Just when you thought you’ve seen every Chromebook on the market, Acer today revealed two brand new Chromebooks for schools: the Acer Chromebook C910 and Acer Chromebook C740. Both of these affordable laptops run Google’s student-friendly Chrome OS and have a more durable design intended to withstand use use and abuse of a school year.
The Acer Chromebook C910 is the largest of the pair thanks to a 15.6-inch display. This desktop-replacement Chromebook weighs 2.2kg (4.85 pounds) and was designed for labs and classrooms where one computer is shared by multiple students. The Acer C740 is a more compact Chromebook weighing just 1.3kg (2.87 pounds) with an 11.6-inch display that is easy for students to carry since the C740 is as small or smaller than most textbooks.
Both the C910 and C740 have reinforced display covers that can withstand up to 60kg of force, while the corners can tolerate up to 45cm drops without damage. Also, the hinges have been reinforced and extended inside the chassis so the new Chromebooks can endure more twisting and stress. Acer apparently discovered the need for these structural improvements after learning that many students foolishly carry their laptops around class by holding onto one corner of the screen.
Chromebooks continue to be adopted by schools not just because of the low cost but because the Chrome OS supports multiple user sign on. Students can use any Chromebook to log onto their unique accounts to ensure their school project, Gmail and any other information is kept safe, even if the Chromebook is lost or stolen. Data is stored in the cloud using Google Drive, and students can still work on files such as Microsoft Word documents offline and save the newest draft of their work when they have internet access again.
The new Acer Chromebooks each have a Kensington lock, so they can be secured with a cable lock to a cart or desk in a school lab. The web-based management console also allows school administrators to remotely manage apps and policies across all Chromebooks in the network. Acer customers can also take advantage of the Acer Educare Warranty Programs to further protect their investment with services such as battery replacement, paid two-way shipping, and accidental damage protection.
The Acer C910’s 15.6-inch display comes as either a full HD IPS (1920×1080 resolution) with wide viewing angles making it ideal for multitasking with several students or the Chromebook is available with a standard HD (1366×768 resolution) display panel for those schools with more limited budgets. The smaller C740 will only be available with a standard HD screen.
Both the Acer C910 and C740 will be available with a 5th Generation Intel Core i3-5005U processor or next-generation Intel Celeron 3205U processor based on the Broadwell micro-architecture. Acer claims the C740 provides up to 9 hours of battery life and the C910 provides up to 8 hours, so either system can be used all-day by students.
Both Chromebooks include MIMO 2×2 Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0 for wireless connections, and both laptops have standard USB 3.0, USB 2.0 and HDMI ports as well as a full-size SD card reader to transfer files without a network.
The new Chromebooks for education customers will be available in February through Acer authorized retailers. In the United States, the Acer C910 will be available with either a 16GB or 32GB SSD drive and 4GB of RAM starting at $299.99. The Acer C740 will be available with a 16GB SSD drive and either 2GB or 4GB of RAM and starts at $259.99. Exact hardware configurations, prices and availability will vary by region.