Yesterday my Acer Chromebook R13 arrived and I immediately put it to use.
The first impression was incredible. It reminds me of a Macbook Air (although edgier when folded). The R13 looks like a unibody aluminium laptop, even though only the brushed metal cover is actually made of aluminium. For a sub-500$ laptop this thing is gorgeous!
I had read up on everything that was out there about the R13, including of course the discussion about its hinge. My take on that, after using it for 24 hours: It does wobble, but not noticeably. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have noticed had the not every single review mentioned the hinge. When working with the Chromebook, it does not bother me in any way. As a matter of fact, my girlfriend’s Samsung Ultrabook shakes just as much, which was never an issue for her in two years of using it.
The usability of this thing is amazing. I had researched some useful extensions and apps before while waiting for this beauty to arrive. My favourite ones: Kami – I use it to comment on PDF files. Office Online – primarily for OneNote. Even Skype video chats are available through Office Online! And of course Spotify.
The performance is good. Since the main task for the processor is opening and refreshing Chrome browser tabs, I encountered no lag whatsoever. Watching Youtube in 1080p is a delight that I had not experienced before. However, in my case, the internet connection rather than the hardware is the limiting factor in this regard.
Working offline is possible, however, it needs to be set up in advance and with a working internet connection. A simple solution when WLAN is missing: create a hotspot with your smartphone. But keep in mind: this device is basically a Chrome web browser with a laptop body built around it (unless you take into account its capability to run Android apps) – so internet access is essential in order to make maximum use of the R13.
Speaking of Android, I haven’t looked into any of this as of yet. However, the touchscreen seems very responsive and precise. I find myself navigating through things with my fingers instead of simply using the touchpad. Fingerprints all over the screen are the results – a cleaning cloth is certainly needed to keep it neat and clean.
Finally, the battery is insane. I am coming from a heavy Acer laptop with gaming capabilities. Of course, all the hardware consumed loads of battery. Now the R13 doesn’t have all that stuff and therefore needs less juice – resulting in 10+ hours of battery life! I had brightness rather low for most of the time but turned it up to watch a 2h+ movie (in tent mode) and it didn’t quit on me! In the end, it ran a solid 11 hours and had 15% left.
In conclusion, the R13 is a well built, beautiful and fast device. It does seamlessly what it is designed for. Having used Windows all my life, I will update this blog continually and add my impression after using the R13 (and Chrome OS) for some time.
Some Reviews on the Acer Chromebook R13: