Very affordable; Smooth performance; Good display for the price
Below-average battery life; Plain design; Bottom gets hot; Slow SSD
The Acer C710-2457 Chromebook delivers smooth performance and a crisp display at an aggressive price, but it has limited storage and a short battery life.
Chromebooks, which run on Google's Chrome OS and are designed specifically for surfing the Web, can be as pricey as $1,300, but the most popular models go for under $300. At $229, the Acer C710-2457 is one of the least expensive Chromebooks we've reviewed yet. It's packed with the same Intel Celeron 847 processor and 4GB of RAM you'll find in its pricier predecessor, the $279.99 C710-2055, but this time around, Acer has swapped out the 320GB hard drive for a 16GB SSD. Is one of the cheapest Chromebooks also among the best?
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There's no denying that the 11-inch Acer C710-2457 is aimed at folks on a tight budget, and that notion comes through in its design. Like the Acer C710-2055, this Chromebook is made entirely of plastic. The lid features a dark-gray brushed aluminum finish; when we pressed down on the Acer logo on the lid's center with the notebook closed, we noticed a small amount of flex. Still, we were pleased to see the dark-silver keyboard deck was sturdy and solid.
MORE: Best LaptopsC710-2055. At 2.6 lbs., it's slightly lighter than the 3-lb. 2055, which we criticized for its hefty weight for an 11-inch notebook. The C710 sports nearly the same dimensions as the 11.4 x 8.1 x 0.7-inch Samsung Chromebook Series 3, but Samsung's notebook is a bit lighter, at just 2.4 lbs.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The 3.6 x 2-inch touchpad offered a generally smooth scrolling experience, but we were unable to pinch-to-zoom. Two-finger scrolling was a breeze, however, and worked without the least bit of lag when we browsed the Web. The trackpad's click button was responsive when we highlighted text and followed links, but to right-click, we had to hold down the Alt button.
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Although we were pleased with the display's detail, at a mere 163 lux, it certainly isn't the brightest. This score is well under the 237-lux ultraportable category average and also dimmer than the 202-lux C710-2055 and the 176-lux Samsung Chromebook Series 3.
When listening to "Same Love" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (featuring Mary Lambert), we found that the vocals and the melody sounded shallow and tinny. The sound lacked the depth and bass you'd find in a full-bodied laptop, and was barely loud enough to fill our testing room at full volume. We also heard a jarring buzz when singer Mary Lambert hit a high note in the chorus of the song.
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The Acer C710-2457 may be small, but it certainly gets hot. After streaming Hulu at full screen for 15 minutes, the trackpad registered a reasonable 91 degrees Fahrenheit (33 degrees Celsius), and the area between the G and H keys also reached 91 degrees. However, the device's underside reached 102 degrees F (39 degrees C), which is well above the 95-degree F (35 degrees C) limit we consider to be comfortable.
As for the user interface, you'll be greeted with a barebones desktop. In the bottom-left corner, you'll find icons for Google Chrome, Gmail, Angry Birds and Picasa. Along the bottom-right corner of the screen are icons for Wi-Fi connectivity and battery life, as well as a thumbnail photo of your Google+ image.
Within the Chrome browser, you can minimize windows, view them in full-screen mode or pin them to the left or right side of the screen. These features were introduced back in Version 23 and make the browsing experience more fluid and natural.
Additional apps can be downloaded from the Chrome Web Store, which currently boasts tens of thousands of apps. While many of these apps require Internet connectivity, certain applications -- such as Gmail, Calendar and Drive -- also offer offline functionality.
We used Remote Desktop to connect our Dell desktop PC to the Acer C710-2467 and successfully edited documents stored on our PC via the Chromebook. The cramped view can be jarring at first, considering Google stuffs your entire desktop into a tab in Chrome, but you can make this slightly more bearable by unchecking Shrink to Fit under the Screen Options tab. We copied and pasted text between computers and launched a trailer on our desktop using Remote Desktop.
Other similar alternatives, such as LogMeIn and GoToMyPC, over more robust solutions, but they aren't available for Chrome OS.
As with previous Chromebooks, you can send documents to cloud-ready printers, which include certain models from Canon, Epson, FedEx, HP and Kodak. Additionally, Chromebooks can print through standard printers by networking with a PC that's already connected to a printing device.
Chromebooks are renowned for starting up much faster than standard notebooks, and the Acer C710-2457 is no different, booting the Chrome OS desktop in just 8 seconds. That's faster than both the Acer C710-2055 (13 seconds) and the Samsung Chromebook Series 3 (11.3 seconds).
When we tried to duplicate 4.97GB of multimedia files on the C710-2457's 16GB SSD, it took 6 minutes and 50 seconds to copy all but the last 83 files, before we received a warning that the notebook had run out of storage space. If we do the math, that translates to a transfer speed of 12.4 MBps, which is slower than even the C710-2055 (13 MBps).
During everyday use, we found the Acer C710-2457 to be smooth, with no noticeable lag. We played "Plants vs. Zombies" with eight other tabs open in Google Chrome and browsed through the File Manager without a hitch.
|CPU||1.1GHz dual-core Intel Celeron 847|
|Operating System||Google Chrome|
|RAM Upgradable to|
|Hard Drive Size||16GB SSD|
|Hard Drive Speed|
|Hard Drive Type|
|Secondary Hard Drive Size|
|Secondary Hard Drive Speed|
|Secondary Hard Drive Type|
|Optical Drive Speed|
|Graphics Card||Intel HD Graphics|
|Touchpad Size||3.6 x 2 inches|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Kensington Lock|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Headphone|
|Ports (excluding USB)||HDMI|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Ethernet|
|Ports (excluding USB)||VGA|
|Card Slots||2-1 card reader|
|Size||11.2 x 8 x 1.1 inches|