Acer preps a pair of durable Chromebooks for students

acer chromebook 15 cb5 571 white front up left angle start bar

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Students are often hard on their computer hardware—jamming them into backpacks as they rush to class, or throwing their school bag in the corner when they get home. To help Chromebooks stand-up to the casual punishment that students can mete out, Acer is introducing two new Chromebooks for the education market in February.

The Chromebook C740 and C910 have a number of special hardware features the company says will help the devices withstand punishment. Both laptops have reinforced covers that can endure up to 132 pounds of force, and the laptops' corners can withstand a fall of around a foot and a half. The clamshell hinges are reinforced against twisting and stress. The smaller-sized C740 also has extended metal hinges, which Acer says makes the device more rigid.

Why this matters: Chromebooks are a big hit in the education market and now Acer wants to improve its share of that market with promises of longer-lasting devices. Improving its laptop designs specifically for the education market is significant since it shows how important the Chromebook has become. The days when Chromebooks were simply half-baked versions of existing Windows laptops are waning. Acer is also paying attention to the regular consumer world too with the fancy—and large—Chromebook 15 (pictured above) announced during CES.

The specs

The smallest of the two, the C740, is similar to Acer's C720 with an 11.6-inch display and weight close to three pounds. The C740 comes with 16GB onboard storage, and either 2GB or 4GB RAM. Pricing starts at $260.

The C910, meanwhile, appears to be a more durable version of the Acer Chromebook 15. The new C910 comes with a 15.6-inch display and options for either a 1920-by-1080 IPS display or a lower-grade 1366-by-768 screen, just like the Chromebook 15. This higher-end Chromebook also comes with two storage options at 16GB and 32GB, and 4GB RAM. The base model price will be $300.

Both devices are packing 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, SD card reader, and HDMI out. As for processors, Acer is offering the dual-core 1.5GHz Intel Celeron 3205U, or the dual-core 2GHz Intel Core i3-5005U (Broadwell).

The company says the new Chromebooks will be available through Acer authorized retailers next month.

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