​Acer Chromebook 13: The pro's Chromebook

While it's no Google Pixelbook, at half the price, the latest Acer Chromebook 13 gives more bang for the buck.

I love my maxed-out Google Pixelbook, but most people aren't willing to pay $1,349 for one. If you want a serious, more affordable, business-geared Chromebook, consider Acer's $799 Chromebook 13 CB713.

Acer's been making Chromebook laptops since it still seemed like a wild and crazy idea. Today's Acer Chromebook can run not only Chrome OS, but Android and Linux applications as well. If your office is wedded to Windows, you can run Office 365 natively and integrate your Chromebook with Active Directory (AD) by using Chrome Enterprise, an enterprise-focused version of Chrome OS. In short, the Acer Chromebook is ready for your business applications.

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With an attractive and durable all-aluminum design and HD+ 13.5-inch display in a 3:2 aspect ratio, the Chromebook 13 CB713 looks and feels like an old-style clamshell laptop. That's fine by me. At 3.5 pounds, it's a bit heavier than I'd like, but it's not going to stress my shoulder when I'm dashing to catch a flight at the airport.

Under the hood, the CB713 is powered by a 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8250U quad-core processor with Intel Burst Technology, which can speed it up to 3.4GHz. Unlike most Chromebook laptops, this model comes with a fan and side and back vents to keep it cool when it's speeding up. Some people might be bothered by the sound, but I found it barely noticeable.

For graphics, it uses an integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 chipset. This backs up a 13.5-inch QHD+ high-brightness LED-backlit TFT LCD display with IPS technology. This screen has a maximum 2256x1504 resolution. With a rather wide bezel, the display has an old-fashioned look. The display itself, whether I was writing with Google Docs or watching Altered Carbon on Netflix, was easy on the eyes.

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I would have liked more RAM than the system's 8GB of LPDDR3 SDRAM memory. But, honestly, I didn't run into any problems. Still, if you're a developer, you may want to look elsewhere.

For storage, the Chromebook 13 comes with an ample 64GBs eMMC SSD. If you need more, you can add storage via a microSD slot.

The chiclet-style keyboard won't win any awards, but it's perfectly adequate. The Corning Gorilla Glass touchpad, however, is a pleasure to use.

To connect with the rest of the world, which is vital for a Chromebook, this laptop comes with an Intel Dual Band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi chipset. With its dual 2x2 MIMO antennas, the Chromebook 13 does a great job of pulling in a signal. Any more, I insist on getting laptops with two antennas. They simply work better in places with poor Wi-Fi coverage.

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If you do a lot of video-conferencing, you'll like this laptop. Its combination of a top-notch display, HD camera (with 1280x720 resolution and 720p HD video recording), and twin built-in speakers and microphones works well.

For ports, the Chromebook 13 has two USB 3.1 Type-C ports, one of which you'll use to power the system up. It also has a USB 3.0 port, a MicroSD card reader, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The battery life is good, but not outstanding. While working online, I consistently got eight hours of useful light.

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When it comes to performance, the Chromebook 13 isn't quite as fast at my Pixelbook, but it's close. I checked it with Principled Technologies' Chromebook-specific CrXPRT benchmark. With a score of 243, the Chromebook 13's performance is more than snappy enough for any business applications.

Personally, I'm not going to give up my Pixelbook. But, if I had to buy a solid, fast Chromebook for a good price, I'd be seriously consider an Acer Chromebook 13 CB713. So should you.

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