The Acer Chromebook 11 N7 has an 11.6-inch screen and is fortified with layers of protection to withstand drops. Acer has been so meticulous in ruggedizing the laptop that it’s even difficult to remove key caps from the keyboard whether by accident or on purpose. Why did Acer construct such a Chromebook it’s targeted at educational institutions that issue laptops to students, who may be clumsy with PCs. The Chromebook 11 N7 is certainly more durable than the iPad, which has been given to students and can crack easily if mishandled.
The laptop will ship in North America this month starting at US$229.99. It will ship in Europe, Middle East and Africa next month starting at €299 (US$315).
Acer Chromebook 11 N7 c731T Features
The durability and design features of the Chromebook 11 N7 (C731) ensure maximum uptime and contribute to reduced IT maintenance. The device endured rigorous testing to meet the demanding U.S. MIL-STD 810G military standard3. This military specification testing validates the ruggedness, durability and quality of the Chromebook 11 N7 (C731), so that student learning can take place in a variety of environments.
The Acer Chromebook 11 N7 (C731) can handle up to 132 pounds (60kg) of downward force on the top cover, while the reinforced case and hinges result in greater resistance to twisting and stress, even if students cram them into their backpacks. In addition, the corner-shield structure and rubber bumper keyboard surround further protect the Chromebook, so it can tolerate drops from heights up to 48 inches (122cm). These features ensure the Chromebook will be protected whether it takes a tumble while being transported or is accidentally knocked off a desk. The anti-slip pattern on the rear case makes it easy to grip and helps prevent it from slipping out of students’ hands.
The Acer Chromebook 11 N7 (C731) has a spill-resistant keyboard that provides protection against spills of up to 11 fluid ounces (330ml) of water. The unique gutter system under the keyboard and touchpad drains water so that it’s routed away from internal components and out the bottom of the chassis.
A new feature to the Chromebook 11 N7 (C731) is the keyboard design with recessed keys that prevent the key caps from being easily removed by students. In addition, the keyboard was designed for an excellent typing experience for students, many of whom are still learning keyboarding skills.
The Acer Chromebook 11 N7 (C731) has a fan-less design that provides cool and quiet operation, so it doesn’t add noise, even to a whole classroom of students. Also, reliability is boosted since it doesn’t require venting that may cause airflow issues and dust accumulation.
School administrators can meet their curriculum and budget requirements with different models of the Chromebook 11 N7. The Acer C731T has an 11.6-inch IPS touch screen display, while the C731 has a standard non-touch display. Touch models allow students a heightened level of engagement, since any webpage or app can benefit from touch gestures in both solo and group settings. The display has a 1366×768 resolution that ensures sharp and legible apps and text as well as vivid, clear videos and photos. Also, the Acer Chromebook 11 N7 (C731)’s hinge is designed to open up to 180 degrees so it can lay flat on a table for sharing during certain lessons such as labs.
The slim and portable form factor makes the Acer Chromebook 11 N7 (C731) ideal for use anywhere at home, school, work and on-the-go. It measures only 0.87 inches (22mm) thin and weighs only 2.98 pounds (1.35kg).
The Chromebook 11 N7 (C731) will provide additional capabilities thanks to planned support for Android apps via the Google play Store in the coming months.
The Chromebook 11 N7 is built to survive the chaos of the classroom. The notebook passed eight MIL-SPEC tests meaning it meets the same standards as U.S. military equipment. That means the system should be able to withstand extremely hot and cold temperatures (from minus 20.2 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit), shocks and blasts of dust.
Not only is the Chromebook 11 N7 built to survive drops from 48 inches (higher than most school desks), but its keyboard is designed with a gutter system that can drain out spills of up to 11 ounces of water (and lesser amounts for other liquids). When we tested its durability, it survived both a glass of water spilled onto the keyboard and a drop from 48 inches. In each case, the system turned on and worked properly, though it picked up some light scuffs after the drops.
4. Keyboard, Touch Screen, Touchpad
The Acer Chromebook 11 N7’s keyboard, touch screen and touchpad offer solid productivity. When I tested the keyboard on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, I clicked my way to 75 words per minute, a mark that’s not far from my 80 wpm average. This is possible thanks in part to the 1.4 millimeters of key travel, which require 58 grams of actuation force to press. Those measurements are close to the 1.5 to 2mm of key travel and 60g of actuation we hoped to find.
The notebook’s 4.1 x 2.4-inch button less touchpad smoothly accepted two-finger scrolling gestures, as well as three-finger tab navigation.
Just like a classroom full of excited kids, the Chromebook 11 N7’s speakers can get pretty loud. However, the audio isn’t always the clearest. When I listened to Radiohead’s “Burn the Witch,” the vocals were clear and accompanied by sweet-sounding violin strings, however, the overemphasized bass introduced muddiness into the track.
Armed with a 1.6-GHz Intel Celeron N3060 CPU and 4GB of RAM, the Acer Chromebook 11 N7 is good for focused learning, but lacks multitasking oomph. It moved speedily when I had eight Chrome tabs (including a streaming YouTube video and a Google Doc) open, but adding any more sites introduced stutter. That’s similar to what we saw in the Dell and Asus Chromebooks.
The N7 features a dual-core Intel Celeron N3060 processor, 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM and 16 or 32GB of on-board storage. Intel’s N3060 chip is a little old at this point, which is something worth taking into account if you value speedy performance. It also comes with a 4,090mAh battery, which Acer says will be able to get you 12 hours of use on a single charge.
The Acer Chromebook 11 N7 displayed 2,000 fish at a stuttering 25 frames per second on the WebGL Aquarium graphics test. That rate is just beneath those posted by the Dell Chromebook 11 (28 fps) and the Asus Chromebook C202 (27 fps).
7. Battery life
The Chromebook 11 N7 C731T can make it through the school day with juice to spare for getting homework done. It lasted 10 hours and 35 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test (continuous Wi-Fi surfing at 100 nits), outlasting the Dell Chromebook 11 (10:09) and the Asus Chromebook C202 (8:23), as well as the ultraportable average (8:10).
The Acer Chromebook 0.9-megapixel webcam captures decent color, but little detail. A selfie I snapped in our office accurately captured the blues in my shirts and the red of the wall behind me. But like most built-in webcams, the image featured a grainy texture that paves over small details, such as my stubble and the tortoise-shell pattern in my glasses.
9. Heat: Best on Desks
Students might prefer to use the Acer Chromebook 11 N7 on a desk, as its bottom gets hot during use. After we streamed 15 minutes of HD video on the notebook, its underside struck a fever of 103 degrees Fahrenheit, exceeding our 95-degree threshold for comfort. Its touchpad and G & H keys stayed cool at 79 and 87 degrees, respectively.
10. Configuration options
The entry-level Acer Chromebook 11 N7 (model no. C731) costs $229 and features a Celeron N3060 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 16GB eMMC hard drive and a 1366 x 768-pixel display. The C731T test unit we reviewed has a touch screen and sells for $279.
11. Bottom Line
The Acer Chromebook 11 N7 earns high marks for its excellent battery life and durable frame. Unfortunately, its screen is on the dim side and the undercarriage gets a little toasty.
School districts and families on tighter budgets can get the Asus Chromebook C202 for $194, though they’ll lose out on using Android apps since it lacks a touch screen. Schools looking for Chromebooks that teachers won’t need to worry about charging often or replacing due to damages should definitely consider the 11 N7
Acer Chromebook Review
The Chromebooks tend to be the laptop du jour for schools, which is why they need to be very durable to withstand the rigors of education. Enter the $279 Acer 11 N7 C731T, which meets eight different military standards of toughness. The system also offers excellent battery life and a touch-screen display in preparation for upcoming Android apps compatibility. The notebook doesn’t get straight A’s, though, as its keys aren’t as pry-proof as claimed and the display is on the dim side. Still, the 11 N7 C731T is worth considering, as it solves most of the problems the classroom throws at it.
Acer Chromebook 11 N7 c731T Specifications
|Model||Chromebook 11 N7 c731T|
|Dimensions||11.72 in. x 0.87 in. x0.87 in|
|Operating System||Google chrome|
|Display Features||11.6 inch TFT LCD|
|Resolution||1366 x 768 pixel|
|Pixel Density||135 PPI|
|Size (in inches)||11.6 inches|
|Processor||Intel Celeron N3060|
|Graphic Processor||Intel HD|
|RAM type||DDR3 SDRAM|
|HDD Capacity||16 GB|
|Audio Solution||Dolby Advance Audio|
|Speakers||2 X Stereo Speakers with built Microphone|
|Battery sell||2 sell|
|Wi-Fi Model||Intel Dual Band Wireless AC, 802.11ac 2×2|
|Ports (excluding USB)||HDMI|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Headphone|
|Ports (excluding USB)||USB 3.0|
|Card Slots||SD memory reader|