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Acer Aspire C720 Chromebook review

Verdict

A cheap, compact, practical Chromebook with a good level of performance

Review Date: 13 Dec 2013

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £166 (£199 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £180
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

As far as advertising spend goes, the Acer Aspire C720 has received more than its fair share since its launch. It’s been everywhere: on billboards, newspapers and magazines – yet it’s as unlikely a poster child as you’ll ever come across. See also: what's the best laptop you can buy in 2014?

It’s a humble Chromebook, all clad in plain grey plastics, with a 11.6in, non-touchscreen 1,366 x 768 display. It’s very light, and won’t make a big bulge in your laptop bag at 1.2kg (1.4kg with the charger), but there’s nothing at all exotic about it. The more enticing touchscreen version isn’t slated to appear in the shops until well into 2014.

Acer Aspire C720 Chromebook

Despite this, the C720 does have something about it. Aside from being extremely light, there’s plenty of connectivity on offer. A closer look at the edges reveals a full-sized HDMI port on the left next to a USB 3 connector and a 3.5mm headset jack. On the right, beside a Kensington lock slot, there’s room for a full-sized SD card and second USB socket, although this time it only runs at USB 2 speed. Under the hood, there’s dual-band wireless and Bluetooth, plus 16GB of internal flash storage.

As with all Chromebooks, the C720 is a doddle to set up: turn it on, type in your Gmail username and password, and you’re done. It’s quick to fire up, too. From off, the lockscreen appears in less than seven seconds; from standby, startup is instant – just open the lid.

Acer Aspire C720 Chromebook

Performance while it’s in use is impeccable, too, with the C720’s dual-core 1.4GHz Intel Celeron 2955U CPU and 2GB of RAM keeping things going at a responsive lick, no matter how many tabs are open. It copes just fine with streaming Full HD video as well, and gained jaw-dropping results of 357ms in SunSpider and 2,906 in the Peacekeeper HTML5 test. It’s a nippier device than HP’s Chromebook 11.

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User comments

Free?

Price when reviewd = free but not a word in the article as to how this is so! The unit seems to list at £199 at Curry's and Amazon.

By milliganp on 13 Dec 2013

As it's free...

...I'll have one as it is Christmas after all :)

By isofa on 14 Dec 2013

If it's possible to put in 4gb of ram and a bigger ssd it might be worth a look.

By JamesD29 on 16 Dec 2013

@JamesD29

Maybe a stupid question but... why?

By DArtiss on 16 Dec 2013

@DAartiss

Chrome doesn't suit my needs. This would make a nice replacement for my A150 without (directly) paying windows tax and I'd want extra ram and storage for mint or ubuntu.

By JamesD29 on 16 Dec 2013

@DAartiss

The whole point of Chromebook is to lure you into Google's "walled garden". You're not supposed\allowed(?) to fiddle.

The astonishing thing is that these things aren't even that cheap!

By wittgenfrog on 16 Dec 2013

Just read on another site that the ram is soldiered on so will have to wait for 4gb version or no sale. *sigh*

By JamesD29 on 16 Dec 2013

It is what it is.....

a very capable little machine which, when combined with all the Google office offerings and the free 100gb of Drive storage I received makes for excellent value for money and kinda negates the need by some people to want to beef up the storage.....It's not what they're designed for!
It's news to me that the ram is soldiered on but I can only assume that this is to guard against interference by the upgrade brigade....lol.

By sandyg86 on 19 Dec 2013

Only 2 GB?

I guess you can't run Winders on it then, Ubuntu will have to do.

By Col_Panek on 19 Dec 2013

GavinS

Had one of these for 2 months now, bought it for £180 from PC World with a 10% voucher.

I use it as secondary PC and think it works well. Battery life is superb, screen is fine, sound is decent for a cheap laptop, laptop for speedy for ChromeOS tasks - never lagged or hung.

Things they should improve though are:

- the half size return key. Completely ridiculous and slows typing
- keyboard is a bit too spongey.

By PicardC on 26 Dec 2013

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