Chromebooks are at a turning point. The best of Google’s low-cost laptops have long been good values, but with the forthcoming introduction of Android apps to Chrome OS
— and thus, better offline and gaming support — the things that make a Good Chromebook have changed.
Namely, you’ll want a touchscreen. Most apps are still made with those in mind. Right now, though, most of
the Chromebooks worth buying don’t have those. If they do, they tend to be
a bit too small, or a bit
too light on the spec sheet — at least if you ever want to use them as more than a secondary computer.
If a Chromebook does have good specs and isn’t undersized, then it’s
probably too expensive.
It was only a matter of time before the market caught up, though, and with Acer’s new Chromebook R13, the shift appears to have started.
Announced at the IFA show in Berlin on Wednesday, the Taiwanese manufacturer’s latest seems to tick off all the essential boxes for a Chrome OS machine ready to roll with the Google Play Store.
Most significantly, the Chromebook R13 comes with a 13.3-inch, 1080p, convertible, touchscreen display. That is the most comfortable size, with a not-aggravating resolution, in a flippable form factor that’s convenient for watching videos. It should also work relatively comfortably with Android apps going forward.
Internally, the Chromebook R13 uses a quad-core MediaTek chip alongside 4GB of RAM. That should be fine enough to get through Chrome OS’s light load, but we’ve yet to test a MediaTek chip on a Chromebook, so there’s a chance it won’t be the fastest thing around.
Alongside that is either 16, 32, or 64GB of storage, which is minimal, but not a crippling flaw when Chrome OS mostly runs through the web.
Beyond that, Acer says the device will get up to 12 hours of battery life, and will include the necessary USB-C, USB 3.0, and HDMI ports. The device is said to weigh 3.28 pounds and measure 0.61 inches — that’s a bit heavier than a MacBook Air, but also a little bit thinner. Either way, it shouldn’t be a burden.
The whole thing will start at $400, which would be relatively affordable if everything holds up. We’ll have to spend some hands-on time with the Chromebook R13 to see if its keyboard, build and general performance work out, but at least on paper, this is closer to what you should be looking for in a Chromebook from here on out.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.