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BLOG: Hands on: Getting to know Acer's $300 touchscreen Chromebook

JR Raphael | Feb. 7, 2014
Remember Acer's C720P Chromebook? The laptop was announced with little fanfare over Thanksgiving week, when most of us were already tuned out, and then never quite got its moment in the spotlight.

Remember Acer's C720P Chromebook? The laptop was announced with little fanfare over Thanksgiving week, when most of us were already tuned out, and then never quite got its moment in the spotlight.

Acer tends to launch a lot of minor variations to its existing Chromebooks — a model with more RAM, less RAM, a bigger hard drive, and so forth — so it's easy to overlook a new device with a familiar-sounding name. But while the C720P Chromebook does bear a striking resemblance to the original C720 Chromebook, it offers one new feature that's particularly noteworthy.

The Acer C720P Chromebook is the first Chromebook other than Google's high-end Chromebook Pixel to include touchscreen functionality. And while the Pixel costs a whopping $1300, Acer's touchscreen computer sells for a far more manageable $300.

To be clear, the C720P is in nowhere near the same league as the Pixel; like the original C720 device, it's very much a budget-level machine. But compared to other Chromebooks in its class, it has some interesting qualities to consider.

Here are some of the things I've noticed while using Acer's C720P touchscreen Chromebook:

Acer C720P Chromebook Body1. The body
In terms of the exterior, the C720P looks and feels exactly like the base C720 model; the only noticeable difference is that it's available in white as well as silver (theoretically, at least — at the moment, the white models seem to be tough to find online)

The C720P is slightly heavier than the base model, at 2.98 lbs. up from 2.76 lbs., but it's still incredibly light and easy to carry.

For detailed thoughts on the build quality and what the laptop's like to use, I'll refer you to my in-depth Acer C720 review; since not much has changed in that department, there's not much new I can say about it here. Long story short, the system's overall construction still isn't its strong point, nor is its keyboard or trackpad (which are the two negatives I probably notice the most in terms of actual use).

2. The display
What really sets the C720P apart, of course, is its display. The C720P still uses an 11.6-in. 1366 x 768 TN screen, but along with its conversion to touch, the display gets a glossy finish that makes it much easier on the eyes than the base model's matte panel. It's not at the level of a higher-quality IPS screen, like what's present on the HP Chromebook 11, but I find it to be far more tolerable than the regular C720 Chromebook — especially for extended use.

 

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