What you need to know
- Acer expands its education collection with four new classroom-ready Chromebooks.
- The Acer Chromebook Spin 511 and Spin 512 offer processor and durability upgrades over their predecessors.
- The Acer Chromebook 511 is a Snapdragon 7c-powered Chromebook with LTE and — somehow — up to 20 hours of battery life.
- The Acer Chromebook 311 is a rugged clamshell version of the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (3H) we saw last summer, this time with battery claims of up to 20 hours.
Acer's been cranking out the Chromebooks recently, including the Ryzen-powered Acer Chromebook Spin 514 that debuted just last week at CES 2021, and it's showing no signs of slowing down. Bringing four new Chromebooks to BETT — a huge education conference in London — Acer is offering tailored solutions for students in different situations and districts working with different budgets. There's two 2-in-1 Chromebooks and two clamshells, and each has a standout feature of its own.
Starting with the Spin series, the Acer Chromebook Spin 512 is a 12-inch touchscreen 2-in-1 with a 3:2 aspect ratio, giving you a taller screen that can see further down a webpage at a time. Many love the 3:2 aspect ratio on the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 because it's allegedly more productivity-focused. At the very least it'll give you a bigger canvas to doodle on when you get bored during class — I mean practice your artistic craftsmanship while processing auditory material. The Spin 512 will start at $429.99 in North America.
Both the Spin 512 and the Acer Chromebook Spin 511 have Corning Gorilla Glass 3 touchscreens that are scratch-resistant and feature an antimicrobial coating that will stave off odor and stain-causing bacteria — no, it's not rated to kill COVID-19 — and that coating is also applied to the spill-resistant keyboard, touchpad and palm rests. The ports and hinges are reinforced, and both Chromebooks are tested to MIL-STD810H with four-foot drop tests and the ability to withstand over 100 pounds of downward force when it sits at the bottom of your kid's overstuffed backpack. Both are also powered by the Intel Celeron N4500 or N5100 depending on the configuration.
The Acer Chromebook Spin 511 is another touchscreen 2-in-1 with a more traditional 16.9 aspect ratio and 1366x768 screen. It's nice and compact, has plenty of ports and will start at $399.99 when it launches in April.
Moving on to the clamshells, the Acer Chromebook 511 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c computing platform, like the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 launched back in October. This processor allows for better battery life, especially for a Chromebook that's offering LTE connectivity, which will be highly useful for more rural school districts where you can't count on Wi-Fi on every corner. Acer claims you'll be able to get up to 20 hours of life out of the 48WHr battery on the Acer Chromebook 511 — I'll take that with a grain of salt until I can get my hands on one — and it'll go on sale at $399.99 this April.
The Acer Chromebook 311 is the only one of today's Chromebooks to go on sale this month rather than in April. Powered by the MediaTek MT8183, this is a bare-bones education Chromebook that's designed to fit cash-strapped budgets, and it's basically a Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (3H) with a rubberized, ruggedized clamshell exterior instead of a 360-degree hinge and increased battery life, with it getting the same 20-hour battery life claim as the Chromebook 511.
It's built to withstand falling off desks, being shoved in overloaded backpacks, and having most of a Coke spilled on its keyboard. In addition to MIL-STD810H testing, it's been certified to the ASTM F963-165 Toy Safety Standard and UL/IEC 60950-1 standard to ensure that it's as safe as it can possibly be for younger users who might not know how to properly treat a laptop. The Acer Chromebook 311 starts at $299.99 in North America and will be available later in January.
Personally, I'm most excited by the Acer Chromebook Spin 512 and the Acer Chromebook 511 with that 7c chip inside; both have the potential to break into Best Chromebooks for Students. But which one fits your needs? Who else was hoping for some color choices this year?! Share in the comments below, and stay tuned for more; BETT is just getting started.
Light and long-lasting
A great value for a long-lasting laptop
As a budget-minded Chromebook, the newest version of the Spin 311 may be light on ports, but the MediaTek processor gives it truly all-day battery life while still having enough power for schoolwork, light work, and casual computing.
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Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.