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Acer’s new, affordable Chromebooks are designed for remote learning

With more students studying from home as the pandemic continues to rage on, Acer isn’t slowing down either. After having announced a new Chromebook Spin 514 just last week at CES that uses partner AMD’s Ryzen mobile processor, the company is now announcing four new Chromebook models for the education market as well as a travel-friendly Windows laptop.

With its Chromebook portfolio, Acer is really diversifying its silicon support. In addition to last week’s new Ryzen-powered processors, Acer is also announcing two new clamshell models today that use a variety of ARM-based silicon. In addition to the clamshell Chromebooks, Acer is adding to its Chromebook Spin family with two new Intel-powered convertible models, all boasting durability ratings and spill-resistant keyboards making them ideally suited for the rough and tumble school day.

Powered by ARM

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Acer’s two ARM-powered Chromebooks are the Chromebook 511 and a more entry-level Chromebook 311. Both models feature a more compact 11.6-inch display with what Acer claims as military durability, but the Chromebook 311 is definitely the more affordable model. Starting at just $299, this Chrome OS-powered clamshell features a Mediatek MT8183 processor, up to 20 hours of battery life, and ratings for industrial durability and toy safety that make it more suitable for a younger academic audience. The Chromebook 311 is available starting this month.

The Chromebook 511 is the more premium model, and here you’re getting the Snapdragon 7c Compute Platform — which is also part of Qualcomm’s silicon family that supports ARM-powered Windows systems — and up to 15 hours of battery life. With a price tag that starts at $100 more, you’re also getting 4G LTE connectivity, which is great if you’re away from a Wi-Fi network. The Chromebook 511 launches in April.

Convertibles for added versatility

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Expanding on the 14-inch Chromebook convertible the company debuted at CES, Acer is now adding a new Chromebook Spin 512 and Spin 511 to the lineup. These models come with MIL-STD 810H rating with reinforced ports to protect against sand and dust. Given that these devices are targeted at younger students who may not be so careful with their tech, Acer promises that the mechanically anchored keys will be difficult to remove and are easy to replace. The keyboard is also resistant to spills, and perfect for today’s environment, an antimicrobial coating on the device’s Corning Gorilla Glass display helps keep germs away.

Like the ARM-powered model, the Acer Chromebook Spin 511 R753T makes use of a more traditional 11.6-inch display with an HD resolution and IPS screen. The Chromebook Spin 511 will be available starting at $399 when it launches in April.

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The Chromebook Spin 512 R853TA is designed for productivity, Acer claimed, with its 3:2 aspect ratio and HD+ resolution IPS screen. The antimicrobial coating on the screen of this device has been extended to cover both the keyboard touchpad and palm area on this model. The Spin 512 will start at $429 when it launches in April.

Both models come with a 360-degree hinge, an 8-megapixel camera mounted on the keyboard meant to take pictures of the world when used in tablet mode along with an HDR webcam on the display, and are powered by Intel’s N4500 and N5100 processors.

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If your child’s school relies on Microsoft’s Windows operating system, then the TravelMate Spin B3 convertible is a nice alternative to the two Chromebook Spin convertible models announced today. The TravelMate Spin B3 is powered by Intel’s new Pentium Silver processor and comes with 12 hours of battery life. Featuring a similar military-grade durability, a convertible design with touchscreen support, and antimicrobial coatings, the TravelMate swaps Chrome OS for Windows for a starting price of just $239 when it launches in April. The device also has a FHD webcam and Wi-Fi 6 support.

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Chuong Nguyen
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