Being on Google’s side since the very beginning of the Chromebook “experiment”, Acer was bound to ultimately get a Chrome OS-powered laptop just right, which looks to be the case with the beefy, frugal Chromebook 13 CB5.
Who’d have thunk it? When Google introduced the rudimentary Samsung Series 5 and Acer AC700 back in 2011, most PC aficionados didn’t expect the pair to survive and breed a single offspring, let alone start a trend and reverse the financial misfortunes of several once relevant computer makers.
Yes, as hard as it may be to believe, Acer, Lenovo and HP are nowadays earning more money off Chromebooks than traditional Windows notebooks. And at least in Acer’s camp, the future’s bright, thanks to higher-end models packing Intel Core i3 and Nvidia Tegra K1 processors.
The K1 configurations, hyped and teased for a few months now, are official at last, going up for pre-orders on Amazon for a short while until being pulled and listed as “not yet released”. But clearly, they’re right around the corner, with inside sources telling us September shall see them have their long anticipated commercial debut.
What’s incredible is, despite rocking larger screens than all of Acer’s previous Chromebooks, and zippier chips than most same-class computers around, the CB5 lineup is quite affordable. Also dubbed simply Chromebook 13, the cheapest version costs $279.99 with 2 GB RAM, a 16 GB SSD and modest 1,366 x 768 pixels resolution display.
On the surface, that panel is sure disappointing, but pushing less-than-adequate pixels helps the Tegra K1 deliver mind-blowing 13 hours of continuous use on a single charge. Unlike on the $300 and $380 configs, where autonomy drops closer to ten hours.
Which is still impressive, mind you, and considerably north of standard Windows numbers, plus the $300 CB5-311-T9B0 ups the screen res ante to Full HD (1,920 x 1,080). Ditto for the $380 CB5-311-T1UU, which also doubles-down on RAM and internal storage (4 and 32 gigs respectively).
Boy oh boy, Chromebooks have come a long way, somehow preserving that nice air of mass-appealing affordability. Who cares they’re virtually useless sans a network connection? You’re always on the web anyway, right?