Google has lowered the cost of entry for touch-equipped Chromebooks with the Acer C270P, a new offering that costs $1,000 less than the powerful Pixel.
Touchscreens have pervaded our everyday computing lives. All smartphones and tablets are equipped with displays that react to taps, swipes, slides, and pinches. Moving from a tablet to a laptop can be frustrating, especially when the laptop requires users to navigate the screen with a trackpad rather than with their fingers. That's why Google introduced the Pixel Chromebook earlier this year. The uber-Chromebook strongly resembles Apple's popular MacBook Air line of portables, and includes a high-resolution touch display. It's a premium machine. The cost, however, is astronomical at $1,299. As good as the Pixel is, the cost outweighs the benefit of the touchscreen device.
Enter the Acer C270P. It is built on the same chassis as the C270, but ups the ante across the board. This low-cost Chromebook includes an 11.6-inch LED backlit display that supports 10-finger touch for tapping and swiping. The screen has 1366 x 768 pixels, which qualifies it as a high-definition screen, though it trails the Pixel's 2560 x 1700 display by a significant margin. The screen uses Intel HD Graphics with 128 MB of dedicated system memory. It offers moderate viewing angles at 145 degrees.
The C270P is powered by the Intel Celeron 2955U processor, based on the Haswell architecture, which runs at 1.4 GHz. It comes with 2 MB of L3 cache, 2 GB of DDR3L SDRAM, and 32 GB of built-in storage. It supports SD memory cards for expanded storage and offers native integration with Google's cloud-based Google Drive.
One of the Pixel's main selling points, aside from the high-resolution touchscreen, is that it comes with 1 TB of online storage. The Acer C270P does not. Instead, it offers only 100 GB of Google Drive storage.
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Connectivity options include 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0. There is no LTE model available. The C270P has one USB 3.0 port, one USB 2.0 port, one HDMI port, and a standard stereo headphone/microphone jack. There's a built-in 720p HD webcam that doubles as a VGA camera and stereo speakers. The C270P includes a full-sized Acer FineTip keyboard and a multi-gesture touchpad. The C270P has a three-cell lithium-polymer battery that Google says provides up to 7.5 hours of battery life. The laptop measures 0.78 inches thick and weighs 2.98 pounds.
The Acer C270P is available for preorder on Amazon.com. The device costs $299 and will ship in mid-December. The Amazon product page says there will be limited quantities.
If the Pixel appealed to you due to the touchscreen, the C270P offers that key feature at a much more reasonable cost. The C270P loses the Pixel's great industrial design and massive online storage, but the tradeoffs might be worth it.
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