Acer Chromebook R13 review: Versatile design and good battery life

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  • Editors' rating
    7.9 Very good
  • $399.99

Pros

  • Full HD IPS touchscreen
  • Slimline but sturdy convertible chassis
  • All-day battery life

Cons

  • Only 64GB of internal storage

Acer's extensive range of Chromebooks is divided into two main product lines: models with a conventional laptop design and devices with an 'R' prefix, which indicates a convertible design with a reversible screen that can be used as both a laptop and a tablet. Falling into the latter category is the Chromebook R13, an impressive convertible device which proves that Chromebooks don't always have to be second-class citizens when compared to their Windows and Mac rivals.

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The 13.3-inch convertible Chromebook R13 has a full-HD IPS screen, is just 18mm thick and weighs 1.5kg.

Images: Acer

High-def, low price

Priced at £399.99 inc. VAT; £333.33 ex. VAT, or $429.99 in the US), the Chromebook R13 is relatively expensive for a Chromebook, but you'd be hard pushed to find a Windows laptop offering similar design quality and features for less than £500.

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Tent mode (top) and Presentation mode (bottom).

Images: Acer

The most noticeable feature of the R13 is its high-definition 13.3-inch display, which provides full HD (1,920x1,080) resolution for 165.6 pixels per inch (ppi). That's a rarity in this price range, but the R13 doesn't cut too many corners here, the IPS panel providing a bright, sharp image with good all-round viewing angles. And, with the ability to fold the screen right back so that it acts as a stand, the R13 will work well if you need to give a quick offline presentation when you're travelling. Fold the screen all the way back and the R13 turns into a tablet with touch-screen controls, allowing you to relax and browse the web, or watch some streaming video.

Even the speakers stand up well, with good sound quality and sufficient volume to ensure that you don't always need headphones or external speakers. There is a headphone socket if you need it, along with HDMI for connecting up an external monitor. A USB-C port doubles up as the power connector, but there's also a standard USB 3.1 port for office peripherals and storage devices, as well as a MicroSD card slot for adding some extra internal storage if required.

Build quality is good, with the R13 measuring just 18mm thick and weighing 1.5kg, but still feeling sturdy enough to cope with a few bumps in a backpack or briefcase when you're travelling. Acer's claim of 12 hours of battery life seems a bit optimistic, but we did manage to get nine hours and five minutes of streaming video from the BBC iPlayer, so the Chromebook R13 will certainly give you a full day's work when connected to wi-fi -- and perhaps stretch to 10 hours if you're not online the whole time.

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The Chromebook R13's keyboard is spacious, but the keys aren't backlit. The touchpad is responsive.

Image: Acer

Here in the UK, the Chromebook R13 is available in just a single configuration, based on a quad-core Mediatek MT8173C processor running at 2.1GHz. That's backed up by 4GB of memory and 64GB of flash storage, along with an integrated PowerVR GX6250 graphics processor. It's a combination that works well, with the Chromebook R13 responding quickly and smoothly when editing some simple documents with Google Docs and Slides.

Conclusions

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The modest memory and internal storage of the Chromebook R13 may not suit business users who need to work with more complex documents in Microsoft Office. However, its attractive display and versatile design represent excellent value for money, and the Chromebook R13 is well suited to mobile web browsing and simple document creation when you're out of the office.

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Specifications

General
Packaged Quantity 1
Operating System Google Chrome OS
Processor / Chipset
CPU MediaTek MT8173 2.1 GHz
Number of Cores Quad-Core
Cache L2 - 1 MB
64-bit Computing Yes
Cache Memory
Type L2 cache
Installed Size 1 MB
Memory
Technology LPDDR3 SDRAM
RAM
Configuration Features provided memory is soldered
Technology LPDDR3 SDRAM
Installed Size 4 GB
Display
LCD Backlight Technology LED backlight
Resolution 1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
Widescreen Display Yes
Image Aspect Ratio 16:9
Monitor Features anti-glare
Type LED
Touchscreen yes (10-point multi-touch)
TFT Technology IPS
Diagonal Size (metric) 33.8 cm
Display Resolution Abbreviation Full HD
Audio & Video
Graphics Processor PowerVR GX6250
Integrated Webcam Yes
Sound Stereo speakers, microphone
Hard Drive
Type SSD
SSD Form Factor eMMC
Capacity 32 GB, 64 GB
Input
Type keyboard, touchpad
Localization & Layout US
Communications
Wireless Protocol 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, Bluetooth
Wireless Controller Marvell 88W8897
Processor
CPU Type MT8173
Manufacturer MediaTek
Clock Speed 2.1 GHz
Optical Storage
Drive Type no optical drive
Type none
Card Reader
Type card reader
Supported Flash Memory microSD
Battery
Technology 3-cell lithium polymer
Capacity 4670 mAh
Cells 3-cell
Technology lithium polymer
Run Time (Up To) 12 hour(s)
AC Adapter
Input AC 120/230 V (50/60 Hz)
Output 45 Watt
Connections & Expansion
Interfaces HDMI
Headphone/microphone combo jack
USB 3.0
USB-C (with power off charging)
Memory Card Reader Yes (microSD)
Header
Brand Acer
Product Line Acer Chromebook R 13
Model CB5-312T-K40U, CB5-312T-K6TF
Country Kits United States
Packaged Quantity 1
Networking
Data Link Protocol Bluetooth, Bluetooth 4.0, IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11ac, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n
Wireless NIC Marvell 88W8897
System
Notebook Type Chromebook
Mechanical Design 360° flip design
Platform Chrome OS
Hard Drive Capacity 64 GB, 32 GB
Miscellaneous
Color sparkly silver
Case Material anodized aluminum
Integrated Options Accelerometer
Features fanless
Included Accessories power adapter
Theft/Intrusion Protection security lock slot (cable lock sold separately)
Monitor
Diagonal Size 13.3 in
Image Brightness 300 cd/m2
Dimensions & Weight
Width 12.8 in
Depth 9 in
Height 0.6 in
Physical Characteristics
Weight 3.28 lbs
Operating System / Software
OS Provided: Type Google Chrome OS
Video Output
Graphics Processor PowerVR GX6250
Graphics Processor Series PowerVR
Notebook Camera
Integrated Webcam Yes
Interfaces
Comment with power off charging

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Where To Buy

Acer Chromebook R13

Part Number: CB5-312T-K6TF
Price
$399.99