The Acer Chromebook Tab 510, which Acer announced on Wednesday, is not a very attractive tablet. Let’s just get that out of the way right up front. But what this blocky, rubbery brick lacks in aesthetics, Acer’s hoping it makes up for with raw get-stuff-done ability, including a keyboard attachment, an integrated stylus, and an optional LTE connection — still an uncommon feature among Chromebooks.
The Tab 510 is a 10.1-inch slate with a 1920 x 1200 display that runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7c chipset along with up to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. None of that qualifies the $399 device for high-end status, but the 7c does have a solid reputation for battery life, and Acer seems to imagine the device more like a rugged companion you can give your kids for school or let bang around in your suitcase.
As with its other new devices this week, Acer is pitching the Tab 510 in part as a super-mobile video conferencing setup: the 510 has a 5-megapixel webcam, which is located in the center of the top bezel when it’s docked in the keyboard. (Also known as The Correct Place For A Tablet Camera.) The company says the Tab 510’s roughly one-pound body meets MIL-STD-810H durability standards, which means it can stand up to extreme heat, cold, moisture, and drops from as high as four feet. It’s also good at high altitudes, in case you need to do a Meet call from Kilimanjaro or something.
If you’re the rugged type and the mobile type, you can get the LTE version of the Tab 510 (no word yet on how much more expensive it will be) and then click it into the optional keyboard folio (no word on cost there either) for connectivity on the road. LTE Chromebooks are still pretty rare in general, and there are even fewer options for the tablet lovers out there. The Tab 510 will launch in North America in July.
But as we’ve written in the past, Chrome OS tablets often still feel like a missed opportunity. And with Google betting on Android over Chrome OS for its own tablets, the picture may not be getting rosier. Acer’s spiffy new Spin 714 is likely to be a better option for most people — unless you need your Chromebook to really handle the rough and tumble.