It seems we're not through with new Chromebooks yet. Google's tagline for their lightweight PC operating system initiative is "Chromebooks for Everyone," and to that end they are racing to the bottom when it comes to price. The latest new Chromebook, comes from longtime Chrome OS partner Acer, and is dubbed the C7. Where the latest Samsung Chromebook is notable for its ARM architecture, the Acer C7 is a much more traditional choice, whose primary goal was containing costs. But when low cost is the target, sacrifices are made. 

 

Firstly, the comparison point for this device shouldn't necessarily be its immediate competition, the new Samsung Chromebook, but rather that notebook's immediate predecessor the Samsung Series 5 550. This was the flagship for the last generation of Chromebooks and was notable for its Intel Core-based Celeron 867 processor, 4GB of RAM and capable 16GB NAND storage. The improvement in performance over prior Chromebooks was palpable because of the increased CPU and GPU performance. The Acer C7 is, generally, a step back in all specifications. The processor is the slightly slower Celeron 847, the RAM drops to 2GB and the NAND storage is omitted in favor of a traditional mechanical drive. The 320GB mechanical drive is the biggest concession to cost savings, as it makes almost no sense for an OS so clearly focused on the cloud. It also likely contributes to the battery life penalty this iteration takes; a paltry 3.5 hours, hardly a road warrior then. And if this looks at all familiar, it's because you previously came across the Acer Aspire One AO756-2641. That Windows 8 netbook matches the C7 down to the design and the sub-4 hour battery life.

But the reward for all these concessions? A price of just $199, less than half what Samsung's Series 5 550 goes for still, and slightly more than $100 below the Windows iteration. The price includes 100GB of Google Drive for two years, and 12 GoGo inflight WiFi sessions, and is surely the cheapest way to a Core-based system, even if it is a Celeron. One thing is clear, no matter the market, Google intends to compete if not dominate on price. And if that means better gear at lower prices, there's little room for us to complain. 

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  • mcnabney - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    And Gmail comes with 5GB - so? Reply
  • misfratz - Thursday, November 15, 2012 - link

    "And 100GB of GoogleDrive for two years? After that you're stuck paying Google just to keep your stuff."

    On a point of order, that isn't true, see http://support.google.com/drive/bin/answer.py?hl=e...

    "When you cancel your storage plan or when your storage plan expires, your storage limits will be set back to the free levels for each product at the end of your billing cycle. Everything in Google Drive, Picasa and Gmail will still be accessible, but you won't be able to create or add anything new over the free storage limit."

    I'm wary about the chromebook because I don't want to get sucked into a subscription, but it's not as bad as you claim.
    Reply
  • Vincent - Monday, November 12, 2012 - link

    Just swap in the extra SSD you have lying around and you will have a great system. Reply
  • Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer - Monday, November 12, 2012 - link

    This would make a great little Linux machine to mess around with, too. :) Reply
  • twotwotwo - Monday, November 12, 2012 - link

    My first thought was, "Wow, Intel must be practically giving away the chips here to try to kill the first ARM laptop." My second thought was that my first thought was a ridiculous conspiracy theory and it's just your basic cheap netbook, combined with Google's free OS and love of low hardware margins.

    Any idea which it is? Plausible that Intel cut a deal to make the Acer cheaper than the Samsung? Or this is basically what you'd expect a zero-margin netbook to cost given the specs?
    Reply
  • normcf - Monday, November 12, 2012 - link

    I suspect that if Intel really wanted to crush Arm chromebooks, they would have included using their own SSD in the deal. Reply
  • Taft12 - Monday, November 12, 2012 - link

    I don't get it. From Newegg:

    320GB laptop drive: ~$50
    32GB SSD (Crucial V4): ~$50. Hell, it's $55 for a 64GB SSD!

    Now Acer does not pay the same you or I do for hard drives, but only if the SSD is much more likely to lead to returns does that make any sense, and it should be the opposite (rotational drives more likely to fail).

    The need for local storage is squat with Chrome OS and the user experience will be much better.
    Reply
  • slackpenguin - Monday, November 12, 2012 - link

    The reason Acer didn't include a SSD was they would have to disassemble the Aspire Ones. This way, they just hot glue the Chrome emblem on and put them in a new box. Reply
  • nubie - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    They have a pile of them, it is cheaper for them to use old stock up. Reply
  • jeffyablon - Monday, November 12, 2012 - link

    The Acer Chromebook is confirmed to have a 320 GB HDD, alleviating the "no storage" issue.

    Hooray.

    In my opinion, it's no competitor to the Samsung book; you save $50, you gain that storage, and you add a half-pound, size, and a speed hit: http://answerguy.com/2012/11/05/google-chromebook-...
    Reply

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