SAN FRANCISCO: GOOGLE AND INTEL jointly announced a line-up of Haswell powered Chromebooks at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) on Wednesday, touting battery life increases of 50 percent over previous models, with performance increasing by 15 percent.
Despite details about the features of these new machines being thin on the ground, we spotted Acer's updated, Haswell-powered C7 Chromebook on the IDF show floor and managed to get some hands-on time with the device.
Design and build
Since it's so inexpensive, we didn't expect the Acer C7 to have exceptionally high build quality or unique design qualities compared to other, higher end models on the market. However, though it clearly is a lot cheaper in both feel and appearance, overall it fares very well.
Touting the same design and buld as the non-Haswell powered Chromebook launched late last year, the Acer C7's gunmetal finish chassis also gives it an advantage in looks, making it look much sturdier than it probably is. That said, it does feel sturdy, being made from a strong plastic that gives the impression that the laptop would withstand a drop from waist level, at least when closed.
A point that we did like about the Acer C7 design was the hinge, which allowed for a rather wide tilt angle of the screen. We don't get to see this in cheaper Asus notebook models, for example, which refuse to tilt back much further than at a right angle and thus are not very comfortable to type on at a desk, so we liked this about the Acer C7. Screen viewing angles, however, are not great and looking at it from an angle slightly to the left or right will present you with a black screen of nothing.
We don't have any firm resolution specifications for the Acer C7 yet, but from our hands-on with it, it seemed to have relatively low resolution for the 11.7in screen size. However, it doesn't look too bad in general use. It doesn't look like it will display HD quality graphics, which seems like a shame, especially considering it has HDMI out connectivity for porting the display to an external screen.
The relatively low resolution doesn't appear to present a problem for web browsing, however, as the Acer C7 does that nicely.