Acer is trying to be a trailblazer in the Chromebook market by launching the Chromebook C720. While Chromebooks don't usually inspire awe and wonder, this one just might. This Acer Chromebook boasts of being the first to come with a 4th generation, meaning Haswell, Intel Core i3 CPU, bringing speed and performance to this usually underpowered device line.
To be clear, this isn't Acer's first Chromebook and neither is this the first Intel-powered one. This is, however, the first to mix it up with a laptop-grade processor, specifically an Intel Core i3-4005U. To keep prices in check, most Chromebooks come with either ARM processors or, in the case of Intel chips, low-powered mobile variants like Atom and Celeron.
With this Intel Haswell i3, the Chromebook C720 can run its two CPU cores at a maximum of 1.7 GHz, not bad for a device not exactly designed to be a number cruncher. The rest of the specs are quite on par with other Chromebooks, that is to say, mildly underwhelming. The screen comes at 11.6 inches with a widescreen resolution of 1366x768. RAM comes in either 2 GB or 4 GB configurations, but both variants have only 32 GB of internal storage. Worry not, however, as there is also a card reader in this would-be laptop, plus an assortment of connectivity options, both wired like USB 3.0 and wireless like WiFi and Bluetooth, for external data needs. Plus, there's always Google Drive. Graphics isn't exactly going to be a problem, with an Intel HD 4400 on board, but, of course, don't expect heavy-duty gaming on this thing. Not that you'd have the disk space for it anyway.
This power boost for a Chromebook couldn't have come at a better time. At Google I/O last month, Google revealed that future versions of Chrome OS will be able to run Android apps seamlessly. This additional functionality will undoubtedly require additional processing power. Although theoretically they shouldn't want to devour more than they would on a smartphone or tablet, still it's good to know that this Chromebook is well prepared should they want to.
The Acer Chromebook C720 comes in two models. The C720-3871 comes with 2 GB of RAM and costs $349.99 while the C720-3404 comes with 4 GB and a price tag of $379.99, otherwise the two are exactly the same. Acer will be launching these Chromebooks this month, available from retailers throughout North America.