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Acer Confirms Powerful New Core i3 Chromebooks Coming This Month

Better performance, same stellar battery life

Listings for Intel i3 Acer Chromebook Start to Appear Online

Acer’s New Intel i3 Chromebook To Retail at $349?

Acer Unveils Powerful Intel Core i3 Chromebook

Rather like rain during the British summer, we all knew that a processor refresh was coming to the Acer C720 Chromebook series.

Today, after months of teasing, computing giant Acer finally confirmed that Intel Core i3-based Chromebooks will hit store shelves in the US and Canada later this month.

In June we reported that a handful early listings for the spec-bumped models had appeared online, a move that suggested a formal release was in the offing.

Proving us correct, Acer has confirmed the availability of two new models, both based on the dual-core Intel Core i3-4005U running at 1.7GHz and a 32GB SSD. The devices feature the same non-touch display, ports and outward aesthetics as the rest of the C720 line.

The chief differentiator between the new pair is in the amount of memory they come pre-built with. The cheaper of the two has a modest 2GB of DDR3L RAM, the other 4GB of DDR3L RAM.

First Chromebook With Core i3

In addition to releasing the first consumer Chromebooks powered by a 4th generation Intel Core i3 processor, Acer is also pushing the bar in performance, something Intel’s Navin Shenoy, vice president and general manager of Intel Mobile Client Platforms Group, extols:

“As one of the most powerful Chromebooks on the market, the additional performance of Core i3 enables an extremely responsive experience while surfing multiple tabs of web pages.”

Pricing and Purchase Links

The two Acer C720-3 Chromebooks are available to pre-order in the USA and Canada from select retailers as of today. Suggested retail pricing starts at $349.99 for the 2GB RAM model going up to $379.99 for the version with 4GB of memory. International availability is, as of writing, unknown.

Buy Acer C720-3 (4GB) on CDW Buy Acer C720-3 (2GB) on Amazon US

As I noticed in an earlier article, the upgrade to Core i3 makes the Acer C720-3 one of the fastest Chromebooks available. With a super long battery life, stylish look and lightweight design, this model may just become the flagship consumer Chrome OS portable.

Will it tempt you?

  • captain irrelevant

    The question is: can it natively install Linux and not be forced to use that crouton method .

    • http://twitter.com/d0od Joey-Elijah Sneddon

      In theory all Chromebook’s can be made to run Linux. You simply need to flash a new BIOS/bootloader. But i’m not sure why you’d want to go to that effort when Crouton is, in many ways, the easiest method. Not only can you keep your device intact for future recovery purposes, but you get to use the Chrome OS kernel, so drivers, battery life, etc will be better than a standard, non-tailored kernel.

      The negligible speed benefits from running Linux solely rather than in shared space probably, for most, aren’t worth the offset of having driver issues, reduced battery life, etc.

      • captain irrelevant

        Well, I guess you’re right for this machine, but for my 2gb c720, i’d rather have dual boot.

      • Daviljoe193

        I will do it the hard way when I get a C720 (The cheap one, not the one from this article.), though I’m aware of the issues with the touchpad. I will use Gentoo on it (Again, I prefer it hard.), and I will do this as it will give me the time to make the current solution for the touchpad more non-Ubuntu-only, plus, I just want to have an excuse to switch back to Gentoo. I can see why people want Crouton, but some people (Like me.) may want a regular laptop, and will go through any means necessary to get it, including the bonus of being able to use Virtualbox (Nope, I don’t believe that Chrome OS has that compiled into the kernel.). I agree with you, but for those who hate Ubuntu (The finger points at me.), or just want a different Distro (Like Manjaro, or Gentoo, or Slackware, or…), they don’t have many other choices.

  • Muhammad Alhabash

    The price is a bit on the high end, I wish they will sell 16GB models in the future so they can lower the price say for $50, if the price for the 4GB ram was $319, I’d have pre-ordered it already, but for $380, nah I’m sorry.
    Also, I heard that the performance difference between Celron and i3 is not huge in ChromeOS, so I’m still considering the $200 model for now.

    • Frederic MANSON

      I agree with you. With those high prices, we clearly are on the wrong road. The best point for a Chromebook is its sale price. The higher it goes, the gap between a ChromeOS laptop and a Windows laptop is really in favour of the Windows one. Unfortunately.

  • moe

    what’s the point of having the same looking laptop on every new small innovation chromebooks add? seriously chrome os is gonna end up like windows, all of crap and a few good laptops. Just step up already, this just like any other just with better i core 3 processor, how many laptops don’t have that?

    • http://twitter.com/d0od Joey-Elijah Sneddon

      I guess because it’s cheaper to reuse existing parts. And since it’s in the same series, it sort of makes sense to iterate not renovate.

      If Acer had to create a redesigned chassis for ever minor spec bump, they just wouldn’t bother. The margins are relatively low on Chromebooks.

      • moe

        exactly so stop making chromebooks for every minor thing you get, make something every once in a while thats worth the consumers money

  • http://thebeeobee.com/ thebeeobee

    I think the price is awesome.

    Too bad the c720 screen is trash. Excited to see what other manufacturers come out with.

    • http://twitter.com/d0od Joey-Elijah Sneddon

      I actually deleted the reference to it as it was a touch confusing, but there are actually 2.5 models being released, not 2. There are two separate 4GB models, one has the standard screen the other has something called ‘comfyview’. I don’t think it really affects the screen “quality” as much as reduce glare, and it has the same resolution, etc.

      • http://thebeeobee.com/ thebeeobee

        INTERESTING! The resolution isn’t necessarily the problem for me, it’s the brightness. In a sunny cafe, the screen is mostly unusable. And if you go out on a deck or outdoors, it’s impossible to read.

  • blazewon22

    Kind of a lipstick on a pig move if you will…I wonder how the i3 will affect battery life? Not really sure about the price complaints on Chromebooks. Have you seen the cost of a new Windows 8 PC or Mac Book Air?

    • http://thebeeobee.com/ thebeeobee

      Same voltage as the celeron processor. Battery life should be essentially the same.

  • bimsebasse

    Is there some sort of rule against making Chromebooks larger than 14″?

    • Frederic MANSON

      It’s useless to have such big screen. But if you do coding, I think that may be a point to discuss about. But the problem with big screen is the battery autonomy. The bigger, the smaller autonomy you get.

      • bimsebasse

        Of course it’s not useless. That it is to you has nothing to do with me.

    • http://batman-news.com Vin

      There is a new LG Chromebase. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2459361,00.asp
      But, for a laptop, I agree; it’s a shame that there’s no larger models. I think that’s part of the “Phase I” plan – lure people with cheap easy to use machines. We still need Phase I machines to lure in more people, but “Phase II” machines – with larger displays and more horsepower seems to be in its infancy pioneered by the Chromebook Pixel as a proof-of-principle machine.

  • http://www.dariocotti.com Dario Cotti

    Dear Google, Acer, Samsung, Asus, and other manufacturers,

    stop putting those nauseating low quality TN displays in your devices.

    Regards

    • Frederic MANSON

      I agree. I have the HP 11 and it has a wonderful IPS screen. My bro has an Acer with an horrible TN screen. You can hear him to cry worldwide!! :)

      • http://www.dariocotti.com Dario Cotti

        Haha I know how he feels, I also own a C720 with a TN screen and I cannot wait to replace it with a better one.

        I don’t know what to think. In every review you read they blame chromebooks for poor screen quality and bad colours. And yet they don’t do anything about it.

        C’mon Google, put a Haswell/Broadwell in your Pixel so it can get to 8-9h battery, add micro USB charging, remove that touchscreen and replace it with a matte screen (or either apply some serious antiglare coating) and finally price it 599$ or 499$ with plastic chassis.

    • Jacobo Pantoja

      +1
      I modified my Samsung Chromebook “one” with a low-quality IPS panel, and even being a “bad” IPS, is better than the rest of TNs I’ve seen (IMHO, even better than Macbook Air 11′s one)

    • James Welbes

      yeah guys, seriously. I want an $800 display on my $300 laptop. Come on! Why can’t this happen?!?

    • Kris Rehberg

      I have the Acer Aspire V5-122P with the “IPS CineCrystal” display. These 11.6″ laptops cost around $300. There are several versions of Acer displays. I believe that ComfyView is matte and CineCrystal is glossy. The IPS CineCrystal in the lower-end Aspire V5-122P is some kind of manufacturing miracle at this price point and I’m surprised not to see IPS CineCrystal used in Chromebooks.

  • http://batman-news.com Vin

    I am an engineer who needs to do Office-like tasks, but I’m on the road fulltime, so whatever I get would be like my life support. Battery life doesn’t concern me so much because I expect to keep the unit plugged in. I don’t plan on gaming or watching much TV or moives, but would do some image processing and hard-core number crunching. Fed-up with PCs, I’m in the market for my first Chromebook. Since this will be a new ecosystem for me, I don’t want to spend oceans of cash until I feel comfortable in it. (I’m optimistic.) That said, I really wish the Chromebook manufacturers would put out a unit that is in the $700-$1000 range with a nice decent-sized (15″ or more) touchscreen, 8 GB of RAM, 64 GB of SSD storage, and 2 or more USB 3 ports. I realize such a unit is probably a year away, so I have to settle. So, iIf you were me and had to choose, would you go with the Samsung Chromebook 2 13.3″ 4GB or this new C720P or wait for a new Intel Chromebook. Keep in mind also that, if I have a good time in the Chromebook ecosystem, I’d be willing to go to a Chromebook Pixel 2, should one ever come down the pike.

    • Hector F.

      You better get an Asus or HP chromebox with Core i3 CPU. They have a small form factor and you can use any HDMI or Displayport ready monitor of your choice. Also they have 4 USB 3 inputs and SD card slot.

      • http://batman-news.com Vin

        Thanks for that. For the home, I would consider something along those lines – especially once I get acclimated to Chrome and devoting myself to it fulltime. However, I need to reiterate that I live essentially fulltime in a hotel so I can’t devote myself to an infrastructure-like purchase for personal use like a desktop. So, I do need a laptop for now. I am looking forward to the Chrome OS and ecosystem evolving so high end machines are more commonplace. Right now, I’ll be getting my feet wet, but I don’t want to be soured on the experience with a cheap machine. I’m trying to embrace the lifestyle so, over time, I can commit to those eventual high end machines like a Chromebook Pixel 2 (should one ever exist).

        • Hector F.

          Apple laptops are a good choice since they require no antivirus and the OS is easy to learn. You can download Chrome browser and essentially use all the services from Google, Apple and even Microsoft. Chromebook Pixel was designed as a template to guide other manufacturers but if you want a Chromebook Pixel 2 I see that far away since the goal of Google is to create a cheap and almost disposable computer. Don’t get me wrong I have a Samsung Chromebook and an Asus Chromebox and I really use both but for what I need them I’m really satisfied.

          • http://batman-news.com Vin

            LOL. Actually, the last computer that I bought for myself was an Apple IIcx in January 1990. I like Apple and thought about going back, but I am rather enticed by Google’s cloud lifestyle. I’ve gotten burned with dead hard drives and my dog destroying a flash drive, so cloud storage seems relatively safe. I also like the fact that the OS is continuously upgraded, I don’t have to pay for my Office apps, and I don’t have to worry about virus software. There’s just so many plusses to motivate me to attempt to go from Chrome. BTW, I do have the Chrome browser everywhere, but, no, the Google Apps aren’t all that great on them – at least with my Android tablet and smartphone. However, like I mentioned elsewhere, I’ve played around with my Google Drive and the apps on an HP 14 Chromebook at Best Buy and was reasonably happy. Finally, I don’t think Google’s long term plan is to just make dirt cheap machines. That’s to get people to adopt the OS – like schools. Once the OS is widely adopted, the more expensive machines will come. We already are beginning to see that with these $400 Samsung and Acer machines. Pixel was a proof-of-principle device to show a high-end machine can be done. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a Pixel 2 within 2 years.

            I want to thank everyone for their input – I really appreciate it.

      • James Welbes

        What kind of display do you expect on a 2-400 dollar device? What kinds of displays are on $400 Windows machines? Probably nothing better than the Chromebooks.

        If you need a really nice screen for some reason, you could go with the HP 11. You’ll be disappointed by the performance, but you’ll love the screen.

        The Samsung 2 13.3″ has a nice screen as well, and a processor only slightly better than the HP 11.

        If you’re like 90% of the world and a super nice screen on your work laptop isn’t a big deal, I recommend the HP 14, or this new Acer with the i3. HP 14 is 14″ and kind of heavy, the Acer has a smaller screen but is much much more portable, so it depends on which is more important to you, screen size or portability.

        I’m on an HP 14 right now, and the screen looks fine. I do image editing with pixlr.com.

        Vin, before buying a chromebook, try out pixlr.com and make sure that will work for your image processing needs, and also go to drive.google.com and try out sheets, to make sure it meets your spreadsheet needs. If both of those apps work for you, then I recommend buying one of these two Chromebooks.

        4GB of RAM is plenty for Chrome OS. As a long time Windows user I can understand your initial desire for at least 8GB of RAM, but trust me, 4 is plenty for these machines.

        • http://batman-news.com Vin

          Thanks! One of the frustratating things with Google products is that they behave differently with different platforms (browsers and OSes). However, I’ve been loitering at the Best Buy near my hotel and playing with the HP 14 there. I’m not a virgin with Google Sheets and, to me, that’s the big thing – I want to be able to do “Excel” but with Google Sheets. Same with Word/Google Docs. Google Sheets and Docs suck on those other platforms but look good on the native Chrome. Good enough for me. I like to code in VBA and realize I’d have to learn GoogleScripts, but that doesn’t phase me in the least. As for image processing – I’m not a big photo editor, but I want something a tad better than Microsoft’s “Paint” application. I loved Visio and used to VBA code in that too when I worked for GE. I believe that there are Visio-like replacements out there and I am fine with that. Overall, I have a rather positive attitude. I really did like that HP 14 at Best Buy but I’d go with the 4GB version. However, with some new machines coming, I’m looking forward. I was disappointed that the 2014 Google I/O show didn’t have a Pixel 2.0 announcement.

          • James Welbes

            Don’t hold your breath for a pixel 2. It didn’t make Google any money (wasn’t supposed to). It was a concept device, and there’s not yet a need for another concept device.

            Judging by what you’ve said, I think you’re a great fit for a Chromebook. You already understand that things will be a tad different, but you seem willing to be flexible.

            Pixlr.com is a lot better than MS Paint.

  • view2share

    Much talk of better screens. I have yet to see one in person, but the LG Chromebase all-in-one may be a good monitor. It is 21.5″ IPS with 1920x res. Would wish to see one before buying, as I use the Toshisba hooked to a 27″ monitor and the tabs and bookmarks fonts are barely readable. Google and Apple have nearsighted coders for software, I take it ;) As for the laptop screen, my Toshiba has the 13.3″ size, which some prefer, yet the quality is about as low as the rest. Would hate to do much on it more than a half hour to an hours time. Not a problem for me at home — just hook to good monitor.

  • HarryWarden

    What’s the reason for Chromebooks to have terrible displays (aside from the Pixel, of course) yet tablets like the Nexus and iPad have great displays for the same price as a Chromebook (As you can get an iPad 4 for $299 from Apple’s refurb site)? Are the additions of a native keyboard and USB ports that much more expensive? Sure, the size of an iPad or Nexus display are a little smaller than most Chromebooks but perfectly usable and far better in experience because of how sharp they are. I’m typing this on an iPad Air with a solar-powered Bluetooth keyboard.

  • Joseph Dickson

    Great, now that I want a Chromebook I’m torn between this Acer i3, Asus C200 and Lenovo N20p (the later both having a bay trail processor and no fan).

  • Kris Rehberg

    I have to say that the 11.6″ Acer Aspire V5-122 line has an amazing screen for such a cheap laptop. It’s a particular version of “CineCrystal” which is not technically IPS but it’s very close to IPS in viewing angles and brightness. It is far superior too the grainy “ComfyView” screen on the Chromebooks. These Aspire V5 11.6 laptops are very inexpensive and have a solid finish which makes me wonder why there are not Chromebook versions of them by now.

  • http://vicente-de-pierola.tumblr.com/ Vicente de Piérola

    It is VERY tempting, but how much difference does this actually makes?