Acer Chromebook 13

A new entry into the ARM Chromebook market that has plenty of potential

Acer is expanding on its Chromebook lineup today with a new ARM-powered option that's the first Chromebook to make use of NVIDIA's Tegra K1 processor. The Acer Chromebook 13 is the second Chromebook from the manufacturer, but is distinctly different from the popular Intel-powered C720 model released last year.

As the name would suggest this is a 13-inch laptop, and though it isn't equipped with a touchscreen it does offer solid specs at a good price. The Chromebook 13 will come in three different models. A base model will be equipped with a 1366 x 768 display, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage for $279. Next level is a 1920 x 1080 display, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage for $299. The top-end model has a 1920 x 1080 display, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage for $379. White is the only color option here, regardless of spec choices.

Acer Chromebook 13Acer Chromebook 13

The processor in all of the models is the beefy Tegra K1 from NVIDIA, the same chip that powers the recently-introduced Shield Tablet and is deemed powerful enough to keep up with full laptop computing. The Chromebook 13 of course has a fanless design, keeping it quiet but also thinner — just 0.71 inches thick. It weighs in at an acceptable (but not great) 3.31 lbs. Other specs include 802.11ac Wifi, two USB 3.0 ports, a full-sized HDMI port, SD card slot and stereo speakers.

Acer is claiming 13 hours of battery life on the 1366 x 768 model and a solid 11 hours of life on the 1920 x 1080p models, which is impressive if it holds up in real-world use. The ARM-powered Samsung Chromebook 2 claimed battery life of 8.5 hours and came up short by roughly 30-40 percent, so we'll have to spend more time with this one to see how it holds up.

We had the opportunity to spend a little time with the Acer Chromebook 13 and think it has a lot of potential to be a high-selling device just like the C720 is. It's very nicely designed to feel thinner and lighter than it actually is, but we're still not thrilled by the TN display it's using that looks identical to the C720's. The keyboard feels identical to the C720 (in a good way) and the trackpad is much larger because of the added room of a 13-inch frame. The port configuration is a bit odd, putting one USB port and the HDMI port on the back, but that's really personal preference depending on how you use your laptop.

All models of the Acer Chromebook 13 are available for pre-order starting today from both Amazon and BestBuy, and will be shipping in the first week of September.

Acer Launches Industry's First Chromebook Powered by NVIDIA Tegra K1 and its First 13.3-inch Model

The #1 provider of Chromebooks expands its portfolio with a new line that delivers up to 13 hours of battery life, option for full HD 1920x1080 display

Aug. 11, 2014, San Jose, Calif. – Acer America today announced the Acer Chromebook 13, the industry's first Chromebook powered by an NVIDIA Tegra K1 mobile processor and the company's first with a 13.3-inch display. The Chromebook 13 enhances Acer's already dominant position in this category with an impressive 46.7 percent market share in Chromebooks.

The combination of additional real estate on the vibrant 13.3-inch display, industry-leading battery life of up to 13 hours,(2) and a thin and light fanless design makes the Acer Chromebook 13 the ideal choice for customers who want additional screen real estate along with a portable and productivity-boosting design. The Acer Chromebook 13 is available in two options – one with a full HD display with 1920x1080 resolution and another model with a 1366x768 display.

The Acer Chromebook 13 delivers the ultimate in mobility with the Tegra K1 with a 192-core GPU, enabling customers to get more done throughout their work day and after hours, no matter where they take their Chromebook. Customers will experience a first-rate multi-tasking experience when keeping multiple tabs open, playing a video and doing more all at once.

"The Acer Chromebook 13 is an ideal device for families who need a new or additional computer to share for school projects, research, entertainment and fun online," said Sumit Agnihotry, Acer's vice president of product marketing. "The display is large and vibrant, so everything from homework to video is incredibly crisp and detailed. Plus, up to 13 hours of battery life means families can use the device all day for work or school and not have to recharge it for nighttime activities like homework and watching movies."

The Acer Chromebook 13 uses the NVIDIA Tegra K1 4-Plus-1TM quad-core ARM Cortex A15 CPU plus a third-generation battery-saver core to provide up to 13 hours of battery life(2). Tegra K1 uses an NVIDIA Kepler architecture-based GPU with 192 programmable GPGPU cores to process rich and detailed graphics.

"The Acer Chromebook 13's long battery life, speedy multitasking and advanced graphics highlight the tremendous experiences that Tegra K1 delivers," said Kaustubh Sanghani, general manager of the mobile PC business unit at NVIDIA. "Acer's innovations and Tegra K1 will make the Chromebook 13 a popular device with consumers."

Two Options Provide Choice of Full HD Display, Extra-Long Battery Life

The Acer Chromebook 13's large 13.3-inch display comes in two models to give customer the options that fit their needs. The version with a full HD 1920x1080 display shows video in lifelike 1080p resolution and provides up to 11 hours of battery life.(2) In addition, models will be available with a bright and crisp 1366x768 resolution display that provides even longer battery life of up to 13 hours.(2) Both displays will have Acer ComfyViewTM anti-glare panels that minimize light reflection that can cause eye fatigue. In addition, the Acer Chromebook 13's display provides rich colors and excellent contrast, while the large size helps accommodate the spacious keyboard that is both comfortable and maximizes productivity.

Designed with mobility in mind, the Acer Chromebook 13 has an incredibly thin and light design that measures only 0.71 inches thin and weighs only 3.31 pounds. In addition, the Acer Chromebook 13 is fanless, so the system is nearly silent while operating. The Acer Chromebook 13 keeps customers in touch and connected with 802.11ac WiFi, which provides speeds up to three times faster than 802.11n. Plus, the 2x2 MIMO antenna helps ensure reliable throughput.

Starts Quickly; Connects to Popular Devices

The new Acer Chromebook 13 boots up in less than 10 seconds and resumes nearly instantly from sleep mode. This enables customers to more quickly enjoy the more than 30,000 free and paid apps, themes and extensions in the Chrome web store.

Customers will enjoy faster data transfers of photos and video with the Acer Chromebook 13's two USB 3.0 ports. Plus, streamed video and movies can be shared on a larger display or home TV using the Acer Chromebook 13's HDMI port. Video chats and Google Talk are all enhanced by the Chromebook's HD webcam that provides 720p HD audio/video recording as well as the two built-in stereo speakers and microphone.

Fun to Share, Easy to Protect

Chromebooks are simple to use and ideal for sharing by multiple users, such as families, schools or at different shifts at a business. Users can log into their own account to access Gmail, Docs, website bookmarks and other information. Storage on Google Drive(3) protects files, documents, and photos safely in the cloud, and ensures that the most current version of the file or document is always available and safe, even if the Chromebook is lost or stolen. Plus, Acer Chromebook 13 users can view, edit, create and collaborate on-line and off-line with a growing number of programs, such as Office documents and Gmail.

Security is a key benefit of the Chrome operating system, as it's automatically updated to guard against ever-changing online threats. This is especially useful for families and schools who want to protect children.

Pricing and Availability

Several models are available now for pre-sale:

  • The Acer Chromebook 13 CB5-311-T9B0 has the 1920x1080 full HD display, 2GB of memory and a fast 16GB Solid State Drive(4). It is priced at only $299.99 and is available now for pre-sale at BestBuy.com.
  • The Acer Chromebook 13 CB5-311-T1UU has a 1920x1080 full HD display, 4GB of memory and a fast 32GB Solid State Drive(4). It is priced at only $379.99 and is available now for pre-sale at Amazon.com.
  • The Acer Chromebook 13 CB5-311-T7NN has a 1366x768 display, 2GB of memory and a fast 16GB Solid State Drive(4). It is priced at only $279.99 and is available now for pre- sale at Amazon.com.
  • Acer is also offering a configuration via resellers that will be sold to commercial and education customers. That model comes with a 1366x768 display, 4GB of memory, a fast 16GB Solid State Drive(4) and will be priced at $329.99.

Acer systems are backed by professional, high-quality technical support. The company's online community at community.acer.com provides customers discussion forums, answers to frequently asked questions and the opportunity to share ideas for new and enhanced services and products.

 

Reader comments

Acer announces Tegra K1-powered Chromebook 13

57 Comments

I wouldn't turn down a computer that was otherwise great just because it only comes in white, but I would definitely prefer this in the same color as the C720. That's a surprisingly attractive machine for the price.

Posted from my Nexus 5, behind seven proxies

Can someone explain all the flak TN panels get? I've had them on both my laptops and never minded the issue with having to occasionally adjust the screen angle. My color reproduction never seemed off, the only thing I thought that should be fixed are the blacks *grays*

Posted via Android Central App

That is the exact reason they get "hate." The contrast is just not there. It will be less noticable on a laptop screen, but imagine people with a 27" screen and having noticeably gray, blacks. It is pretty annoying.

The other reason is that we are getting some very impressive displays on tablets and phones now, and then we get bottom of the barrel ones on laptops. Many people would happily pay a bit of a premium for a quality IPS display on a machine with decent performance (the HP Chromebook 11 doesn't count)

Posted via Android Central App

Ah, okay, thanks to the both of you. I don't mind them on my laptop because I can adjust the screen, but it would be balls on a desktop monitor.

Posted via Android Central App

The HP 11 is just not powerful. It wasn't when it came out and looks even worse compared to current models.

Posted via Android Central App

Andrew, just for clarity on the TN panel comment and look of the photos, is this the 768 unit you have or the 1080? I'm really hoping it's the 768, because that screen looks awful.

Posted via Android Central App

I actually really like the design of this machine, but is there a reason we're still getting ARM Chromebooks? They don't seem to have the same battery or cost advantage that they used to have. Intel's new chips have (so far) blown every ARM chromebook out of the water.

I guess we'll see, but dang, I don't understand it.

Yeah I'm currently using a BayTrail Chromebook and it seems to perform better than ARM models with better battery life also... I'll withhold judgment on this Acer till I can use it longer though.

Posted via Android Central App

That's fair! Hopefully I'm surprised, but after Samsung's chip failed to impressed, I'm a little hesitant appreciating ARM chromebooks. And they're expensive!

I'd still prefer a PC to be honest. An android tablet would be a better replacement for a Chromebook.

Posted via Android Central App

Can someone answer a question please regarding chromebooks, is it possible to play media files on the chromebooks itself. You know mp4 etc.

Posted via Android Central App on nexus 7 (2nd gen)

So does that mean you don't need a vlc type app to play movies...

Posted via Android Central App on nexus 7 (2nd gen)

There is a very basic media player built-in that'll play movies, as long as the codec is supported.

Yeah...not really...

It may have more bezel than the G3, but the design is better for my larger hands. I wouldn't say the OnePlus has huge bezels by any stretch.

Posted via the 64 GB OnePlus One

I don't know much about specs. How does this chip compare to the ARM which is in the Samsung chromebook 2?

Posted via Android Central App

Thanks. I know you guys have been stepping up your chromebook reviews and I appreciate it. Very excited about these new models from Acer. They seem to hit the Holy grail of good enough performance, high screen resolution, great battery life, decent build quality and good pricing. Anxiously awaiting the review.

Posted via Android Central App

You also get more storage. Should come in handy as chromeos allows more offline functionality. But there something psychologically off-putting about a chromebook (especially an Acer) for more than $300

Posted via Android Central App

I thought of purchasing it too, but at the last moment I didn't.
Why? because another Chromebook, from Samsung, has also ARM chip (Exynous) and the performance there is horrible when you're switching between tabs. Try opening 4-8 tabs and then switch between them.
Yes, K1 is much better compared to the Exynous, but not much better when it comes to general use (OpenGL/OpenCL support won't help you much when you switch tabs or open another app)/

So my suggestion would be to wait until some benchmarks would appear here or anywhere else.

Anyone have any idea on the performance that the Tegra K1 will yield vs. the Exynos 8-Core chip that Samsung is putting into the Chromebook 2? I like the design cues of the Samsung device far more but if the K1 is a significant boost in performance it may sway me to the Acer side. I still have some concerns about the Exynos for moderate to heavy workloads as well as long term life.

I'll wait to see what dell brings with its i3 based Chromebook, but I think either this or the dell will be my first ever Chromebook

Posted from the Avengers: Age of Droid Ultra

I'm wondering how this compares to the Asus c300.
It's a pretty big price difference between the two so unless the performance of the k1 is better then baytrail processors I really don't see how ARM chromebooks will justify their higher prices.

So how long before Acer et al start giving their base models more than 2GB of RAM? The prices they pay for memory now mean it really shouldn't impact their costs by more than a few dollars. And the 4GB models are always the first to sell out by a long shot. Is it just a matter of they CAN price it higher and sell it as the premium model so they DO?

Posted via Android Central App on my Droid Maxx

Not interested, I have had 3 Acers in the past, 2 pcs and a Chromebook, all 3 were garbage and lasted less than 9 months before frying. My Chromebook Acer lasted 3 months and just stopped turning on. All of them were well taken care of and not abused.

Posted via Android Central App

I have a question.... take a look at acer's website for this chromebook: http://us.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/series/acer-chromebook

Shows a black bezel in some of the pics. It looks like an (almost) edge to edge, flush screen. The black looks good around the edges too.

But all the models shown have the white bezel with the screen set back. I really like the look of the black bezel, but it looks like it must have been on a pre-release version or something and the marketing pics are out of date :(

Does anyone have any more info on this? I am hoping the touch version has the black bezel or something...

Am I the only one thinking the middle option is the no-brainer here?

Assuming you're into Chromebooks in the first place.

Although you guys aren't thrilled with the display, I'm glad there are more full HD Chromebooks available. I want an Intel processor in my next Chromebook, though.

Posted via AC App on HTC One