Last month Acer released its first 14-inch Chromebook, and it must think highly of the form factor, as it's quickly followed that up with a new model with the same size -- but with more bells and whistles. As its name suggests, the Chromebook 14 for Work possesses a feature set that Acer hopes will appeal to businesses looking to try Google's Chrome OS for its corporate fleet of laptops.
The new Chromebook is the first to use Intel's Skylake (a.k.a. sixth-generation Core) processors, which will allow for battery life that Acer says will be over 10 hours between charges -- more for configurations that use lower-resolution screens. The 14-inch display comes in either 1,366x768 or 1,920x1,080 full HD resolution, which the company has squeezed into a chassis designed for a 13-inch screen to keep things svelte at 3.2 pounds and just 0.88 inches thick.
To address corporate concerns about reliability, Acer has built the Chromebook 14 for Work using a scratch-resistant Vibrant Corning Gorilla Glass lid that can double as free marketing, as companies can get graphics printed on it. It also comes with a spill-resistant keyboard, the ability to withstand drops up to 48 inches, and ruggedness that meets MIL-STD 810G military-grade standards for durability.
More prosaic specs include a USB 3.0 Type-C port that can connect to an optional docking station with additional ports, a 1,280x720 resolution webcam, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, either 16GB or 32GB of built-in storage, and a range of 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB of RAM, depending on the configuration. Acer's new Chromebook supports Google's Chrome for Work program, which provides enterprises with tools to deploy Chrome devices more easily and securely. It also includes a Trusted Platform Module chip to encrypt files used on the notebook.
Given its robust feature set and target audience, the Acer Chromebook 14 for Work not surprisingly comes with a slightly higher price tag than most consumer-based Chromebooks. At a starting price of $349, it's still competitively priced compared to budget Windows laptops, though it's unclear how much higher the price goes if you outfit it with 8GB of RAM and a more powerful Core CPU. We may have to wait until the Chromebook 14 for Work starts shipping next month to find out.