Acer Chromebook 13: The best Googletop on the market?

ARM chippery finds another natural home


Review Take a quick gander at any decent tech news site and you'll find stories about Chromebook sales doubling in 2014 and the Googly laptop being a gadget that is here to stay. That’s why every self-respecting PC maker is muscling in on the Chromebook scene.

Acer Chromebook 13

Acer's Chromebook 13: full HD display anyone?

Newest to hit the shores of Blighty is Acer’s Nvidia Tegra K1-powered 13.3-incher, which is called, with a certain lack of imagination, the Acer Chromebook 13. Available in two screen resolutions: 1366 x 768 and 1920 x 1080, it's the range topping £270 full-HD version I’ve been fannying about with since the festive season.

Let’s start with the aesthetics. The Acer Chromebook 13 is one of the smartest to hit the streets, although Toshiba's CB30-102 from last summer is up there with it, with its MacBook-alike livery. If you want a laptop to pose with in Starbucks that’s not a MacBook Air, this is one to consider. Yes, posing with an Acer, who'd have thought?

Acer Chromebook 13

Combi 3.5mm audio jack with the smaller power socket

The white satin-finish body appears robust and has a high quality look and feel to it. The screen hinge is solid, nicely weighted and squeak-free. At 1.5kg, the Acer is a little heavier than Apple’s 1.36kg 13-inch MacBook Air. The Acer’s 18mm profile is closer to the Air’s 17mm.

Take a tour around the edges and you will find two USB 3.0 ports, a full sized HDMI connector and a spring-loaded SD card slot that takes said card all the way in. That last is a must have feature for a Chromebook in my book as the internal storage is never more than meagre on this breed of device. Finally, cheek by jowl you’ll find a 3.5mm audio jack and a tiny power socket into which you can plug the Acer’s all white, and rather dainty, power brick.

Acer Chromebook 13

USB 3.0 port and tucked away along the edge is the SD card slot

Moving on to the bits of the Acer that you’ll be touching and looking at the most. The keyboard is solid and the individual keys have a decent amount of travel and a crisp, well damped action. There’s no backlight but I didn’t expect there to be one for this price. The trackpad is usefully large, pleasant to the touch and the click action rewarding.

The screen is more of a mixed bag. Not technically. It’s very sharp and pretty bright while the matte finish keeps reflections at bay. Viewing angles are far from what I’d describe as stellar but for the price I’m not complaining.

Acer Chromebook 13

Ports at the back, just like an old school laptop: USB 3.0 alongside a full-size HDMI connector

No, the problem is the resolution itself. It makes the text in Chrome browser tabs and in the bookmark bar too small. The only way to change the tab and menu text size is to change the screen’s resolution but that not only looks terrible but rather defeats the object of buying the full-HD model in the first place.

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