Acer Chromebook C720 (Review)
My Acer Chromebook C720 is just cool. I know that’s not a very good review, but it is in fact, cool. I love it. If there’s one computer that I always grab for writing, Internet browsing, buying stuff online, watching YouTube videos, or connecting to remote server systems to do some heavy work, it’s my trusty, little C720 Chromebook. If you’ve ever read anything I’ve written on ZDNet in my Consumerization column, you know that I sort of have a love affair with Acer. Yes, I’m afraid that it’s a one-sided affair, but it’s one that I’ve carried on for years.
I’ve purchased many Acer products and have recommended them (successfully) to my in-laws and others. Someday I’ll provide a full list of the still living models, although I can tell you that I have one, a Linux system living in my personal data center (garage) that has to be ten years old. I digress. But you see my point? I love Acer products. And the C720 hasn’t changed my mind.
The C720 is what Chromebooks aspire (Watch that pun, Acer has a line of Aspire systems) to be. They’re lightweight, powerful, stable, durable, high quality, full of features, and competitively priced. What more can you ask for? Great support, probably. Well, Acer has that. Although I’ve never had any serious problems with any of my Acer products, the two or three times I’ve used Customer Support, the agent has helped me until the issue was resolved. I’ve never disconnected from one of the online chat sessions with anything but satisfaction in my head and a smile on my face.
My Acer C720 surpassed my Acer One Netbook as my favorite computer about a week after I got it. The C720 is so fast and responsive that rivals even the most souped-up computer that I’ve ever used. There’s never any hesitation, freezing, or “Not responding” messages. And I really don’t have the patience for “Not responding” messages.
And say what you will about Google, but the Chrome browser and the Chrome OS are the best things to happen to computers since Linus released Linux back in the mid-1990s. Google aced it, in my humble opinion, with Chrome and Chrome OS.
The C720 comes in a variety of models from the most basic to the very elaborate with a touch screen, super fast CPU(s), 4GB RAM, and a larger (32GB) internal SSD. The touch screen is the big bonus feature for the Chromebook. Chrome OS isn’t Windows 8, but the operating system and computing environment is still enhanced by touch screen technology for those of us who have become accustomed to tapping and swiping our phones and tablets. Alas, my C720 doesn’t have a touchscreen, but the trackpad is very good. Sometimes, if I’m working at a desk instead of on my lap, I plug in an external mouse and I’m fine.
- 11.6’’ (1366×768) display, 16:9 aspect ratio
- 0.75 inches thin – 2.76 lbs/ 1.25kg
- Up to 8.5 hours of active use 1
- New Intel® Celeron™ processor
- 100 GB Google Drive Cloud Storage2 with 16GB Solid State Drive
- 30-day free trial with Google Play Music All Access
- Built-in dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
- VGA Camera
- 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0
- Full size HDMI Port
- Bluetooth®4.0 Compatible
One thing to note about your Chromebook is that its operating system, Chrome OS, has been deemed the “most secure operating system” by Kevin Mitnick, the famous hacker turned security expert. He’s correct. I’ve performed multiple security scans over the network against the Chromebook and I can’t break into it. There’s just no available attack vector. In other words, you can feel safe using your Chromebook out in public because no one can scan your system, break into it, and grab your data.
Why it’s Frugal: The C720 is frugal for many reasons, but the most important one is features per dollar. You get a full, powerful computer for $200 that won’t require you to spend on hardware upgrades because of a newer operating system version every two years. There’s no spinning hard drive to fail on you. There’s very little heat generated from it. It requires very little electricity. It really requires no additional accessories to make it useful. And it’s an Acer product, which means that it will last for years. That’s frugal.
While your C720 doesn’t come with an Ethernet connection, you can purchase a USB-to-Ethernet network interface for under $20. There are no drivers to install or any issues. Plug it in and it works.