Chromebook since buying the Samsung Series 5 550 when it was first released. I work in the Chrome browser all day and the Chromebook is built from top to bottom to make that the best experience it can be.

Acer C720 Chromebook
(Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

Six months ago, Acer released the C720 Chromebook. After reviewing one provided by Acer, I promptly bought one. I have been using it as much as any of the laptops and tablets in my menagerie, and it has served me well.

Because my work day is centered around the Chrome browser, every time I open the Chromebook it feels like coming home.

I attribute the fact that it has never crashed or hung even once to the tight integration of hardware and software that is a trademark of Chrome OS. Before a Chromebook is released it is designed to handle Chrome OS without hiccups. That's been the experience with all of the Chromebooks I have used.

See related: The misunderstood Chromebook: Why few get it

Because my work day is centered around the Chrome browser, every time I open the C720 it feels like coming home. Everything is where it should be, and even if I've used Chrome on other devices since the last time I used the Acer, it's all up to date.

The Acer C720 Chromebook is still one of the fastest models I've used. It handles everything I do without hesitation. I open it up and in maybe two seconds I am right where I need to be.

ZDNet's Sean Portnoy reports on a new Acer C720 Chromebook with a Core i3 processor. That could be a better performer than the Haswell Celeron in the C720 without impacting the good battery life. That spec bump comes at a price ($350), and since I have no performance issues, I see no reason to upgrade to the new model.

The only things I would change about the Acer is I wish it were thinner; I also wish it was closer in weight to two pounds than three pounds. It's not huge but I'm all about thin and light, and I wish the C720 was more (or is that less?) of both.

I see the Acer C720 Chromebook is now $199, and given the utility I get out of it that is a tremendous value. It travels well and delivers the best Chrome experience I've had on any device with the exception of the expensive Chromebook Pixel.

Speaking of the Pixel, I admit I am surprised that Google has not produced an updated model. The Pixel is one of the best laptops running any platform. I really thought Google would wow us with an improved model. Given how long it's now been (1.5 years), I doubt we'll see it. Google declines to confirm or deny whether a new Pixel might come along.

Additional Chromebook coverage: 

Topics: Mobility, Google, Laptops

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  • I love my Chrome book

    I have the HP 14 model and absolutely love it!

    I'm so glad I didn't buy a W8 laptop.
    • I love my Chromebook too

      Almost exclusive use in personal time.
      Still work on a windows machine, but outside of work, my W8.1 laptop hardly get a look-in.
      Do have a windows server for the media though.
    • Wait, you're serious?

      People say that without internet, Chromebooks are bricks. That is not true. They are bricks with AND without internet, either way. A Windows laptop of any price would be a better value than a $300 cheaply made spyware-book that only runs one app and boots in 7 seconds due to its limited storage that can't fit much that slows down over time because Chrome OS is an operating system just like all the other operating systems so it's bound to slow down after some time which it does.
  • but what can you do with it

    not everyone has a full-time internet connection. And what can you do with it outside of the internet? can you play games? be productive? can you install software on it?
    • Yes, yes, and yes
    • Yes, Yes and Yes

      can you play games? Yes
      be productive? Yes
      can you install software on it? Yes (Chrome Apps)
    • What can you do with a Windows machine when not online?

      I hear the argument all of the time that Chromebooks are only useful when they are online, and it is sort of true but you can't do much with a machine running any other OS in 2014 if you do not have an internet connection. Most things that you can do with a Windows PC offline like edit documents, watch movies that are stored on the machine etc, you can also do with a Chromebook. If you are a major gamer, a $200 laptop of any kind is not going to work for you.

      The power of Chromebooks is in their simplicity. My 78 year old mother, a woman who's PC experience is limited to webTV and then a Windows desktop which she used infrequently, carries her HP Chromebook 14 (with font size increased to almost maximum) under her arm everywhere she goes like a college student.
  • It's not about technical, it's about our data

    While most articles about Chromebooks are centred about technical information, I think the real issue is about our data. The whole problem is Google accesing our data. That's not the kind of computing I want. Personal computing is disappearing in favour of big corporations computing, where our data is not personal any more.
    • Er, what are you doing out of your cave?

      Careful, you might be seen.........
    • The way of the world...

      This bothered me as well, then I sat and thought. That's a risk with any cloud service. But if you limit what you do and give them access to it's not a big deal.
      I've been using my Chromebook quite often, especially when I'm out and about. But when it comes to things such as checking my bank accounts and other important personal information, I make it a habit to ONLY do it from home. When I need to do it right then and there, I'm simply remote into my home computer and do it that way.
      In regards to Google reading my emails, newsletters, and miscellaneous papers, I'm not stressing at all. I'm one person out of billions of their users.

      It's just one of those things, this is sadly where the future it taking us, to a place where nearly everything we do is monitored.
      • Exactly

        I too am concerned with giving these large companies my information but I am afraid that the ship has already sailed. It is remarkable how much data is gathered, not just by Google but through grocery shopping cards, online retailers, credit card companies etc. You could live in a cave and avoid all interaction but if you did, they would know that you had an online presence and then went off the grid, which is also valuable info. You would probably start getting subscription offers for Guns and Ammo and Survivalist magazines.
  • Me too!

    I also love my $200 Acer C720; it performs well and meets my needs, and when it doesn't, I can always remote in to my old windows desktop machine (which otherwise just collects dust). It's by far the thinnest, lightest, and longest-battery-lasting notebook I've ever had. And I love not having to deal with all the crapware, daily updates, and other nonesense I got tired of with my windows machines.
  • Six months is too short (and laughable)

    Three years in with my $400 10" HP 210 Mini netbook.

    Hasn't skipped a beat despite daily use. Get's 8+8 hours with a spare battery. Runs everything I throw at it (even 3D games). It's small/light. And it can take a 1TB SSD.

    Say what you want about netbooks/Atom/Windows 7, but there is no way I would "downgrade" to a Chromebook.
    • that's great

      but saying a chromebook is not for you does not make the chromebook any less a valid option for others.
      • That is very true

        Many users will be happy with the features and functionality that the Chromebook provides. For many others like me, though, it's much too limiting in hardware, software and connectivity.
        • I am not sure how you can say this with a straight face.

          The spec for the device you are talking about is as follows:

          HP Mini 210-1000sa PC (Black, 10.1-inch LED Display, Windows 7 Starter, Intel Atom N450 Processor, 1 GB DDR2 RAM, 160 GB SATA HDD, Intel GMA 3150 Graphics, 802.11 b/g Networking, up to 3.5 Hours Battery).

          This is a painfully slow and seriously underpowered device, and I presume you got the 8 hours battery life by switching it on and allowing it to idle for 8 hours?

          About upgrading to a 1TB SSD, these generally require an mSATA or a SATA III connector, which I do not think that device has. Who the hell would waste a costly 1TB SSD on a piece of junk like that anyway.

          Your case is either a case of fanbiosm gone to extreme levels, of a Microsoft attempt to get us all accustomed to the performance and feature levels of new $99 netbooks that Microsoft is planning to introduce to compete with Chromebooks (on price, if not performance).
    • Three years in with my $400 10" HP 210 Mini netbook.

      "Hasn't skipped a beat despite daily use." - I don't believe you; and I don't believe your battery life. And it was 2x more expensive than a Chromebook 3 years ago.

      I've had an HP Windows laptop, and it sludged up faster than most windows machines (but they ALL do). Chromebook is like a new every single time you take a 15 second boot from off (or a 3 second boot from hibernating).

      If you have to lie about your windows machine, it's time to UPGRADE (and down price) to a Chromebook.
      • I don't care about what you don't believe

        And I don't lie about anything. The simple fact is that for many purposes a Windows 7 netbook remains far superior to a Chromebook in both features and capability.
        • Get some therapy man!

          'nuff said.
  • Crashing

    "I attribute the fact that it has never crashed or hung even once to the tight integration of hardware and software that is a trademark of Chrome OS."

    That doesn't sound any different to my Linux and Windows experiences. My Linux server has been running for 4 years without crashing and my Windows 8 laptop (originally Windows 7) has been running since mid 2010 without crashing.

    On my Windows 7 desktop at work I have had 1 application go rogue and make me turn off the machine and restart and that is since the end of 2010...

    I don't see that a modern PC hasn't crashed in the first year as something to write home about any more. That isn't any better or any worse than any other machine, in my recent experience.