Acer comes right out of the CES gate with a slew of new PCs, including a desktop and laptop that deepen the company's commitment to Google's Chrome operating system.
Acer (along with LG) has stayed the course with its Chromebase all-in-one (AIO) PC while others have quietly abandoned desktops based on Chrome. A few months ago it introduced the first Chromebase with a touch display, and now it's back with the Chromebase 24, the first to make use of Intel Core processors.
The new AIO's 23.8-inch 1080p display is also the largest on a Chromebase, according to the company. Acer isn't disclosing which Core CPUs the Chromebase 24 can ship with, but it says that it will include up to 8GB of RAM, 802.11a/c Wi-Fi, and four built-in microphones and HD webcam to aid video conferencing. It will also offer a touchscreen option, and the screen can tilt from - 5 degrees to 30 degrees. Pricing and availability have not yet been revealed for the Chromebase 24.
Acer has had even bigger success with its early support for Chromebooks, and it hopes to extend its leading position with a refreshed Chromebook 11 model. The emphasis with the CB3-131 is on durability, not surprising given the popularity of Chrome-based laptops in schools. The "nano-imprinted" cover is apparently more than a buzzword, giving the CB3-131 the ability to handle drops of up to two feet (or 60cm) without damage and to withstand 130 pounds (60kg) of downward pressure on the cover.
As with other Chromebooks, specs are modest, with Intel Celeron processor options, either 2GB or 4GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of built-in solid-state storage, and a 1,366x768 11.6-inch display. Unlike with the Chromebase 24, Acer is disclosing a starting price of $179.99 and a February release date for the CB3-131.
Acer is continuing its support for Google's other OS, Android, with the Iconia One 8 tablet. As its name suggest, it's an 8-inch slate running Android 5.1 (Lollipop). The Iconia One 8 is designed to be family friendly, including a Kids Center app that provides parental controls, child-appropriate content, and a simplified UI designed for younger users. Internal components are in line with the basic approach of the Iconia One 8: MediaTek quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of built-in storage. The price is also basic, as the Iconia One 8 will cost just $99.99 when it arrives next month.
Acer hasn't forgotten about its Windows laptops, with updates to three of its different lineups. The Aspire Switch 12 S (pictured above) is the latest in the company's convertible notebook family, packed with new technology like Acer Snap Hinge Gold that supposedly improves the transfer speed (up to 6Gbps) between the detachable keyboard and the base unit. The new Acer ExoAmp WiFi antenna comes built into the Switch's aluminum chassis to boost the performance of the built-in 802.11a/b/c/g/n Wi-Fi.
The Switch 12 S is the rare Windows PC that includes a Thunderbolt 3 port (along with a pair of USB 3.0 ports), and it comes with Intel's RealSense Camera R200 that provides 3D modelling capabilities. In addition to the base 1080p 12.5-inch display, there's a 4K option; either way, the screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4. Other specs include a Skylake Intel Core M processor, either 4GB or 8GB of RAM, and either 128GB or 256GB of solid-state storage. Like the Chromebook CB3-131, the Switch 12 S is available starting in February, though at a much higher starting price of $999.99.
Also sporting Intel's latest RealSense Camera are the Aspire V Nitro Black Edition laptops. The new 3D camera improves the sensing range, and Acer hopes it adds to the notebooks' gaming experience. The latest Black Edition portables include sixth-generation Intel Core processors and can come with Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M graphics and NVMe PCIe SSD storage. Another February release, the new Black Edition Nitro laptops will sport a starting price of $1,099.
Rounding out Acer's new laptops is the TravelMate P648 series of enterprise portables. In addition to familiar features for business travelers (full-sized keyboard with LED backlight and spill resistence, fingerprint reader, Trusted Platform Module 1.2 support), the P648 notebooks feature cutting-edge 802.11a/d Wi-Fi, with maximum speeds of 4.6Gbps or 10 times faster than 802.11a/c Wi-Fi transfer speeds.
Like the Switch 12 S, the P648 family includes a Thunderbolt 3 port (and three USB 3.0 inputs). You also get a choice of Skylake Intel Core processors, Nvidia GeForce 940M graphics, and room for a pair of terabyte hard drives or for SSDs that can be placed in an optional RAID 0 configuration. The new commercial notebooks will be available April from $799.99.