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Acer adds 11.6 and 15.6-inch education-friendly models to Chromebook roster

Offering a choice of portability and screen real estate, the two can handle bumps and drops and yet don’t look overly muscular.

Acer C910

It’s no secret classrooms are the ideal environment for Chromebooks, those easy to master, ultra-affordable, web-centric laptops powered by Google’s Chrome OS. But so far, no one has directly addressed the students’ need for more than stylish designs.

Yes, style goes a long way with youngsters, but sans robustness, Chromebooks are little more than toys. Enter Acer’s education-focused C910 and C740, due out in February with reinforced covers and hinges. They’re not bulky though, at 4.85 and 2.9 pounds respectively, and measure under an inch in thickness, so they look like the best of both worlds.

Fitted with Intel Core i3 or Celeron members of the Broadwell processor family, the two are hardly pushovers in the raw speed department, especially when packing 4 GB RAM. To keep retail costs in check, 2 GB memory configurations will also be available, paired with 16 or 32 GB solid state drives.

Acer C740

The larger Chromebook is to accommodate HD (1,366 x 768 pixels) or Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution on a comfortable 15.6-inch piece of glass, whereas the 11.6-inch C740 shall cap off at 720p.

Battery life is rated at nine, yes, nine hours between charges on the C740, and a slightly less impressive but still awfully respectable eight hours on the C910. A wide range of connectivity options and ports will be crammed on both low-cost notebooks, including Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0 and 3.0, HDMI and an SD card reader.

The world’s first 15.6-inch Chromebook actually got an earlier introduction at CES a couple of weeks back, when Acer suggested a starting price tag of $249. Now we’re hearing $300, and $260 for the 11.6-inch C740, so there’s a good chance we’ll be seeing rugged and non-rugged versions up on store shelves next month. Either that, or Acer simply changed their minds.

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