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Acer Unveils Powerful Intel Core i3 Chromebook


Acer’s new Core i3 Chromebook (Image: Liliputing)

Acer has unveiled a powerful new update to their C720 line of Chromebooks.

The as-yet-unnamed model will be powered by an Intel i3 processor and Intel HD4400 graphics. It was unveiled by the Taiwanese company at a press event in the US today, April 29.

It features a dual-core Intel Core i3-4005U processor running at 1.7GHz. This makes it the second Chrome OS notebook to use an ‘i’ Series chip from Intel, the first being Google’s pricey i5-based Chromebook Pixel.

Details are still emerging on the device from those in attendance at the event. Brad Linder of Liliputing reports that the model will be based on ‘the same chassis’ as the existing 11.6-inch Acer C720 series devices, something backed up by Brian Fagioli of BetaNews who notes that both the screen and keyboard ‘felt the same’ as the current C720 models.

Better Performance

Intel Core i3The Intel Core i3 processor should see this device deliver much better performance than the existing crop of Haswell-based Celeron Chromebooks and will enable Acer to forgo the need for a fan (hurrah!). But in retaining the same 11.6-inch form-factor we perhaps shouldn’t get too excited at the prospect of a superior display (boo!).

So far there’s no word on RAM, storage, price or release date. For hands-on pictures head over to BetaNews.

  • The_Toaster

    At that price I would be very tempted, shame about the display though :P

    • calden74

      That doesn’t bother me, Samsung did something a little unorthodox when releasing a 1080P display. I’m more interested in speed then display quality as my Chromebook spends 80 percent of the time connected to a monitor. This thing will run circles around the Exynos for 100 dollars less, yeah, shutup and take my money

      • Jon A.

        I misread that as “This things will run cycles around the Exynos…” and thought you were making a pretty clever CPU joke.

        • calden74

          Oooh that would have been clever, to bad I’m an idiot.

        • I’m filing that under “to use another day” — thanks ;)

  • calden74

    Finally a replacement for my Acer C710, as long as there is a 4GB option that is. 2GB on an i3 will be like buying a car with only 2 wheels, sure I can buy 2 more wheels that would be restarted deal.

  • norcal1953

    What are the benefits of an i3 vs. the 2995u Celeron? I had a pre-Haswell i3 and was disappointed by how pokey it was. Certainly the “branding” is huge for Acer vs. Celeron which can be the rather zippy 2995u vs. the pokey “N” Celerons which are just re-branded Atoms (new architecture, yes, but Haswell, no). I suppose an i3 based on Haswell should have better graphics speed, but where does that come in with a Chromebook – unless we see some Android game ports to Chromebooks?

    • calden74

      It’s as fast as two Acer c710’s and a Samsung ARM Chromebook v1 put together. So it’s not all about graphic performance but CPU as well.

  • spacey

    Getting there… albeit very slowly. Now all we need is a decent full hd display, 4gig ram and a backlit keyboard
    Then we’ll finally a decent Chromebook worth upgrading to (if the price is right and it appears this year). Fair play to Acer though.

    • calden74

      It’s called a Google Pixel and you will never see a backlit keyboard on a laptop that costs less than 500.

      • Chris Jackson

        I am definitely disappointed about the displays in most laptops out there resolution-wise, but when PS3 came out it was said it would never sell for less than $800 (from memory) so I wouldn’t say never though agree probably a long way off. I don’t mind paying for a better screen, backlit keyboard etc… Pixel is dated… I just hope the touch screen thing doesn’t get in the way of resolution upgrades like the Win 8 brigade laptops.

        • calden74

          Oh no doubt, I would defiantly pay more for a model that contained better specs. You can always compile your own ChromiumBook, then copy over the multimedia media codecs from your existing ChromeBook to your newly installed system, Chromium doesn’t contain things like Flash or MP4 so it’s a necessity. I have a dual boot on my Yoga 2, which has a crazy resolution of 3200×1800, i7, 8GB of RAM and 512GB. Can’t get any better than that for a ChromeBook. Setup is fairly easy, just install Ubuntu Core into VitualBox and install the development package, a one liner in the command line, download the Chromium source, then copy and paste what is on the wiki page into the command line. Compile time depends on your hardware but normally it takes about 45 min. Then run the utility that transfers the image onto a USB stick, plug into your target machine and install. Fun little project for a rainy Sunday and the results are surprisingly similar to a shipping Chromebook. The advantage of doing things like this is that you can install usefully Linux packages like a LAMP server. I’m a developer and having a local server is pretty fantastic, I then use Cloud9 to access that server. I also have things like FFmep to convert media files to MP4, MC (Midnight Commander), VLC (yep you read that correctly), etc. I’m working on installing LibreOffice, Wine (so I can run Photoshop) and other Linux GUI applications. Yes you can install Ubuntu or another flavour of Linux onto Chroot but nothing beats a fully integrated Chromium build.

      • Martin Cohen

        Get a $15 usb light to illuminate the keyboard. I also use one on my Apple external keyboard. Just fine.

  • alex.baril

    the $269 pricetag and the June release is for the Aspire E11, according to the DigitalTrends article, not the new chromebook.

    • When we wrote the article the distinction wasn’t made in their article (easy mistake to make since they’re there and writing, so happens).

      We’ve updated accordingly.

  • Mike Spick

    For that price I might pick one up just to install linux on it and then continue using my Samsung Series 3 for Chrome OS

  • Jon A.

    This is awesome! I very well might pick one of these up. Good work, Acer!

  • Lynn

    Must have!

  • Kenny Strawn

    Unless that 11.6-inch display ends up having a 2732×1536 resolution (double that of the C720’s)… then yeah, of course it’ll be a better display.

  • JPB

    That’s nice but the only things I really don’t like about my C720 (and why I tend to use my slower HP11 more) are the keyboard and the display. It’s a real shame that Acer didn’t pack a slightly better body for this processor.

    • calden74

      That’s thee things. ;)

  • Passmark CPU score for the Haswell i3-4005U is 2338. The score for the Acer C720p and Dell Chromebook 11′s Celeron 2955U is 1549. So, a significant bump in power.

    If reports about the new ASUS C200 are correct, it uses a Celeron N2830 with a much lower Passmark CPU score of 1083. Apparently, ASUS chose extended battery time over power. IMO, that was a bad move but we will see the reviews in early May.

    Is this new Acer i3 Chromebook a touchscreen model? RAM and SSD size are quite important for those of us who plan to use Crouton to also run Linux on a Chromebook.

    • Kenny Strawn

      Since the model number is C720 and not C720P, the answer to the touch question would have to be no… RAM and SSD size are still question marks, however.

  • J Cav the Great

    good buy if <$300

  • Smallwheels

    I would only want it if it had an IPS display or better.

    • calden74

      Defiantly no at the price their listed at, should have been very obvious.

      • Smallwheels

        The HP 11 has an IPS display. An Acer C720 with an IPS display and 4 GB RAM would suit me just fine. More USB 3 ports would be even better. If I were wealthy I would go for a Pixel once they put USB 3 ports in place of those USB 2 ports.

        • calden74

          Right, sorry I knew that, what I should have said is you wont get an i3 and an IPS panel for under 300, just not going to happen, that includes 4GB of RAM as well. The under 300 version will most defiantly come with only 2GB of RAM. Why is IPS so important, I have a Acer 720, looks fine.

          • Smallwheels

            You’ll just have to see an IPS display beside a regular TFT LCD. The viewing angles and colors are just better. They aren’t the best but they’re better. I like high resolution screens. Unfortunately for me manufactures other than Apple seem to think that people who want small machines also don’t want to spend more money for them. I would spend up to $400 for an 11.6″ machine with an IPS display, 4 GB RAM, all USB 3 ports, an SD card reader, and a good HD camera. Since I’m moving to the cloud I don’t care if the internal storage is only 16 GB. the SD card can handle any temporary big files. I’ll never buy another Windoz machine unless I intend to wipe the drive and put something else on it. If you do that you can get a refund from the manufacturer or from Microsux.

          • calden74

            Oh absolutely, I have no problem spending more on a decent product. I also have a few products with an IPS screen, a Nokia 2520, Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro, Nexus 10 and a Kindle 7 HDX. I still don’t mind the screen on the Acer 720 though, doesn’t really bother me, nor does Windows 8, I actually like it, makes a really cool tablet OS. Much better than Android or iOS in my opinion, you compromise to much with those OS’s.

  • Baarfeldt

    Sounds really good to me. I am happy if the producers of Chromebooks jack the hardware up a notch or two. It is well needed and I think alot of us are ready to pay a little bit extra to get more capable machines. Chromebook isn’t about a ‘cheap PC’ but THE way to use the cloud (IMHO) :-)

    • Tony Rogers

      I agree now if only we can get a high res screen! or Just a 1080p IPS display.

  • Stefano Carlo Coronado Mondoñe

    I think this is a result of Acer figuring out that people are installing actual Linux distros on chromebooks.

    • Jayfeather787

      That’s what I would do if I had a chromebook.

    • LiamTHX

      I can see the headline now:
      “New Acer C730 Has 4 Inch Screen, Windows Drivers.”

  • dourscot

    Chromebooks running Haswell Celerons are extremely fast at doing things Chromebooks do well.

    Not sure adding a Core i3 will do anything other than drain battery life.

    • First, the i3-4005U is also a Haswell design. Second, you cannot compare an i3 running Windows to a Celeron running Linux or Chrome OS. Windows is notorious for being a resource hog.

  • Jayfeather787

    I wish the screen was slightly larger. I would like a 13 to 15.6 inch screen. I would pay a little more for it as well, as I really like the ideas of chomebooks.
    Well, I would also like a 17 inch chromebook, but that’s a little unlikely. Still. One can dream.

  • Angello Vindrola

    Is it going to be possible to upgrade RAM or ssd?

  • LiamTHX

    I wouldn’t care if it had a Xeon in it, Acer is crap and makes terrible products.