Acer Unveils Durable, Convertible Chromebooks for Students

Easy to use and hard to infect with viruses, Chromebooks are the laptops for choice for schools. However, when you're handing a notebook to a child,  you can expect it to slip out of those hands from time-to-time.  Due out in March for a starting price of $279, Acer's new Chromebook 11 C732 is designed to survive 4-foot drops, spills, bumps and even sand.

Available with either a touch (C732) or non-touch screen (model C732T), the 11.6-inch clamshell has an IP41 rating, which means that it can survive dripping water. It has a fanless design and no opening that's bigger than 1 millimeter so there's little room for dust or for kids to shove foreign objects inside. The keyboard is both tamper and spill-resistant while the the chassis can survive 132 pounds of force against the lid.

On the inside, the Chromebook 11 is powered by an Intel Celeron N3350 or N3450 CPU, up to 8GB of RAM and up to 64GB of storage. The screen is a modest 1366 x 768 resolution, the device weighs 2.78 pounds and Acer estimates that it will last up to 12 hours on a charge.

Google Play comes preloaded so you can run Android apps out of the box. The Chromebook has dual USB Type-C ports for charging and connecting to peripherals, along with two USB 3.0 ports and a microSD card slot for memory expansion.

Acer Chromebook Spin 11 Offers Optional pen

Windows laptops have offered pen input for many years, but Chromebooks have only recently warmed up to inking.  Starting at $349 when it comes out in March, Acer's new Chromebook Spin 11 has an optional Wacom pen that allows you to sketch or scribble on its 1366 x 768 touch screen. 

The 2.75-pound convertible features a Pentium or Celeron CPU, 4 or 8GB of RAM and 32 or 64GB of eMMC storage. It comes preloaded with Google's Play store so it can run Android apps and Acer claims that it will last up to 10 hours on a charge. Like its sibling, the Chromebook Spin 11 has two USB Type-C ports, two USB 3.0 ports and a microSD card slot.

The Chromebook Spin 11's webcam has a wide field of view so you can show yourself and the people next to you during calls. There's also an optional second camera that faces outward from the cover so you can shoot things in front of you.

Laptop Guide

Avram Piltch
Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master's degree in English from NYU.