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Acer’s new Chromebooks for students are affordable, durable, easy on the environment, and easy to use.
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Acer’s new Chromebooks for students are affordable, durable, easy on the environment, and easy to use.

Acer's new student Chromebooks are affordable, durable, and easy on the environment

Two of them are expected to be available in the coming weeks


Wherever you or your kids go to school — even if it’s not at school — there’s always an opportunity to get in gear for a new season of learning. Acer hopes you, or more importantly, your local IT department, use the four new Chromebooks that are built to withstand the toughest shocks and most challenging messes.

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The Chromebook Spin 311 runs on a MediaTek MT8183 chipset. This is an old favorite from the past few years. It’s also got 4GB of RAM, an 11.6″ IPS touch display at 768p which can pivot a full 360° on its hinge, a webcam, a USB-C port, a USB 2.0 Type-A port, stereo speakers, and an advertised battery life of up to 15 hours. There are two models available: R722T includes modems for WiFi 5 and Bluetooth, while R723T supports WiFi 6 and Bluetooth. Data storage is limited to 32GB or 64GB, with no microSD card slot. The Spin 311 will be available for purchase starting at $400 in March.

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Acer also offers Intel products with the Chromebook 511/C734T (left) and 512(right). The 511 comes with a Celeron dual core N4500 or quad-core n5100, while the 512 has a Pentium S N6000. The Spin 311 has a similar display to the 511, though touch capacitance can be added. The 512 switches to a 12-inch, 3:2 display. However, the pixel density of the 512 is approximately the same as that of the 511. Both come with webcams, filtered by a refined noise reduction technology and a glare-cutting lenses, 12-hour batteries as well as two USB Type-C ports and two USB Type-A ports. They also support Bluetooth 5.1 and WiFi 6. The good news is that you can expand the 32GB and 64GB internal storage via microSD card. The Chromebook 511 should be on sale within the next week, while the 512 will be available in inventories beginning next month. Both are selling for $350 or more.


The Chromebook 314 (C934/C934T) is the most expensive option in the batch. It has a sleeker design with 8mm bezels on the 14″ 1080p display, DTS Audio certification, and an extra 128GB memory option but otherwise very much follows the Chromebook 512 spec sheet… well, except for the battery — it’s billed to last 10 hours. The second half of the calendar year will see sales starting at $430.

These laptops lack looks, but they have talent: All have been tested up against MIL-STD-810 standards. They can withstand drops of over 4 feet, pressures up 60kg, and inundation by sand or dust. The keyboards also feature drainage paths in case of spills and — on the Spin 311, 511, and 512 — have mechanically anchored keys that are touted to be kid-proof. The ports are also reinforced against wear and tear. The same three devices feature post-consumer-recycled plastics in their construction and all four feature touchpads that are made of ocean-bound plastic.

Although durability and earth-friendliness may seem like diametrically opposite concepts, they seem to co-exist well with cost-consciousness.

Fleet managers will have the opportunity to upgrade to Chrome OS For Education and enable zero-touch enrollment.

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