It seems we're not through with new Chromebooks yet. Google's tagline for their lightweight PC operating system initiative is "Chromebooks for Everyone," and to that end they are racing to the bottom when it comes to price. The latest new Chromebook, comes from longtime Chrome OS partner Acer, and is dubbed the C7. Where the latest Samsung Chromebook is notable for its ARM architecture, the Acer C7 is a much more traditional choice, whose primary goal was containing costs. But when low cost is the target, sacrifices are made. 


Firstly, the comparison point for this device shouldn't necessarily be its immediate competition, the new Samsung Chromebook, but rather that notebook's immediate predecessor the Samsung Series 5 550. This was the flagship for the last generation of Chromebooks and was notable for its Intel Core-based Celeron 867 processor, 4GB of RAM and capable 16GB NAND storage. The improvement in performance over prior Chromebooks was palpable because of the increased CPU and GPU performance. The Acer C7 is, generally, a step back in all specifications. The processor is the slightly slower Celeron 847, the RAM drops to 2GB and the NAND storage is omitted in favor of a traditional mechanical drive. The 320GB mechanical drive is the biggest concession to cost savings, as it makes almost no sense for an OS so clearly focused on the cloud. It also likely contributes to the battery life penalty this iteration takes; a paltry 3.5 hours, hardly a road warrior then. And if this looks at all familiar, it's because you previously came across the Acer Aspire One AO756-2641. That Windows 8 netbook matches the C7 down to the design and the sub-4 hour battery life.

But the reward for all these concessions? A price of just $199, less than half what Samsung's Series 5 550 goes for still, and slightly more than $100 below the Windows iteration. The price includes 100GB of Google Drive for two years, and 12 GoGo inflight WiFi sessions, and is surely the cheapest way to a Core-based system, even if it is a Celeron. One thing is clear, no matter the market, Google intends to compete if not dominate on price. And if that means better gear at lower prices, there's little room for us to complain. 

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  • Articuno - Monday, November 12, 2012 - link

    $199 would be a great price if it had even 16 GB of NAND, and that way Google could help subsidize it with further Google Drive subscriptions past the one year mark. But with a mechanical drive, I wouldn't pay one dollar for this.
  • pixelstuff - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    Agreed. Mechanical hard drive and the low battery life. I wish they would shift back to the 8+ hours minimum, even if it cost a little more. The last three Chromebooks haven't reached this kind of battery life.
  • SM123456 - Saturday, November 17, 2012 - link

    I don't think any of the Chromebook device hardwate are being subsidised - it would not make sense if they leave a developer switch in place.

    The Go passes and free 100GB storage are subsidied for Google services - you will need a Google account to access them.
  • xTRICKYxx - Monday, November 12, 2012 - link

    Why did Acer include a 320GB HDD? My only guess is they have a huge leftover of cheap, slow 320GB HDD's and would rather use leftover supply than a tiny SSD.

    But this contradicts Google's message to the cloud.
  • SM123456 - Saturday, November 17, 2012 - link

    I think they have a huge leftover pile of Windows netbooks and budget laptops, not just hard drives.
  • Conficio - Monday, November 12, 2012 - link

    I'd guess that MS does not charge $100 for the OS. That begs the questions:

    Does the MS version come with lots of bloat ware that makes it worthwhile for Acer?

    Does google subsidize the hardware?

    Or is it that the MS version is also offered in off lien stores and so has to keep price parity </speculation>?

    My name is George and I'm curious.
  • SleepyFE - Monday, November 12, 2012 - link

    Well you should look at some laptops (similar specs, compare with and without Windows) in online stores, and how much Windows cost.
    Bottom line: they do charge 100$ for Windows.
  • Taft12 - Monday, November 12, 2012 - link

    Well, Acer doesn't pay MS $100 for Windows. That should make it very clear Acer would rather you bought the laptop with Windows on it for $100 more!!
  • Romberry - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    OEM's like Acer don't pay anything even close to 100 dollars for each copy of Windows they ship. It's way lower than that. Way lower.
  • Spivonious - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - link

    I've read that the bigger OEMs pay about $20-$30 for a Windows license.

    It's $100 more because Acer knows the market for a Windows netbook is much bigger than that for a Chromebook.

    And 100GB of GoogleDrive for two years? After that you're stuck paying Google just to keep your stuff. MS doesn't give you nearly as much with Skydrive (7GB for new users, 25GB for grandfathered users) but at least it's free forever.

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