Chromebooks' domination of the school laptop space has been well-documented, and Acer looks to extend that advantage with its latest model, which it also hopes can make inroads with commercial users.
The Acer Chromebook 11 C771 is noteworthy for being the first 11.6-inch Chromebook that makes use of Intel's Skylake sixth-generation Core processors. Of course, Intel is readying its 8th-generation CPUs for release later this month, but the Chromebook philosophy of less-is-more means the devices are usually behind the curve in terms of specs. Acer has a history of bringing such "new" components to the Chromebook market, all the way back to being the first manufacturer to put Intel's Haswell chips into its Chrome-running laptops.
The base Chromebook 11 C771 comes with an Intel Celeron 3855U processor and will be available with in touchscreen or a non-touch display flavors, both of which come with a 180-degree hinged design that allows the screen to be laid flat. At 1,366x768, screen resolution is ordinary, as is the 4GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage. However, Acer claims that the C771 offers better-than-average battery life -- up to 12 hours for the touchscreen version or 13 hours for the non-touch edition.
Perhaps just as important to its targeted users, the C771 has some rugged features to deal with the bangs and bruises of being out in the field or in a classroom of young students, meeting MIL-STD 810G standards for durability. It can handle drops up to 4 feet and, withstand 132 pounds of downward force, while its keyboard can tolerate spills of up to 11 ounces of water. Acer has even reduced the space between the keys to make it harder for kids to pry them out of the laptop.
With some premium features, the C771 is a little pricier than a typical Chromebook, but well in line with pricing for budget laptops in general. The non-touch base model costs $279.99, whereas the touch version is $50 more expensive. While those are available to order now, editions using more powerful Skylake Core i3 and i5 CPUs will go on sale next month.