It turns out that Acer had more than one new Chromebook up its sleeve.
In addition to the $200 C7 Chromebook that the company announced in November, Acer has added a $300 model to its website. The C710-2605 Chromebook, first spotted by Slashgear, comes with double the RAM, a roomier hard drive, and a bigger battery.
At 4GB, Acer's $300 Chromebook now has the same amount of RAM as Samsung's Series 5 550, which sells for $150 more. The extra memory is a must-have if you're the type of web user who keeps a lot of tabs open.
Acer promises six hours of battery life per charge for its more expensive Chromebook, which has a 6-cell, 5000 mAh battery instead of a 4-cell, 2500 mAh battery. Again, that puts it on par with Samsung's Chromebooks, which hover around the six-hour mark.
As for storage, Acer has opted for hard drives rather than zippier solid state storage in its Chromebooks. The $300 model has a 500GB hard drive, compared to 320GB in the $200 version.
Other specs are the same in both machines, with an 11.6-inch (1366-pixel by768-pixel) display, a 1.1 GHz Intel Celeron processor, 3 USB ports, an SD card slot, HDMI and VGA outputs, and an ethernet port. Acer hasn't listed the size and weight of its more expensive Chromebook, but its larger battery may add bulk compared to the cheaper model, which weighs 3 pounds and measures 1.1 inches thick.
Why buy one?
I recently purchased a Samsung Series 5 550 for personal use, after trying Samsung's cheaper ARM-based model and finding that its performance didn't meet my needs. For the price, it's a remarkably solid laptop, with an excellent keyboard, roomy trackpad, and slim design. Though I could have spent a little more for a Windows machine with comparable specs, it's hard to find PCs in the same price range that match the build quality and nimble performance in the Series 5 550 Chromebook.
Although I haven't tried Acer's Chromebooks, the same idea holds true: To get a Windows machine with comparable specs to the new C7, you'll have to spend $60 to $100 more. If all you're only using it as a secondary machine to browse the web, why spend the extra money?
I do think Acer's approach of using hard disc drives instead of solid state somewhat defeats the purpose of the Chromebook, which is to get you on the web as quickly as possible. Although it does make for a more viable primary laptop that can store all your photos, videos, and music, I'm not sure how many people would turn to a Chromebook for that purpose. The extra storage may just be a security blanket for users who can't fathom the idea of not storing their content locally.