Should Microsoft be Worried About Google’s Chromebook

Posted: December 2, 2013 by Areeb Fazli in Technology
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Chromebooks have become a whole lot more appealing lately as they begin to promise longer battery life, better performance, and continue to come in at surprisingly low prices. And this week, Chromebooks got even more exciting with the announcement of the Acer C720P. The C720P may be the second touchscreen Chromebook, but it’s a full $1,000 less expensive than the first one. To see just what the latest batch of Chromebooks has to offer, we’re taking a look across four of them to see which delivers the most value for its price.

Microsoft says you can’t play Call of Duty or Age of Empires on a Chromebook, and that’s fair enough. But you’re not going to enjoy playing Call of Duty on those sub-$250 Windows laptops that Microsoft highlights on its Chromebook vs. Windows laptop page, either. There may never be a Microsoft Office for ChromeOS, but there’s a pretty good version of it available on the web courtesy of Microsoft itself. You can’t do Skype, but Hangouts isn’t bad either. There’s no iTunes, but if you’re online, the Spotify web app works just as well as the desktop app.

This time, the company is targetingChromebooks, Google’s cheap ChromeOS-based, web-centric laptops.

Acer’s C720P Chromebook is certainly the most exciting of the four recent machines. For those interested, its touchscreen gives it a clear edge over competitors — and without raising the price by much.

The C720P’s biggest price competition actually comes from Acer itself: if you’re looking for the least expensive of the recent Chromebooks, that would be a stripped-down version of the C720, which is almost identical to the C720P but lacks a touchscreen. For $199.99, you can get nearly the same specs as the C720P with a major discount. Both include an 11.6-inch display at 1366 x 768, a processor from Intel’s Haswell family, and 2BG of RAM. The only other big differentiator is that the C720P includes an SSD with twice as much storage — 32GB — though both include 100GB of Google Drive space to make up for that low total anyway.

Both the good and the bad news is that the specs on most of these Chromebooks are incredibly similar — often almost identical. That should let you make a decision based on small differences in pricing or just your preference in style without having to worry about making major tradeoffs when moving from one to the next. None of the options appear to be perfect just yet, but for machines that cost less than $300, they’re getting closer than most probably imagined they would.

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