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In Challenge to Intel, Nvidia Busts Out in Chromebook

But with all of that, now this: Acer has just delivered the first Nvidia-based Chromebook, and it's a beauty. It comes in a few different versions, with 2 gig of RAM or 4 gig of RAM -- and with 768x1366 or 1080x1920 displays.

The one I tested had the 1080x1920 display. As far as I can remember, it's only the second Chromebook to have it. The other is a Samsung, but that's based on the slower Samsung CPU; I haven't had a chance to test that one yet.

The 1080x1920 resolution presents a bit of a problem for people with less than flawless eyesight, because the text becomes too small. You have to blow up the text by something like 50% for it to be acceptable next to other Chromebooks.

The display itself is also a bit dim, just as most of these less expensive Chromebooks are, including the Asus I tested a few weeks ago. I put them largely on par with each other, other than the resolution.

Here are the other two major advantages of the Nvidia-based Acer Chromebooks:

  1. Battery life is 11 hours (1080x1920 display) and 13 hours (768x1366 display). I don't think that any of the other 13-inch Chromebooks exceed those numbers.
  2. It is fanless, and so it's quiet, literally cool and presumably also durable over time. Most smartphones and tablets are fanless.

From a performance standpoint, the Acer 13 inch Chromebook felt similar to the Asus 13-inch Chromebook. The noticeable difference was the screen resolution, in Acer's favor of course.

The Nvidia-based Acer 13-inch Chromebook comes in three versions:

  1. 768x1366 resolution, 2 gig RAM, 16 gig SSD: $280.
  2. 1080x1920 resolution, 2 gig RAM, 16 gig SSD: $300.
  3. 1080x1920 resolution, 4 gig RAM, 32 gig SSD: $380.

This means that on a seeming apples-to-apples basis, the Acer costs $50 more than the Asus 13-inch Chromebook ($280 versus $230) for the base model with the lower standard resolution. Seeing as I found them to be about equal, one probably has to recommend the Asus, although it's a close call, especially given the small absolute amount.

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