Chromebooks have evolved a lot over the past couple of years. The laptops that were once ignored by the general public because of their rather "basic OS" have become a staple for students and home users who are in need of a quick and efficient laptop to do cloud based tasks.
Be it streaming a movie, editing a shared doc, browsing the web or simply chatting up with friends, Chromebooks have become the new entry level laptop sans the slow performance that typically accompanies such models.
Today we'd like to take a look at one of the latest models to join the fold, a model that brags about a 12 hour battery life, Full HD screen and a very low price tag. You guessed it, today we're gonna review the Acer CB3-431-C5FM Chromebook.
The Pros: Full HD 14 inch Display, 4GB of RAM, 32GB storage, 12 hour battery life, HD webcam, aluminium body, lightweight design, quad core CPU, seductive price.
The Cons: No 4G support.
Acer CB3-431-C5FM Review of a perfectly balanced chromebook
Full HD Display on a high end body
Sure, most chromebooks in the market arrive with a rather cheap build. This is normal considering the price that comes along with the laptop. However, the Acer CB3-431-C5FM aims to go a bit further and therefore the company has given its latest chromebook a chassis built completely on aluminium. This not only provides with a sturdy and firm grip but it also helps prevent the chromebook from overheating.
Moving on to the display, we're looking at 14 inch IPS LED-Backlit Full HD display with your standard widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio. This is actually one of this chromebooks main features since just a few years back it was pretty hard to get a Full HD chromebook at this price.
Also, when you take into account that a big part of this chromebooks usage will be geared towards watching movies or surfing the web, having a crisp and clear display with such a high resolution is a great extra when compared to the conventional HD resolution found on 99% of entry level laptops.
Finally, when it comes down to portability, you don't have to worry about Acer's latest 14 inch model since it weighs a paltry 3.4 pounds and measures under 0.7 inches at it's thickest point.
If you know a little bit about chromebooks or about Chrome OS in general you'll know by now that the hardware demands for Chrome OS to work properly are extremely low when compared to a Windows laptop.
While 4 GB of RAM on Windows is cutting it tight for multitasking, on Chrome OS 4 GB has already proved to be more than enough to handle several programs without breaking a sweat. Overall, it could be compared to a Windows 10 laptop with 8GB of RAM at this level.
That said, the Acer CB3-431-C5FM features precisely 4GB of RAM which is already more than most chromebooks have in store. Couple that with an Intel Celeron N3160 quad core processor that clocks in at 1.6 GHz and can go up to 2.24 GHz and you've got yourself an excellent performer for any kind of task from editing pics online to creating stunning infographics and watching Full HD movies.
No, you won't be doing any 4K video editing on this laptop but if that's your intention then you're way off base with a chromebook.
As far as storage goes, we've got 32GB of onboard SSD storage which is within the norm at these prices. However, as you probably know if you're researching a chromebook, you've already got 100GB of Google Drive Storage for free during the first two years.
This is very useful not only because it expands your storage right off the bat but because when you access Google Drive from another machine you'll already have access to all the stuff you've got on your chromebook and therefore in the worst case scenario that you accidentally break it your information won't get lost.
Also, another pro that chromebooks don't really get enough credit for is that it's a virus free software because as soon as Google detects a vulnerability it automatically updates chrome os so you don't have to worry about running an annoying and painfully expensive antivirus.
How's the battery life? And the connectivity options?
Another great feature that's a staple amongst chromebooks is battery life and the Acer CB3-431-C5FM is no different with a big 3 cell battery that can deliver up to 12 hours of battery life. Finally you can take your laptop from one spot to another without having to worry about battery life.
Connectivity is a big deal on a cloud based software and that's why Acer made sure they left nothing out. That said, it should also be noted that there's a lot that you can do offline on the chromebook as well, so you're not tied expressly to having an online connection.
Either way, the Acer CB3-431-C5FM in review sports a WiFi 802.11ac connectivity with MIMO technology that delivers excellent download and upload speeds. There's the latest Bluetooth 4.2 support, a couple of USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI out and your standard audio jack.
Finally, while it has nothing to do with the actual connectivity options of this notebook we thought it quite pointless to create a separate headline to tell you guys that it has a very interesting HD webcam with an 88º wide angle so you don't have to be directly in front of the webcam for someone to see you.
It's pretty clear that chromebooks aren't for everyone. If you work in an office environment that does everything on Windows based programs then it's not for you. However, if you're a student/home user who wants to buy a cheap yet efficient laptop to surf the web, talk to friends, do homework and watch movies we can't think of a better option.
Based on our review of the Acer CB3-431-C5FM chromebook we're really loving everything that Acer has brought to the table on this machine, from the Full HD display to the 4 GB of RAM and ultrafast WiFi. If you're in the market for a chromebook, this is an excellent way to go, especially when it's priced so competitively.