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Acer Unwraps a 13-Inch Convertible Chromebook R13

The device goes on sale in the US from October

acer r13 laptop mode

Acer has finally taken the wrapping off its long-rumoured MediaTek Chromebook.

Unveiled at the IFA 2016 event in Berlin, Germany, the Acer Chromebook R13 is the first Chromebook to be powered by a MediaTek processor.

As the “R” in the model name may have already suggested, the R13 is also a touch-screen convertible. The 10 point touch display can fold backwards to form a ‘tablet’ mode, or be pitched as a ‘tent’ or ‘display’, just like the popular Acer Chromebook R11. 

acer r13 display mode

As we reported on last month, the clamshell notebook uses a MediaTek M8173C Core Pilot (quad-core) processor with big.LITTLE architecture. It combines two performant Cortex A72 cores (2GHz) with two energy-efficient Cortex A53 cores (1.6GHz).

The device also comes with a healthy 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM.

It will also be made available in three different storage options: 16GB, 32GB, and, more notably, 64 GB.

A 12 hour battery and 720p webcam also feature, as does a USB Type-C charging port, a full-sized HDMI out and a standard USB 3.0 socket.

The Acer Chromebook 13 will go on sale in October and is priced from $399 for the 16GB model.

  • dcrystalj

    can you run ubuntu on this?

    • wen lee

      You could just sign-up one of those Cloud-based IDE and have your Ubuntu environment up in less than few seconds. So, why bother to setup your local Ubuntu?
      Some example for Cloud-base IDE are:
      Cloud9, CodeAnywhere, etc.

      • dcrystalj

        ubuntu is not IDE. i dont need ubuntu just for coding. I just want to replace chrome OS with ubuntu OS

        • powermatt

          Don’t replace, run it side-by-side. Much easier, and less destructive. Check out Crouton. It’s pretty neat.

          • dave

            I really, really second powermatts advice. Running Ubuntu in crouton is great, I do it, but be prepared for some headaches, Google will update something in the Chrome OS that either breaks or seriously bangs up your chroot. Usually waiting a day or two and updating your chroot fixes it, but I’ve been hosed a couple times too and have to do a powerwash. If you want a dedicated Ubuntu machine, then ring up System 76. I lust after a Gazelle….but can’t justify it when a chromebook meets virtually all my mobile computing needs, which are these days minimal.

          • powermatt

            The biggest advantage to Crouton, though, is that you’ll never ruin the Chromebook. You’re always just one powerwash away from having a fully functioning Chrome OS device again. I’ve seen too many people hose their Chromebooks by jumping straight into EFI modifications because they “just want to run Linux”.

            System 76’s stuff isn’t the prettiest, but it seems functional, and a pretty solid value for the money.

  • I just wish it wasn’t using the MediaTek processor… so I’ll wait and see what type of performance it gets.

    • powermatt

      I’ve got nothing against them, but the ARM processors are usually reserved for the low-end of the Chromebook segment. Putting one in a Chromebook that starts at $400 is a bold choice.

      • Bron Faison

        It was a bold choice, but a smart one. Good performance and superb battery life.

    • Twelk

      The M8173C is supposed to have similar performance to the Rockchip 3288-C in the Asus Flip. But the MediaTek is 64bit while the Rockchip is only 32bit.

    • sundragon

      I just bought one, the Octane score of 10600 is above all the Intel Braswell N3050/60 and N3150/60 chips. It’s humming along with 13 tabs and music running in the background no issues. It’s no wonder Intel is leaving the cellphone/tablet market because their Atom chips are not comparable in performance to ARM 64-bit chips that sip power. The CoreMs are great but quite a bit more expensive than the ARM chips and still more hungry.

  • ChrisGX

    While I never tire of seeing new Chromebooks, I wan’t to state my objection to these “flip” (i.e. 360 degree pivoting screen) devices from a design point of view. When did it start being a good idea to use the keyboard surface of a laptop as an exposed supporting or structural surface? I think it is just a cheap marketing gimmick whose sole point is avoiding the more technically challenging and expensive methods to implement keyboard to screen interconnection – detachable screens or screens rotatable on multiple axes – that, as it happens, are the superior design solutions and the only solutions that provide increased versatility without introducing unacceptable design compromises and risks. A keyboard surface can hardly be as effective in preventing damage to a laptop as a surface/skin (in aluminium, carbon fibre or plastic) designed with that objective in mind.

    If you are after a cheaper laptop and can do without complex keyboard to screen interconnection forgoing the dubious flip functionality shouldn’t be so hard either. Perhaps, the appearance of glass keyboards could mean the objection I am making loses its effect. Maybe, but the proof needs to be there first.

    • David Bradford

      If I may offer from my personal experience as a Asus Flip owner and user, the benefit of the flip functionality works as such for me:

      – Standard mode: 90% of my use
      – Tablet mode: Android apps, reading Google Play Books/Kindle Books
      – Tent mode: For writing and coding with a full sized blue tooth keyboard and mouse
      – Presentation mode: shared Google Play Movies, Netflix, Hulu, Photos slideshows

      The value comes in options for use.

      • ChrisGX

        Yes, I acknowledged that by allowing that flipping devices offer greater versatility. My point was the screen flipping approach is a poor design choice for delivering increased versatility. The keyboard and touchpad surface is an important functional surface, not unlike the screen surface, in its need for protection from external objects and surfaces that are routinely in contact with or could accidentally come into contact with the computer. It is completely unsurprising therefore that a laptop is normally expected to sit on a desk or table on its specially designed protective base without exposing the functional surfaces – keyboard and screen – to any such contact. Furthermore, protecting those functional surfaces inside a full protective shell, as laptops do, is part and parcel of designing a device capable of surviving small drops.

        So it is surprising, therefore, that the keyboard surface that actually needs to be carefully protected is now being offered in flip based designs as the base and exposed surface in ‘tablet mode’ and ‘presentation mode’. That is just poor design. And the sought after versatility can be provided by other means.

        • Mi Pen

          Disconnecting the keyboard would make sense for protecting the Keyboard while in Tablet mode, But unfortunately the Keyboard is usually where the computer is on most laptops.

          Making the innards compact enough to fit in the tablet part and still remain a PC is hard without dropping down to tablet CPUS and memory

          The Surface can do this, but the price is an expensive PC. As the time taken to fit a PC chip inside a Tablet form factor, takes more work than with an easier to cool and build Arm phone CPU motherboard.

          • ChrisGX

            The Surface offers nothing to sound ergonomic design in respect of the tablet/keyboard interface. The Pixel C keyboard attachment method gets closer to what is needed for a tablet device.

            In my opinion, the exemplars of notebook design that offer both great versatility and great ergonomics are i) the Surface Book detachable and ii) the Fujitsu Lifebook advanced convertibles (T726 and T936).

        • Kyle Trail

          I hear you loud and clear.

          I was apprehensive about this as well. I bought the Acer R11 Chromebook after alot of research (came awfully close to the Asus Flip) and the biggest reason for me was digital comics. When I fold into tablet mode and turn portrait, it’s damned near the actual size of the comic on the screen. I love it and it’s perfect for that reason.

          Other than that, I use it mainly in laptop mode. I have to admit that this is my second Acer Chromebook and they’re producing nice devices for reasonable pricing.

  • Mike Hill

    I’ve got no use for a touch screen Chromebook but I’d still take one of these babies home.

    • pt020

      Have 2 Chromebooks both with touch,
      (Acer C720P and Asus Chromebook Flip,both 4gb)
      You will like it!
      And now with Android apps…it is almost a must.

      • Since this doesn’t have Intel chip, will it support Android?

        • pt020

          The Asus Chromebook Flip has the
          Rockchip 3288-C Quad-Core 1.8GHz processor and it was the first to run Android apps.

    • synplex

      Then you not using your Chromebook right.

      • Mike Hill

        You must have very small fingers to ignore your keyboard and trackpad in favour of tapping the screen… iOS et al: set up for tappy-tap; Chrome OS set up for clicky-click.

        • pt020

          Some things you do faster by touching,
          and it is not in place of a keyboard,it is enjoying of both worlds on one PC.

      • Samuel Horne

        You think Chrome OS is primarily used with touch screens? Surely not.

  • Backlit keyboard? #ornah

    This is my nagging issue with the R11

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    This is really great news for the people who want to buy Chromebook. Thanks Acer to give such a beautiful device with the great feature. The device comes with a healthy 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM. It will also be made available in three different storage options: 16GB, 32GB, and, more notably, 64 GB. Thanks for share.

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