First up: the Acer Chromebook C710.

TL;DR: C710:

Intel 64bit 1.5GHz Celeron, 2GB ram, 320GB disk, 11inch screen.

Likes: Matte screen, lightweight, lots of ports- 3USB, full size HDMI out, full size VGA out, ethernet and SD card slot, 3-4 hour battery.

My likes: full insertion SD slot. (click-in, click out. no card sticking out while in use. I’ll bitch about this later for the C720’s…)Plenty of storage for Linux. Plenty fast for almost everything. Both disk and memory are upgradable.

My dislikes- nonstandard charger, the BIOS is locked, so rebooting into Linux and back require running either commands or a script from the command line, touchpad takes some getting used to.

Most heard complaint: *only* a 3-4 hour battery. (I can’t believe this is an actual complaint, but it’s at the top of most people’s radar.) The spinning disk make the 3 hours more likely, the SSD models get 4.5 hours.

Full story:

This is not Acer’s first (or even second) foray into Chromebooks. Acer first released the AC700- a first gen Chromebook, and then the C7. I’ve never seen either of those in the wild, but the C7 was short lived, becoming the c710. The 710 first was available with a 320GB spinning platter hard disk- the traditional laptop drive. This was almost universally panned by critics of the CB- what good is storage to a online-only device? Theye were quickly “upgraded” to 16GB SSD’s. Personally, I went out of my way to keep the spinning drives- I need the space for the linux partitions. 16GB is plenty, but seriously, I use more than 16GB every photo session with my Nikon- hell, it’s got a 32GB sd card as it’s primary storage- double the whole 16gb Chromebook. So for me, I want the storage.

So, Chrubuntu was the first thing I did. Read about and get it here: Jay Lee’s Blog!

Long story short. The thing with Linux on this CB is that unless you really like typing or like writing your own batch scripts, moving from Chrome to Linux is a pain. And it’s not something the kids will do on their own. Chrome is much better for browsing, FB, etc- it’s fast, all the plugins work out of the box, and the ridiculous fast boot time is teh awesomesauce. However, Minecraft, Skyrim, and anything else Chrome doesn’t support means opening a shell session, swithcing to bash, and entering a fairly complex set of commands, submitting a reboot, and then waiting on it to shutdown cleanly, and powerup, go through the boot process for linux (which is considerably slower than Chrome…) – all that together- sucks…..but it’s still better than waiting on Windows.

So after the fun with the C710’s, eventually one got stepped on in a kid’s room.

Well, I kinda expected that, and with the, being sub-$200, I didn’t mind as much as if it we a Macbook. Also, the C710 has a full HDMI port, so it can easily be hooked up to a TV. Add a wireless keyboard/touchpad, and viola- an instant WebTV machine, with (near) universal logins.

Next: Prescott chips, and the C720.

 

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