As a dedicated travel computer, I really like Acer’s new Chromebook. It’s great for so many things and so many users, but how’s it stack up against the MacBook Air? Let’s look.
Things that are the same.
Both the Acer C720 Chromebook and the Apple MacBook Air are laptop computers — you fold them open, type on a keyboard, that sort of thing. They both have trackpads. They both have 11″ screens with a resolution of 1,366×768. They both have webcams. They both have solid state hard drives. They both have USB ports. They’re both light (2.4 lbs. for the Apple, 2.8 lbs. for the Acer) while lasting a long time on a single charge (8-9 hours), so they’re both very portable. They both connect to the internet via WiFi. They both support Bluetooth. They both allow you to check your emails, waste time of Facebook, shop on Amazon. They are very similar in many, many ways. But they’re also different.
Things that favor the Apple.
Apple’s MacBook is better in a lot of ways regarding the quality of the components used. Its screen is higher-quality. Its webcam is higher-quality. Its hard drive is bigger. Its trackpad is nicer. It’s made out of aluminum instead of plastic.
It also runs OS X, a “real” operating system that runs full-on desktop applications, so you get to buy those and keep them up-to-date. Yay. The Acer, however, has a few strengths of its own.
Things that favor the Acer.
The Acer comes with an SD card reader unlike the 11″ MacBook model (it’s only available on the 13″ model). It also has a real HDMI port, so you don’t need a special dongle. Because it runs Chrome OS, it boots very, very fast and is very easy to share. Want to lend somebody your computer? Log out, let them log into their Google account. They’ll see their own Gmail, their own bookmarks, their own everything — and nothing of yours. That’s wonderful.
But the big strength is its cost. The Acer is 80% cheaper. It costs 1/5 as much as the MacBook Air. You could buy 5 for the same price as the cheapest MacBook model available. Five of them. That’s amazing.
So the question isn’t which one is better, it’s which one is better for you? Does the $200 Chromebook do everything you need? It probably does, and, if not, it probably does 99% of what you need. What’s that extra 1% worth?