Acer Chromebook R11, the one that bends over backwards
Right after the very good Dell Chromebook 13, Acer gave us the possibility to review this Chromebook R11. Another form of Chromebook, that still keeps the very pure Google Chrome OS system in a very robust laptop, which also gets a 360-degree hinge and a touchscreen, in order to transform it into a tablet in just a glance.
Less glamourous than the Dell Chromebook 13, this Acer Chromebook R11 still remains pretty to look at (especially compared to previous Chromebooks…), even if the hinge system is far from being sexy. The Chromebook R11 gets a 11.6″ HD screen (1366 x 768 pixels), and is much portable than the Dell laptop, thanks to its format of course, but also to its weight, with only 1.6 kg on the balance, and just 19.2 mm thick.
The “test sample” provided by Acer runs with an Intel Celeron N3050 processor, 4 Gb RAM and an Intel HD Graphics GPU. A configuration powerful enough to run the very light Chrome OS very smoothly, and thanks to the 32 GB SSD included, this Acer Chromebook R111 boots in a few seconds.
As we mentionned before, no Microsoft Windows OS here, or Mac OS, but Chrome OS, a system developped by Google, which clearly focuses on giving the best “web experience” possible. An experience that may be a bit disturbing at first, since this Chromebook only has a bunch of Google’s App like Chrome of course, but also Youtube, Gmail, Google Maps or Play Music. Chrome OS is a very light and minimalist alternative to Windows and/or Mac OS, and the user might be a little confused in his first steps with his new computer.
In order to get some fresh new apps, the user can jump into the Chrome Web Store to find out hundreds of applications and games. Not really a “Start Menu” either here, but in the bottom left corner an icon is used to open Search, and you can add icons on the bottom bar to get shortcuts to your favorite applications. In the right corner, the user can find a notification counter, but also Settings, WiFi connectivity and battery life. Everything is very simple, very light, even the settings that only allows a few modifications. Of course, this type of computer is perfect for who’s looking for a “web only” experience, and the structure won’t allow any form of “modern gaming”, except of course the apps included in the Chrome Web Store.
But this Chromebook R11 gives the user the ability to open its Chromebook all the way, until it becomes a tablet. On the way to 360 degrees of tablet fun, you can also stop to configure it as a stand-up display, or a tent-shaped display that lets you place it on a window sill so you can watch videos on the wide-viewing-angle screen while doing the dishes. The 360° hinge features dual-torque technology, so the panel is very easy to open, but locks in place when needed. The panel also senses when you place it upside down for “tent mode”, prompting the image and audio channels to flip over automatically.
Concerning the available ports, with can count on both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 here. There’s an HDMI port for connecting the Chromebook to an external display, an SD card reader and a 3.5mm headset jack. No Ethernet port here, but the latest MIMO 802.11ac wireless technology under the hood.
This Acer Chromebook R11 is both pretty attractive and very affordable. Of course, there is no Full HD nor power here, but the device is perfect for giving a smooth and perfect Chrome OS experience. The tactile interface also gives a real advantage in “web browsing”, and the possibility to bend the Chromebook R11 to configure it as a tent-shaped display or a real tablet is also a great advantage. A great and simple PC for those looking for a smooth web experience, at a reasonnable price.