Acer Unveils a Horde of Affordable Notebooks for Education
Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect Acer's additional announcements.
Acer is launching a slew of educational laptops that the company revealed at the BETT show in London.
The line-up includes two 12-inch Chromebooks, the 512 and its convertible twin, the Spin 512, along with four new 11.6-inch Chromebooks: the Spin 511, 311 (C721), 311 (C733) and Spin 311. Acer is also debuting its first AMD-based Windows notebook designed for education, the TravelMate B114-21. The best part is that each system will land in the sub-$500 range, making it affordable for schools or parents to buy.
Acer's Educational Laptop Line-up: Specs and Price
|Acer Chromebook 512||Acer Chromebook Spin 512||Acer TravelMate B114|
12-inch, 1366 x 912
12-inch, 1366 x 912 touchscreen
14-inch, 1920 x 1080
Intel Celeron N4000, Celeron N4100, Pentium Silver N5000
Intel Celeron N4100, Pentium Silver N5000
AMD A4-9120C, A6-9220C
|RAM||Up to 8GB||Up to 16GB|
|Storage||Up to 64GB eMMC||Up to 256GB SSD|
Two USB Type-C, two USB 3.0, headphone jack, microSD card slot
|One USB 3.1, two USB 2.0, headphone jack, SD card slot, RJ45, HDMI 2.0|
|Size||N/A||N/A||13.78 x 9.96 x 0.78 inches|
|Acer Chromebook Spin 511||Acer Chromebook 311 (C721)||Acer Chromebook Spin 311||Acer Chromebook 311 (C733)|
Intel Celeron N4000, Celeron N4100
|Intel Celeron N4000, Celeron N4100|
|Ports||Two USB 3.0, two USB 3.1 Type-C, microSD card slot, headphone jack|
Acer Chromebook 512, Spin 512, Spin 511
The Chromebook 512, Spin 512 and Spin 511 will start at $329, $449 and $379, respectively, and launch sometime in April.
The 512 and Spin 512 can be configured with up to an Intel Pentium Silver N5000 processor, 8GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage, while the Spin 511 will go up to an Intel Celeron N4100 CPU. The Acer Chromebook 512 and Spin 512 feature a similar chunky build designed withstand military-grade torment, specifically the MIL-STD 810G tests, which involve multiple drops from up to 4 feet. The Spin 511 is a little sleeker, but can take the same amount of punishment.
That durability also extends to the keyboard, as Acer has designed it to be spill-resistant, and even the display is made from Corning Gorilla Glass. However, the 512 and Spin 512 are 12-inch Chromebooks that have a measly 1366 x 912 resolution, and quite frankly not even kids should suffer through such blur. The Spin 511 has a 11.6-inch display, and while it's unclear what the resolution is, it's most likely in the same low range.
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Along with the Chromebook's normal webcam, the Spin 512 comes with an additional 8-megapixel "world-facing" webcam on the underside, which is kind of a misnomer due to its location. Meanwhile, the regular 512 and Spin 511 offers an optional 5MP webcam.
Acer also claims that both the Chromebook 512 and Spin 512 can last up to 12 hours on a charge, which would be impressive, even for a Chromebook, if we get the same result on our test. There's no word on the Spin 511 battery rating as of yet.
Acer TravelMate B114-21
The TravelMate B114-21 is slated to launch sometime in Q1 and start at $319.
Unlike its Chromebook siblings, the TravelMate is a Windows laptop, but in order to keep it strictly educational, Acer ships it out in S mode. It'll offer up to a 7th Gen AMD A6-9220C processor with Radeon R5 graphics, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.
Like its Chromebook brothers, it has a chunky build that's mil-spec tested, but it's not without style, as it features glossy black curves and a hood with cool jagged edges. The TravelMate features one USB 3.1 port, two USB 2.0 ports, a headphone jack, an SD card slot, an RJ45 port and an HDMI 2.0 port, but no USB Type-C. Despite the relatively low cost, you get a 14-inch display that sits at 1920 x 1080 resolution, which is as it should be.
Acer marks the TravelMate for up to 10 hours of battery life, which would easily carry a student through a day of classes and then some. Stay tuned for our full review and benchmarks once we get these notebooks through our lab.
Acer Chromebook 311 (C721), 311 (C733), Spin 311
The Chromebook 311 (C721), 311 (C733) and Spin 311 are launching sometime in April like their other Chromebook brethren and start at $279, $349 and $299, respectively.
The 311 (C721) and Spin 311 will rock the latest 7th Gen AMD A4-9120C processor with Radeon graphics, while the 311 (C733) can be configured up to an Intel Celeron N4100 processor. The AMD Chromebooks feature a similar build to the TravelMate, leaning more toward the sleek side, but the 311 (C733) looks a little more curvy and chunky (aka what you're used to seeing from a Chromebook).
At the very least, all of these Chromebooks are MIL-STD 810G tested and have spill-resistant keyboards. The 11.6-inch display on these Chromebooks concern me, however, as they will most likely have a low resolution, but it's not uncommon for Chromebooks to downsize on the display.
Each Chromebook will feature two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 3.1 Type-C ports, a microSD card slot and a headphone jack. The Spin 311 will have a dockable stylus like its other Spin twins.
There isn't a ton of information on the new 11.6-inch Chromebooks, so stay tuned for our full review and benchmarks once we get these notebooks through our lab.
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