Acer is one of the best Chromebook manufacturers out there, and today it's unveiling two new machines that it wants to see enter the classroom. The Chromebooks are two different sizes — one has a 15.6-inch display and the other has an 11.6-inch display — but the standout feature here is what they have in common: both are built to be tough enough to withstand drops and general mishandling. Acer says that both Chromebooks have "reinforced covers" that are able to withstand 60kg of force as well as "reinforced" hinges that are capable of standing up to unusual twisting and stress. The corners are also said to be able to withstand nearly 1.5-foot drops without taking damage.
Acer's biggest Chromebook is a tough one
These are otherwise fairly standard Chromebooks — which is to say, they're cheap, powerful enough to browse the web, and just stylish enough to not be considered ugly. Both machines will include one of Intel's Broadwell processors, either a Core i3 or a Celeron. The larger Chromebook, called the C910, will have a 16GB or 32GB SSD and 4GB of RAM, and it'll have the option of either a 1920 x 1080 display or a 1366 x 768 display (naturally, you'll want the former — but the latter is meant to "meet the budgets of schools"). It'll be available at a base price of $299.99. The smaller Chromebook, the C740, has a 16GB SSD, either 2GB or 4GB of RAM, and will start at $259.99. They'll both be available in February.
Acer's C740 appears to look identical to the C720, seen above.
Though Acer says that the C910 is being newly announced today, it's not clear what, if any, difference there is between it and the Chromebook 15 that was announced earlier this month. At most, it looks like some variants of the 15-inch machine are headed for classrooms, while a less-expensive variant of the 15-inch machine will be marketed toward general consumers. That latter model is supposed to go on sale for just $249 — $50 cheaper than the C910. It's not clear whether the enhanced durability will be exclusive to the education model.
You may not want to pick up a Chromebook that's specifically meant for the classroom, but you probably won't be disappointed if one of these ends up in yours. Acer has consistently made some of the best Chromebooks around — we've been fans of its C720 line, in particular — so there's little reason to doubt that these new ones will be solid options. Acer says that they should have great battery life, too (eight hours for the bigger machine, and nine hours for the smaller one), which should be plenty long for laptops that need to be passed around the classroom.
Acer's C910 appears to be a variant of the Chromebook 15, seen above.