Acer is one of two manufactures of Google’s new Chromebook line of portable computers. Chromebooks are similar in size and concept to netbooks, but with one major difference: they are designed from the ground up to run Google’s new Chrome OS. Is the Acer AC700-1099 all style and no substance, or does it offer some serious reasons for purchase? Let’s have a closer look.
Key Specs For The Acer AC700-1099
Release Year: 2011
Operating System: Google OS
Dimensions: 11.2 x 1 x 8.1 inches
Screen Size: 11.6
Battery Life: 6 hours
Storage Space: 16 GB SSD
RAM: 2 GB
Acer AC700-1099: The Pros
Chrome OS: It’s clear that the main reason for purchasing the Acer AC700 is for Chrome OS. There are plenty of other netbooks to choose from that run Windows and are of a decent standard. However, only the Acer AC700 and Samsung Series 5 offer Google’s Chrome OS.
For those who aren’t familiar with Chrome OS, it’s a new operating system designed by Google that specializes in web browsing, and integrated online computing. One of its major innovations is moving virtually all of its software, as well as your file storage, into the cloud. More on that shortly though. Let’s start with the most obvious things first.
- Speed: When you first start up your Acer AC700 you’ll immediately notice how quickly it’s loaded and ready to roll. This isn’t really to do with the hardware in the machine. It’s primarily due to Chrome OS. Google designed Chrome OS to load up fast, and that means in 9 seconds or less from off. Windows machines generally take anywhere from 1 minute and up to start, and although Macs are fast, they don’t match the Chrome OS’s super-speedy start-ups.
Aside from start-up, the machine is also able to wake from sleep mode in around 1 second. That’s incredibly fast – just like a Mac. This really makes it feel so easy to log on and browse whenever the mood, or need, takes you.
- Storage: Earlier, we mentioned storage in the cloud, or “cloud storage”. Cloud storage is a technology that’s been on the increase over the last few years as internet connections speed up. What cloud storage means is that your files (videos, images, documents etc.) aren’t stored physically on your computer’s hard drive. Instead they are uploaded to the internet and stored entirely online.
- Apps: Where Chrome OS really takes advantage of this technology though is in “apps” concept. Whilst most computers have a whole range of software installed onto them for various uses, Chrome OS simply runs apps directly through the browser. You don’t download or install anything, you just click on an app and away you go.
The web apps store gives you instant access to tens of millions of different apps, allowing you to do pretty much anything you want whenever you want. Some apps are free, and some are paid for, but you can find software for virtually any need whether it’s gaming or photo editing.
- Viruses: Another major Chrome OS advantage is its resilience to viruses and other malware. It’s been designed with virus protection in mind, and it’s almost impossible to get a virus on your laptop when surfing through chrome.
HDMI Port: A great feature of the Acer AC700 is its HDMI port. Not many netbooks feature these, but they’re great for users who like to make the most of their HDTVs. Using the HDMI port it’s possible to view your photos and videos on an HDTV.
Battery: Not only does the battery last a good 6 hours when in use, but on standby it can last for a couple of days without running low. This is a great energy saver, and saves the hassle of having to worry about charging up every time you leave your laptop on sleep mode.
Software Updates: On Windows and Mac software updates can be time consuming and annoying to deal with. Chrome OS makes the process infinitely more straightforward. Not only do updates happen automatically, but they don’t take time or ask you to reboot your computer. It’s kept quick and easy, and out of sight.
Replaceable Battery: The battery on the Acer AC700 is replaceable. This means you can buy a spare, charge it up, and carry it with you on long journeys to provide you with extra juice when you may not have access to a power point.
Acer AC700-1099: The Cons
Screen: Although the 11.6″ screen is bigger than many netbooks, it’s noticeably smaller than the Samsung Series 5’s 12.1″ display. This isn’t exactly a huge deal for a portable device like this, but it does make browsing the web a little less comfortable, and also makes movie viewing slightly less enjoyable.
16GB SSD: Because Chrome OS has been designed to utilize cloud technology for all storage needs, the hard drive on this computer is really lacking. It’s only 16GB. If you need a device to store lots of videos, photos and music, you’ll either need to invest in an external hard drive to connect to your Chromebook, or otherwise you’ll need to consider an alternative device.
Web-Apps only: As a computer running Chrome OS, there are some software limitations which could affect your decision to buy this product. Basically, if you need to use Microsoft or Mac-specific software, like Microsoft Word for example, you won’t be able to work on a Chromebook. Chrome OS only supports web apps designed specifically for Chrome, and cannot run complete software packages from rival companies.
No Skype: Sadly, if you’re a Skype user you won’t be able to talk to your family and friends with a Chromebook. The Chrome OS currently doesn’t offer any form of Skype, and this isn’t likely to change any time soon. Skype is owned by Microsoft, one of Google’s main rivals, and they don’t want to share the ever-popular Skype with a rival.
Security: Although in many ways security is fantastic on a Chromebook, the login system does leave you vulnerable. If someone gets hold of your Chrome OS account logic details, they’ll also have access to your Gmail account, web apps store account etc. It’s possible to protect yourself from this sort of threat by regularly changing your password, but this is a risk that Google should look to address in future.
Is The Acer AC700-1099 Worth Buying?
The question of whether you should buy the Acer AC700, or any other Chromebook, primarily revolves around whether Chrome OS meets your needs. In terms of hardware, the Acer AC700 can match most other netbooks, and certainly zips along at a decent speed. However, limitations on software available through the web apps store may mean you need to look elsewhere. If you’ll just be browsing the web and sending emails then the Acer AC700 might be for you – providing you’re ready to learn how to use the new operating system.
List Price: $299.99
Sale Price: Too low to display.
Acer/ac700-1099 - Intel - atom - n570 - 1.66 ghz - ddr3 sdram - ram: 2 GB - 16 g. It includes 3.5 mm headphone output and 3.5 mm Mic input.
- The Intel® Atom(TM) N570 Processor
- 2GB DDR3 Memory
- 16GB Solid State Drive
- 11.6" HD Widescreen CineCrystal(TM) LED-backlit LCD, Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 3150
- Google OS, 6 Hour Battery Life