Acer Chromebook R721T-482Z (Spin 311) 

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Chromebooks have been a Windows alternative for a while and dependant on the tasks you want to carry out can be all you need. Certainly you would not get a Windows touch panel unit for anywhere near the price of this Chromebook offering.

Acer Chromebook Spin 311 R721T
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It is 29x20x2cm and weighs 1350 grams. The viewable screen is 25.5x14.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 11.5inches. At the centre of the top above the screen is a camera.

Bootup is 14.5 seconds and by default if you shut the lid it remains live – screen off – so unless you set a password on wake up then you can be working again at the point you left it as soon as you raise the lid.

Going around the outside has the off button, blue LED, USB ‘C’, USB3, Micro SD and headset all on the left side. The front is clear. The right side has volume rocker, USB3, USB ‘C’ and Kensington lock port. The back is clear as the screen goes through 360 degrees to sit on itself (Tablet like). The back has twin speakers.

The Keyboard is 75 keys spread over five lines with the 10.5x6cm trackpad mounted centrally in front of the keyboard.

Anyone coming from a PC will notice that opening the screen turns the unit on and going as far as password entry automatically the other immediate difference is that the keyboard letters are shown lowercase as opposed to upper case on a PC.

As part of your setup you enter a google/gmail password and the home screen has five icons on the centre of the shelf, this by default is along the base of the screen but can be changed to either the left of right side should you wish.

These five icons are Chrome, Gmail, Write, You Tube and Messages. On the left edge is the ability to show all icons and on the right where you are IE GB, Wi-Fi, Battery state and Clock.

Most Chromebooks have Anti Virus software built in.

Features claimed but not tested by me include the ability to survive a drop of 122cm and the ability to withstand a weight of 60kilos on it.

The webcam is good for collaboration with an 88 degree field of vision.

The battery is stated to last a ten hour day between charges.

The processor an AMD A4 was new to me but did everything I asked without problems.

The Acer (US) site markets this as a device ideal for a school age child. I myself think there is another market with ‘silver surfers’ who want to be able to surf the web and send and receive emails with only limited other use, they do not want to worry about continually updating and other such tasks just turn on enter a single password do what they want and switch off.

There are some Apps – far more than there used to be – available but if certain tools are required check the Chrome store has them before purchase.

At the time of publication the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 is available from Amazon for £279.99.

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OverallAcer Chromebook R721T-482Z (Spin 311) rated 84 out of 100

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