Acer C720P Chromebook Review: Adding Touch to the Chromebook Experience

Chromebooks are one of the fastest growing computing categories. Small, lightweight and inexpensive these Google Chrome OS-powered notebooks have proven ideal for many users including students and small business. They’re great for home too. But what if you want the touchscreen experience that’s become a standard feature on Windows 8 Ultrabooks? You were pretty much out of luck on the Chrome side. Acer has filled that gap quite nicely with the new C720P Chromebook, an 11.6-inch device that combines the advantages of Google’s Chrome OS with a multi-touch display. It’s available now at Best Buy, but if you want a preview of what it’s capable of, I’ve spent some time putting a C720P Chromebook through the paces for a review.

Business laptops: designed for getting work done

What makes a business laptop? What a business (or a professional user) needs in a laptop is going to vary depending on who you ask and the nature of the industry they’re in, but there are some characteristics most business laptops have in common. Generally speaking, a business laptop is powerful enough to take the place of a desktop PC with a display that’s good enough to take the place of an external monitor for hours at a time. It’s able to run software such as Microsoft Office, has the storage capacity for plenty of documents, it’s durable and it has a high quality keyboard. Other factors such as a full complement of ports and connectivity options, battery life and pre-installed software like Microsoft Windows 8 Pro may also come into play. Here’s what else you need to know before deciding on a business laptop.

An Introduction to Chromebooks

There’s a lot to like about portable computers, but Google and its hardware partners like Samsung, Acer and HP found a way to offer a light weight, lower cost alternative to the traditional Windows laptop. Chromebooks are a hot category of portable computers that run Google’s Chrome OS instead of Windows or OSX. With Chrome’s lower hardware requirements and the ability to leverage Google’s cloud services, a Chromebook can offer a full-featured PC experience in a device that’s lighter and less expensive than traditional PCs, without the limitations of netbooks. They may not be ideal for everyone, but Chromebooks are designed to cover many scenarios and are particularly useful for students, road warriors, small business and those looking for light duty home PC.  

Convertible laptops

When it comes to cars, a convertible is one with a roof that protects occupants from the weather while offering a top-free ride in the summer sunshine. When it comes to PCs, convertible laptops mean something a little different. These are PCs that combine the best of two different experiences —the laptop and the tablet— in a single device. And like a convertible (the car), a convertible laptop accomplishes this trick through some clever hardware design. Convertible laptops aren’t for everyone, but if you’re a fan of mobile computing and you’d love to have a tablet along for the ride without the extra weight (and expense); or if you wish your tablet had a keyboard and trackpad, a convertible laptop may be the ideal device for you.  

Review: Sony Vaio Fit 15A Multi Flip PC

Sony’s Vaio series of PC laptops has always won points for style and design and the company has become a leader in producing Windows 8 hybrid machines —portables that combine Windows 8 PC and tablet capabilities. I’ve spent the past week trying out Sony’s latest take on the hybrid form factor. After putting it through its paces, I can assure you that the Vaio Fit 15A is one of the most useful variations yet on the tablet/notebook convertible hybrid, a real looker (especially in the black finish of the test unit) and an able performer. It’s held back a little by a few details —a loud and persistent fan, so-so keyboard, and not so stellar battery life among them— but offers a solid portable computer experience, along with tablet capability, in a single package that just happens to look pretty smashing.  

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