back to article Acer Chromebook 13: The best Googletop on the market?

Take a quick gander at any decent tech news site and you'll find stories about Chromebook sales doubling in 2014 and the Googly laptop being a gadget that is here to stay. That’s why every self-respecting PC maker is muscling in on the Chromebook scene. Acer Chromebook 13 Acer's Chromebook 13: full HD display anyone? …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Damn it, just the one USB port

    I don't care - it's not enough - I want one for a mouse and one for an external drive or scanner.

    But otherwise, it's looking pretty good. And I can live without the mouse for a short time.

    But where to buy it? AcerUK don't believe it exists, in the HD version.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Damn it, just the one USB port

      Oops, just found the second port. As the editing timed out...

      Yes, I want one.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Meh

      Re: Damn it, just the one USB port

      Then just buy a hub....it's not great biggy if you are connecting to a printer. Can understand it if you want to say connect a mouse and your phone or something.

    3. Gordan

      Re: Damn it, just the one USB port

      It is not entirely clear how this compares to the Mk2 Google Chromebook which has 8 CPU cores and also has a 1080p screen.

      1. Killing Time

        Re: Damn it, just the one USB port

        @ Gordan

        I read release of the Sammy MK2 Chromebook got binned in the UK along with all the other Samsung PC products.

        Shame really as the MK1 is great unit just a little small screenwise. It's screen limitation becomes apparent the more you rely on it..

        A victim of it's own usefulness.....

        1. jason 7

          Re: Damn it, just the one USB port

          Still better than those 1024x600 netbooks though!

          1366x768 works okay on a 11" screen just not on anything 13" and above.

          Just a shame 1600x900 (or even 1680x1050 for the depth fans) has all but disappeared. Always though that would have made a better intermediate/standard screen res for standard 13"+ laptops.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Damn it, just the one USB port

            Can confirm. 1680x1050 on a 13.3" screen is perfect for my eyes.

          2. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Damn it, just the one USB port

            I find it very refreshing for a reviewer to realise that resolution for resolution's sake is not the be all and end all. A chromebook will never need 1920x1080 for 95% of users. But 95% of users will feel that they need 1920x1080;.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Damn it, just the one USB port

          @ Killing Time

          Unfortunately Samsung did kill off the XE503C32 in the UK, but I decided I wanted one anyway - mostly for the 1080p upgrade from the 1st gen.

          Sourcing options included USA or EU so I got a nearly-new via eBay from Greece.

          I'm pleased with it - I stay in ChromeOS but have switched to developer mode where I can have a root shell, and have installed a native compiler and several of my favourite *nix command-line tools.

          Toy Linux-a-like for a tinkerer - ideal for me.

          1. Killing Time

            Re: Damn it, just the one USB port

            @ AC

            Yes I was planning to upgrade to the XE503C32 as the reviews were good however markets are cut throat and we appear to moving into the realms of disposable computing.

            Got a 14" HP unit instead and I am happy enough with that.

            Nine to twelve months from now something else will be on the market at a higher spec but for about the same money and I will probably cycle again.

            Given the overall Chromebook sales figure we appear to be seeing a successful implementation of 'thin client' computing which has been banged on about for years, just never delivered.

            Not the solution to everything.... but 95% of it...........

        3. Gordan

          Re: Damn it, just the one USB port

          @Killing Time

          I have a Mk1 and I think the screen size is just fine. The main problems with it, IMO, are the terrible touch pad (casing flexes and causes it to click when you don't want it to) and the low res screen.

          1. Killing Time

            Re: Damn it, just the one USB port

            @ Gordan

            Wouldn't disagree that they aren't without their problems, but for the money? The battery will give diminishing returns eventually depending on usage and age. For essentially the same amount a year later you have a range of higher specification machines to choose from.

            Trade up and Ebay the old one..........If you can bring yourself to.....

            Or find the US company offering replacement batteries and keep it as a small, light hugely portable standby......

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Damn it, just the one USB port

      I'm pretty sure you can get a proper computer running a full Windows OS for that sort of money these days. No need to restrict yourself with a limited dumb terminal from The Borg...

      Congratulations though to The Borg for managing to invent an OS with more malware than Windows!

  2. TheProf

    One for dad

    This sounds ideal for my dad. He only uses his current laptop for internet stuff. I don't think he's got any 'proper' programs loaded.

    1. Stumpy Pepys

      Re: One for dad

      I think Chrome OS (or tablets) should be compulsory for parents.

      1. Badvok
        Pirate

        Re: One for dad

        "I think Chrome OS (or tablets) should be compulsory for parents."

        I know where you are coming from but I'd like to stick to my gaming rig and various servers, thanks.

      2. Anna Logg

        Re: One for dad

        I think Chrome OS (or tablets) should be compulsory for technophobes

        FTFY

      3. Simon Ward

        Re: One for dad

        I gave my father my old Acer C720 - once I'd set things up for him and gave him a brief rundown of how things work he's been extremely happy with it. Hell, even my mind-buggeringly technophobic mother has been known to use it on occasion.

        It looks like this one may resolve the biggest issue I had with the C720 - the screen resolution.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: One for dad

        I think Chrome OS (or tablets) should be compulsory for parents. to give to their 'know it all' children. Not all of us are decrepit even if we are supposed to be retired.

        I am quite happy in our server room and out on the floor teaching the young ones just how to apply security to their working practices.

    2. Stuart 22

      Re: One for dad

      I'm a Grandad so is it ok to use my Samsung offline? With a Kubuntu crouton to be precise. Works brilliantly though the 16Gb is a bit tight for applications even with a 64Gb low profile USB stick for data. So this would work much better. Pity about ARM as it means no Wine.

      But then instant online and great battery performance are the killers for these devices. Those of us who like building personal clouds so we can be truly mobile may need fewer local legacy apps requiring the crouton making it near perfect.

      BTW if you are a SysAdmin you can SSH straight out of ChomeOS shell with key authorisation which is really cute. Grandads prefer blo^H^H^H command lines.

  3. jason 7

    Micro USB power/charging socket.

    Shame more of these don't come with such a socket for slow charging on a phone charger. Means you only have to take one charging plug.

    Didn't HP do this with one of theirs?

    1. Boothy

      Re: Micro USB power/charging socket.

      I suspect it probably uses a 12V charger, rather the current USB standard of 5V.

      Roll on the new Type-C connector, and USB 3.1, as this includes USB PD (Power Delivery), which as well as 5V @ (up to) 2A, includes 12V @ 1.5A, 3A & 5A, plus 20V @ 3A and 5A.

      So should be able to replace just about any charging requirements for any type of portable gadgets.

    2. dotdan

      Re: Micro USB power/charging socket.

      Yep - Chromebook 11. I have one, and love it.

      Can't imagine switching to a different Chromebook unless it also supports charging by USB.

      Mobiles charge quickly with the Chromebook-supplied a 3 amp charger too!

  4. Pat 11

    Printing?

    These are great little laptops, the instant on makes it the one I always reach for. The only thing that spoils it for me is the lack of direct printer connection. I have cloud print working via a redundant Pi but it's slow and a bit flakey. Anyone know if they plan to introduce native printer drivers?

  5. William Donelson

    "The best Googletop on the market?"

    You mean like "The best 3-wheel car on the market?"

    1. Jordan Davenport
  6. roblightbody

    Chrome and screen resolutions

    Are you sure there isn't a way to change the font size on Chrome?

    The Chromebook pixel has 2560 x 1700 at 239 PPI but the reviews I've read haven't mentioned this...??

    1. fandom Silver badge

      Re: Chrome and screen resolutions

      Maybe

    2. Al Taylor

      Re: Chrome and screen resolutions

      You can change the overall screen rez but the result looks pretty dire. You can change the size of content text in the browser panel but not in the menu, tab and bookmarks bar. That's the stuff that looks too small to my eyes.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    These are Netbooks done right. I pity the less-technical people who have had Windows thrown at them by their "experts", who are blinded by their fanaticism, ignorance, and own motives.

    Sure, this isn't the type of computer I'd be buying - it's just not suitable for my use cases, but it's perfect for those who's life doesn't revolve around IT and I'd recommend them to anyone. No complaints, problems or trips to PC World for a "re-boot" from my personal "clients". They Just Work.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "experts", who are blinded by their fanaticism, ignorance, and own motives.

      That's you that is.

      1. birchanger_toper

        Re: "experts", who are blinded by their fanaticism, ignorance, and own motives.

        @AC Upvoted for the History Today reference.

  8. Alex Walsh

    I'm more interested in the Toshiba Click Mini- 8.9 inch Windows tablet, with a keyboard dock (with built in battery). Combined battery life of 16 hours, out 1st quarter for £250. Hoping it looks as tasty as it has in the CES hands on in real life...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I took the Chromebook plunge last year.

    Never looked back. Sure it doesn't run Microsoft Office, but who runs that these days, it doesn't run Call of Duty either, but then I have a PS4 to handle gaming.

    The old Windows laptop was only ever being used to browse the web and use web apps, so you may as well do it securely with a Chromebook, no windows bloat here. 2 second boot from cold, blistering performance, cheap as chips price tag and great battery life.

    Everyone I know that I have sent the way of a Chromebook has been overjoyed with them, but they weren't walking into it blind, I carefully explained what they DO and Don't do, and the advantages of them.

    1. Boothy
      Go

      Re: I took the Chromebook plunge last year.

      I'm in a similar position, although I have a gaming PC in the den (otherwise known as the spare bedroom), rather than a PS4.

      My laptop (which lives in the living room) gets used mainly for a bit of on-line shopping, or on the rare occasions when a web site isn't tablet friendly (Android), or if I'm expecting to do a bit of typing. But it's getting long in the tooth, is slow to boot, and the battery lasts about an hour at best.

      I don't see the point in getting another laptop, as that's just another device to install AV on, and keep patching and cleaning etc. And I really can't be bothered these days. If I really need to use Office, I'll boot up the desktop, or break out my works Lenovo.

      A chrome book seems to fit the bill, small, light, long battery life, a keyboard, and now a reasonable screen resolution, especially for the price. (The cheapest laptops with 1080p seem to be around £100+ more than the Acer).

    2. SteveK

      Re: I took the Chromebook plunge last year.

      Sure it doesn't run Microsoft Office,

      Although I am slightly bemused by the fact that all the Chromebooks for sale from Dabs/BT Business appear to be offering a bundle deal on buying the Chromebook with MS Office 2013 or Office 365...

  10. Kevin Fairhurst

    have they sorted out the lack of citrix yet?

    or do you still have to have your own citrix shop at work (or whatever it bloody well is you need) ?

    1. poopypants

      Re: have they sorted out the lack of citrix yet?

      Is this what you're looking for?

      https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/citrix-sharefile/fjphemlndlpgcngpgbaofdbkccjomopc?utm_source=chrome-ntp-icon

      1. Kevin Fairhurst

        Re: have they sorted out the lack of citrix yet?

        No, it's the Citrix Receiver. They canned it and said use the HTML5 version. But you could only get that downloaded and installed if your IT dept had signed up to a certain level of Citrix support; it wasn't a standard client as with windows etc.

        A quick Google suggests that they finally saw sense and re-released a native receiver app last August - probably about a week after I gave up on chrome books when I was last looking :

        http://techcrunch.com/2014/08/21/google-and-citrix-team-up-to-make-chromebooks-more-attractive-to-businesses/

        1. Kevin Fairhurst

          Re: have they sorted out the lack of citrix yet?

          Replying to myself in case anyone else is interested... Apparently event the native Citrix chrome app requires StoreFront so if your IT department is sticking with the Web Interface (which is the case where I work) then you're still outta luck :(

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    replacing Chrome OS with

    Windows?

    ...

    now, now, DO stop laughing!

  12. Haro

    We need a story

    I totally failed with my 80 year old neighbour. He wanted Outlook and Office, and has barely got cutnpaste working. Doesn't bother me any more, must have someone else. :) We need a story for these old guys, and a phoney Windows Dressing.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. poopypants

    Another consideration

    Where I live (South Australia) we have the most expensive electricity in the world. (Seriously - my last electricity bill was $924.65 for the quarter.) Being retired, I spend a lot of time using my own computers, so I have to pay for their electricity use. My main desktop PC has an Nvidia Titan, and the machine draws hundreds of watts. Recently I bought an Asus Chromebox (http://promos.asus.com/us/chrome-os/chromebox/), which supports 90% of my PC activities. It is currently driving two screens (one at 2560 x 1440, the other at 1920 x 1080), switches on nearly instantly, is maintenance-free, and most importantly uses only a fraction of the electricity.

    By my calculations it will pay for itself in under two years. The only thing it doesn't support that I often do is play PC games, for which I occasionally power up the Windows based machine.

  15. druck Silver badge
    Boffin

    Glasses

    If you've been waiting years and finally got a machine with a decent resolution, but can't now read the small text, you probably need glasses. Not having to sit 3 feet away or struggle holding a phone at arms length, but being able to see the detail again, it is worth it.

  16. Floydian Slip
    Thumb Up

    I've been using a Chromebook for about 6 months now - I was lucky enough to get hold of a Dell with 4Gb Ram and it's fast and works happily with loads of open tabs - more than my Windows PC can deal with. http://blog.enterprise-oms.co.uk/wp/category/chromebooks/

    As a portable device it's great, battery life is fantastic, screen is good enough and it's lightweight but it would never replace my main PC - which has 3 x 22" screens

    I am even making friends with Google Docs and using Slides for my presentations

  17. RainbowTrout

    Treated myself to one using my Christmas amazon gift vouchers. Nice light weight web surfing machine. The "free" 1TB of extra google storage is nice, disappointed I cannot connect to my home NAS yet though.

    1. Gannettt

      Totally with you about the NAS - Google are really pushing storing everything in their cloud. I have a 32Gb SD card in mine, but hardly any of the apps let you store stuff to it, It's more for reading stuff off to upload, I suppose. If they could sort out Dropbox, NAS access, and even local USB sticks or SD card access, it would really be a killer machine, but then they wouldn't be able to trawl your files for data!

  18. Tommy Pock

    It's just not worth it

    I just bought Acer's own Aspire E51 - 8GB RAM, 1TB HD, three USB 3.0 ports, DVD-RW and 7 hour battery life for £289. Only twenty quid more than their top-spec Chromebook. That's a mighty drop in spec just for posing value in Costa.

    1. Day

      Re: It's just not worth it

      The Aspire E51 has a 15inch screen and weighs 2.4kg. It's not really comparable is it?

      1. Tommy Pock

        Re: It's just not worth it

        Oh yeah, it has a much bigger screen. Silly me for forgetting how irritating bigger screens are. At least I have no trouble lifting 2.4 kilo, I'm still quite young

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Thanks

    It's an Acer, will break 13 months down the line for no reason and you'll be lucky for them to repair it free !

  20. Gannettt

    Another Chromebook user, an HP Chromebook 14, with a 32Gb SSD and 4Gb RAM, it's a really nice unit. My Wife's Dell Windows lappy bit the dust, and she created an account on the Chromebook, but she isn't happy - no MS Office, and no direct printing. I think it'll be useful when travelling, but we'll need a real laptop for home use, as we do alot of office and printing.

  21. peterd1

    Have it, love it

    Bought it cheap here in the US per amazon for $250 and free shipping, had it 24 h later.

    The full HD screen is small (I updated my glasses a week later) and not very bright, but the battery lasts outright too long. Memory is not that great, but I can open 5-12 tabs before I notice, depending on the complexity of the content. Thanks to the good resolution I can work remotely on my work PC and do so even on my home PC when I"m too tired to sit upright (have a holder for it, to float on top of me lying down).

    At that price I don't care if I myself or someone else steps on it. Cheaper than most people's cell phone.

    Forces you to work with content stored elsewhere, which is a plus.

  22. Alan Denman

    Get the 1080p one

    There is no need to 'cheap out' at £270 is there?

    Run Linux on it in tandem when you need local real computing.

  23. Knieriemen

    Toshiba Chromebook 2

    I'm still really impressed with my Toshiba Chromebook 2. Great performance with an IPS HD screen that is probably the best Chromebook screen I've seen on the market.

    1. Simon Ward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Toshiba Chromebook 2

      At the risk of indulging in some thread necromancy, I pulled the trigger on the full-HD version of the Chromebook 2 last week as a certain High Street vendor were doing it at £50 off (meaning it cost me £219)

      I'd have happily paid full price on the strength of the screen alone - it really is rather nice. OK, so the build is a bit plasticky but at this price point I'm not going to argue about that. One thing I did like about it was the fact that it has a decent, ratcheting SD card slot - this means that the SD card goes all the way into the machine and engages (and disengages) with a satisfying click. As a result, the SD card is a) held securely and b) doesn't stick out half a mile.

      Add crouton and you've got an extremely competent Linux-based development that'll even play Dwarf Fortress in a relatively pain-free manner.

      Very impressed.

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