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Circuit Breaker

Acer improves its school Chromebook with ‘military grade’ durability

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Designed with students and teachers in mind

Acer

Computing doesn’t get much more utilitarian than the Chromebook. And Acer’s latest model, geared for a school setting and starting at $229.99, takes that to heart by sprucing up the low-cost laptop in the durability department.

The Chromebook 11 N7, announced today at CES, is Acer’s toughest Google-powered notebook. It features a drop tolerant design, spill-resistant keyboard, and reinforced case and hinges. It can withstand falls from up to four feet and downward pressure of 132 pounds on its top cover. The company says these factors mean the device meets the US MIL-STD-810 standard, a specification for military-grade devices. That’s a pretty empty marketing perk that doesn’t mean much to everyday consumers. Just know that the device is sturdier than your average laptop, but it’s certainly not a battle-proof device you’d find on the front lines of a Hollywood film.

With the N7, Acer is targeting students and teachers. In that vein, the Chromebook’s durability perks and battery life — this model lasts up to 12 hours, Acer says — make it fit for the wear and tear of school scenarios. It’s also only 2.98 pounds and 0.87 inches thick. Acer says this model, like others in its Chromebook 11 series, will receive support for Android apps, part of a multi-stage release process after Google announced the feature at its I/O conference in May of last year.

In the specs department, the notebook is understandably no-frills. It comes with an Intel Celeron dual-core processor, 4GB of RAM, and either 16GB or 32GB of internal storage. There are two different models available, one with a 11.6-inch touchscreen and another with a standard, non-touch display. Acer will start selling the device later this month in North America, and then in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia starting in February.