A new family of Chromebook laptops from Acer comes with budget prices but ground-breaking battery life. The Chromebook 13 starts at $279.99, and is available for pre-order through Best Buy and Amazon.
According to Acer, the Chromebook 13 offers "enough battery life to last all day long on a single charge" -- up to 13 hours. The HD models provide a battery life of 11 hours.
The base model of the Chromebook 13 features a 13.3-inch screen -- a first for any Acer product -- with a quad-core Nvidia Tegra K1 processor and a speed of 2.10 GHz. It's the first Chromebook to feature the K1 processor, which was released by Nvidia early this year.
We reached out to Acer media relations director Lisa Emard to ask about which segment of the market the new Chromebooks are aimed at. "It's primarily targeted at families and students," Emard told us. Both are markets likely to find the relatively low cost of the devices appealing.
Fastest GPU on the Planet
According to Nvidia, the Tegra K1 processor is a 192-core "super chip" that also powers Nvidia's GeForce GTX 780 Ti, which the company calls "the fastest GPU on the planet." The processor enables the Chromebook 13 to handle multiple tasks at once, support advanced gaming apps and deliver rich graphics, Nvidia product manager Gaurav Agarwal wrote in a blog post announcing the new Acer devices.
The Chromebook 13 family also runs quietly, as the system is cooled without a fan.
Agarwal added that the Chromebook 13's fast processing speed will help educational users move beyond standard tasks into more complex uses.
"Lots of schools use Chromebooks, but mostly for mundane activities like spreadsheets and quizzes," Agarwal wrote. "With the arrival of a new wave of 3D interactive educational Web sites," he noted, the K1 is "transforming the Chromebook into a powerful interactive learning tool."
46.7% Share of US Market
Featuring a full-size keyboard and 13.3-inch touchscreen, the Chromebook 13 comes with a standard memory of 2 GB and a drive capacity of 16 GB. The highest-priced model offers 4 GB of memory and a 32 GB drive.
Weighing in at 3.31 pounds, the Chromebook 13 is 12.9 inches wide and 9 inches deep. The device boots up in under 10 seconds, according to Acer.
The base model of the Chromebook 13 comes with a screen resolution of 1366x768, while the high-end model offers a full-HD screen with a resolution of 1920x1080. All the models also include a built-in webcam, microphone and two USB 3.0 ports.
Citing data from NPD Group, Acer said its Chromebooks had a 46.7 percent share of the U.S. consumer market in the first quarter of 2014. The company launched its first Chromebook model -- the Acer AC700 -- in 2011.
The low- and high-end models of the Chromebook 13 are being offered for pre-sale through Amazon, while the mid-range unit -- a $299.99 model -- can be pre-ordered through Best Buy. Shipments will begin going out in the first week of September, according to Acer's Emard.