Chromebooks have always intrigued me. For what I do, a Chromebook seems like the perfect workhorse but the problem always was — Chromebooks were hard to find in Malaysia.
Well, not anymore because Acer Malaysia has just launched a slew of them plus two Chromeboxes.
Acer launched three different Chromebooks at three drastically different price points with a focus on productivity and general robustness. At the entry level, with prices starting from RM999, you’ve got the Acer Chromebook 11 N7.
It’s not the most attractive of names, but for under a thousand bucks you’ll get an Intel Celeron dual-core processor N3060 with 2GB of DDR3L RAM and 16GB of eMMC storage. This Chromebook sports an 11.6-inch HD TFT display pushing a resolution of 1366×768 pixels. For RM1,099, you can bump RAM and storage up to 4GB and 32GB respectively.
You’d be thinking that the price tag is a little high for those specs and you’d be right. However, it isn’t all about the specs — this laptop has Military Grade impact resistance (MIL-STD 810G), so it can survive drops up to 122cm, and a spill-resistant keyboard. Acer says it’ll also last 12 hours on a single charge.
I/O is also pretty good, featuring two USB 3.0 ports, 1 HDMI (with HDCP support) port and a combo headphone jack. Weight is relatively manageable, coming in at 1.35kg.
In the middle tier though — which looks more like the sweet spot here — you’ll find the Chromebook R 11. It’s got the same 11.6 HD TFT display as the N7, but this one comes with a quad-core Celeron N3150 processor, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage.
But it isn’t just a minor spec upgrade, the R 11 also features a 360-degree hinge and a touch-screen for added productivity options. It’s also the first laptop to support Google Play apps. However, you do lose the Military Grade impact resistance and spill-resistant design.
You also give up one USB 3.0 port for a USB 2.0 port and battery life gets bumped down to just 10 hours. It’s marginally lighter at 1.25kg though. This unit is priced at RM1,499.
If you want the Military Grade protection, 12-hour battery life, and spill resistance back plus a larger screen, you’ll have to pony up for the Chromebook 14 which. For RM2,499, you’re getting a significant upgrade across the board.
The Celeron chip is replaced with an Intel Core i5-6200U processor while RAM gets bumped up to 8GB. Storage, unfortunately, remains a stubborn 32GB. Although resolution remains the same as the other two, it is larger now, coming in at 14 inches with a Gorilla glass cover on its back.
I/O is also improved as it sports two USB 3.0 ports, one USB Type-C port, one HDMI port, and a headphone combo jack. Of course, all of these extra goodies also add weight to the laptop because the Chromebook 14 weighs 1.45kg.
All three laptops come with a 1-year international traveller’s warranty but the Chromebook 14 also receives a 3-year Next Business Day On-site warranty.
Besides the Chromebooks, Acer also launched two Chromeboxes. The RM1,999 Chromebox is a tiny little machine that sports an Intel Core i3-5005U dual-core Broadwell processor with 4GB of DDR3L RAM and 16GB of SSD storage. It’s got built-in Intel HD graphics, support for 802.11ac WiFi, has an HDMI port, a DisplayPort, an audio jack, two USB 3.0 ports, and a LAN port.
There’s also a Mini PCI Express, a Kensington lock, a Trusted Platform Module (v1.2) and a VESA mounting kit. For added usability, Acer included an SD card reader and two more USB 3.0 ports in front.
If you want more performance, you can upgrade to the CXV2 which has an Intel Core i7-5500U for RM4,599. This upgrade also includes a plug-and-go video conference set that includes a remote control, a video camera and an omnidirectional microphone.