Acer announces its first two 12-inch Chromebooks

Acer has just announced its first two 12-inch Chromebooks: the Chromebook 512 and Chromebook Spin 512.

Starting with the Chromebook 512, the device features a 12-inch IPS display with 1,366 x 912 resolution. The 180-degree hinge lets you lay the Chromebook 512 flat on a surface, while the display can either be touch or non-touch.

On the sides are two USB-C ports, two full-size USB 3.0 ports, a microSD card slot, and a headphone jack.

Editor’s Pick

The Chromebook 512 is also compliant with the MIL-STD-810G standard, so it should stand up to a fair amount of abuse. In particular, the device can handle drops from heights of up to 48 inches and handle up to 132 pounds of pressure on the chassis.

Elsewhere, the Chromebook 512 features three processor options: the dual-core Intel Celeron N4000, quad-core Celeron N4100, and quad-core Pentium Silver N5000 processors. The device also comes with either 4GB or 8GB of RAM, either 32GB or 64GB of storage, and a battery that promises up to 12 hours of use.

Acer Chromebook Spin 512

The Chromebook Spin 512 mostly features the same specs, though you’re limited to the Celeron N4100 and Pentium Silver N5000. Even the port selection, spill-resistant keyboard, and MIL-STD-810G compliance remain the same across devices.

The main differences are with the included Wacom EMR stylus and the 360-degree hinge. With the two features, students can turn the Chromebook Spin 512 into a 3.31-pound tablet and jot down notes during class.

The Chromebook 512 will sell for $329.99, while the Chromebook Spin 512 will sell for $449.99. The two Chromebooks will be available in April.

Acer’s new Chromebook 315 hits CES 2019 with custom AMD processors

Acer just introduced the Chromebook 315 during the CES 2019 trade show in Las Vegas. Scheduled to arrive this quarter, it will be the company’s first Chromebook based on an all-in-one “APU” processor manufactured by AMD. Acer typically guns for Intel-based processors in Chromebooks, but the company chose custom APUs for this model to better support Chrome- and Android-based apps. APUs (standing for “Accelerated Processing Unit”) combine a CPU and GPU in a single chip.

Editor’s Pick

Acer’s Chromebook 315 will rely on two seventh-generation AMD A-Series APUs: The A6-9220C and the A4-9120C. These APUs weren’t pulled directly from the shelf, but instead revised to consume less power. That means they enable a longer battery life and produce less heat, making them a great fit for ultra-thin laptop designs. The tradeoff is that you’ll see lower CPU core speeds versus AMD’s original off-the-shelf APUs released in Q2 2017.

Here’s a comparison between the tweaked “c” variants and AMD’s stock A-Series APUs:

  A6-9220 A6-9220C A4-9120 A4-9120C
Process node: 28nm 28nm 28nm 28nm
CPU cores: 2 2 2 2
Threads: 2 2 2 2
Base speed: 2.5GHz 1.8GHz 2.2GHz 1.6GHz
Maximum speed: 2.9GHz 2.7GHz 2.5GHz 2.4GHz
Graphics cores: 2 3 2 3
Graphics shaders: 192 128 128 128
Graphics type: Radeon R5 Radeon R5 Radeon R3 Radeon R4
Base speed: 655MHz 720MHz 655MHz 600MHz
Maximum TDP: 15 watts 6 watts 15 watts 6 watts

These tweaked APUs will power an IPS-based 15.6-inch screen with a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution. Acer will offer versions with touch (CB315-2HT) and without touch (CB315-2H). You’ll also see up to 8GB of system memory and up to 32GB of storage. Given you’ll likely consume most of that storage with Android apps, Acer threw in a microSD card reader to store music, videos, images, and other files.

Acer Chromebook 315

In addition to the card slot, the Chromebook 315 will include two USB Type-C ports (5Gbps), two USB Type-A ports (5Gbps), and a microphone/headphone combo jack. A full-size upward-facing speaker will reside on each side of the keyboard, providing crisp audio versus the annoying muffled audio typically heard with downward-facing speakers. The touch-capable version will feature a backlit keyboard, whereas the non-touch version won’t have any backlighting. Rounding out the multimedia aspect is an HD webcam with an 88-degree field-of-view.

“The Chromebook 315 features a stylish IMR top cover and palm rest that are durable and light enough for moving around the home or office,” the company said in a pre-show press release. “It can speed through demanding apps, while running multiple tabs and extensions, all during a battery life of up to 10 hours.”

Acer Chromebook 315

Acer also notes that parents can easily manage the Chromebook 315 using Google’s Family Link Android app for mobile. With this free service enabled, children can’t install apps and extensions from the Chrome Web Store, view violent and sexually explicit sites, or use incognito mode. There’s nothing parents need to install on the Chromebook itself, as all restrictions are controlled through the child’s Google Account.

Read: What is a Chromebook and what can it do?

Acer’s upcoming Chromebook will measure 0.79 inches thick and weigh a mere 3.79 pounds. It won’t be available until sometime during the first quarter of 2019 sporting a starting price of $280.

The new Acer Swift 7 Windows 10 notebook

In addition to its new Chromebook, Acer also announced a new Windows 10 laptop, the Swift 7. The 14-inch 1,920 x 1,080 touchscreen notebook has very thin bezels, allowing it to have a 92 percent screen-to-body ratio. The body of the notebook is also very thin at just 9.95mm and is incredibly light at just 1.96 pounds, as it is made of magnesium-lithium and magnesium-aluminum alloys. The display is also covered in Corning Gorilla Glass 6 for extra protection.

Inside, the Acer Swift 7 has the 8th generation Intel Core i7-8500Y processor and can support either 8GB or 16GB of RAM and either 256GB or 512GB of onboard storage. The battery life is supposed to last up to 10 hours on a single charge. The power button on the laptop doubles as a fingerprint reader so you can log onto Windows 10 as you power the notebook up, via Windows Hello. It has a push-to-open camera for webchats and video recording that can be closed back inside the notebook when not in use.

The Acer Swift 7 won’t be available for a little while. It will go on sale in April in Europe starting at €1,799, and also in China starting at ¥14,999. It won’t be available in the US until May, for the starting price of $1,699.