I can blog, stream video, and surf the web from anywhere with this compact $215 laptop
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- Tablets and other mobile devices are extremely convenient when you want to visit your favorite website or stream video, but they don't compare to laptops when it comes to getting real work done.
- The Acer Chromebook 11 doesn't compare to the computing power of MacBooks or the Dell XPS, but it can run several programs at once allowing you to churn out content while streaming music or video.
- I especially like that the Chromebook seamlessly interacts with my Google account and Android phone so I can use any of my devices to easily access the documents I create.
- Though the Acer Chromebook lacks many of the whistles and bells of today's fancier laptops, it gets the job done at a price that can't be beat (currently $215 on Amazon).
With summer just around the corner, who wants to be cooped up in an artificially lit, stale-aired office completing a report, writing an article, or performing other tasks that can be done at a coffee shop or park? Thanks to research demonstrating that happy workers are more productive, companies are increasingly more open to employees working remotely. But, if you want your time away from the desk to be fruitful, you need a laptop.
When shopping for a laptop, your main consideration should be what you plan on using it for. If you want to perform graphic design work or DJ parties, you're going to have to splurge on one of the more expensive models, such as a MacBook. However, if you're a student, want something inexpensive to occupy your kids, or mainly work on a desktop computer and want a secondary option, the Chromebook is a cost-effective solution.
I picked up the Acer Chromebook 11 because I'm a freelance writer and roller derby player: I needed something small enough to toss into my skate bag so I could get some work done on the road. We bought the Acer Chromebook 15 about three years ago so I could work as we traveled the country. When our travels were complete, the Chromebook 15 was hooked up to our projector and appropriated as our main media player. I knew the Acer Chromebook 11 would be an excellent product, and more than 1,200 positive Amazon reviews agreed.
When you first unbox the Acer Chromebook, you are struck by the attractive, high-end look of it. The laptop only comes in "Moonstone White," which has somehow managed to avoid being sullied by my preschooler's seemingly always dirty hands. The exterior textured, tactile pattern does an excellent job of keeping you from fumbling and dropping the device.
The Chromebook operates using the Chrome OS, which is quite similar to Windows, but I've found it is less glitchy than my Windows devices. And, unlike Windows, instead of having to shell out another $100+ for Microsoft Office, you have instant access to Google Docs. I personally prefer Office for my daily work, but you can't beat how easy it is to share documents, collaborate with others, and access your work from any device with Google Docs.
The main issue I ran into with Google Docs was figuring out how to use it offline, a must when you are in the air or on the road and don't have a hotspot. PC Mag provides a few simple steps for setting up Google Docs offline.
Though my family is forbidden from commandeering this laptop for media streaming purposes in order to avoid the fate of the Chromebook 15, I have been known to use it to catch up on my shows. The 11.6" HD ComfyView Widescreen has a 1,366 x 768 pixel resolution (16:9 aspect ratio). "ComfyView" is simply Acer's fancy way of saying the matte screen is anti-glare. All of these factors make for great video viewing.
However, the audio leaves a bit to be desired. There are two built-in stereo speakers that tend to degrade in sound quality ever so slightly as you try to blast your jams. If this is unacceptable, I recommend connecting an external speaker. The laptop has HD audio support.
One of the most impressive features of the Chromebook 11 is its battery life. I have used it for 10-hour sessions without charging it. And, when the time comes to charge the 3-cell lithium-polymer battery, it takes about two hours to get back up to 100%.
For those of you into numbers and specs, I should tell you that the Acer Chromebook 11 features the Intel Celeron N2840 Dual-Core Processor. You can choose from 2GB of RAM or - for $10 more - you can get 4GB. There is 16GB of solid-state drive internal storage. The laptop has ports for USB 2.0, USB 3.0, HDMI with HDCP support, SD cards, and a headphone jack. And, the HD webcam has a 1,280 x 720 pixel resolution.
Overall, if you're looking for an easy-to-use, compact laptop that can stream media, help you get some writing done while on the go, and is compatible with your Android devices and Google account, you can't go wrong with the Acer Chromebook.
And, at a $230 price point, just about anyone can afford one.
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