Hey, bear in mind Chromebooks? These ultra-cheap laptops that run a stripped-down working system constructed on Google’s Chrome net browser? You recognize, the one your child had to make use of for Zoom faculty and all that “asynchronous studying” throughout the pandemic?
Properly, Chromebooks are again, and so they’re higher than ever. This month, Google rolled out an enormous improve known as Chromebook Plus, an umbrella class for a brand new class of units from varied producers (together with Google itself). The large promote is pace: New Chromebook Plus laptops promise double the efficiency over “high promoting Chromebooks from July 2022 to Dec 2022,” because of quicker processors, extra reminiscence, extra storage, and even higher video cameras—all whereas holding beginning costs on the $400 stage.
My first encounter with a Chromebook Plus was this Acer 515 mannequin, which is constructed round a 15.6-inch (nontouch) show. The Twelfth-generation 3.85-GHz Intel Core i3-1215U processor is certainly a formidable leap over Chromebooks from the earlier era, although the 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of flash storage on this entry-level configuration have been obtainable on Chromebooks for years. Naturally, you should buy higher-end fashions with extra of every little thing, although upgrading type of defeats the aim of shopping for a Chromebook. Connectivity choices are par for the course, together with two USB-C ports (with DisplayPort supported), one USB-A port, and an HDMI 1.4 output jack.
The increase in efficiency is palpable from the get-go. In case you’ve ever used a price range Chromebook, you’ve in all probability groaned at how ploddingly gradual it’s on menial duties. Even this minimal configuration is vastly quicker than something that’s come earlier than—not less than twice as quick as older (and costlier) fashions I’ve examined and sometimes three or 4 instances quicker. Battery life hasn’t suffered, with a strong 8.5 hours of full-screen video playback time.
In the meantime, new apps borrowed from Google’s Pixel universe are included to present the system extra oomph, together with the Magic Eraser photo-editing characteristic, choices for backup and sync to Google Drive, dynamic wallpapers, a snazzy video editor, and enhanced video digicam controls.
All of that was going nice till my second day of testing, when the Acer Chromebook Plus 515 up and died on me—utterly. I closed the lid and plugged it in to cost. Once I reopened the laptop computer later, nothing occurred, and the system would now not boot. Troubleshooting with Acer’s engineering group did not revive the pc and the corporate needed to ship a substitute unit. To date, so good with the brand new one.