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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

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A featherweight computer with a heavyweight punch
AFP
August 12, 2014
First Published: 10:01 IST(12/8/2014)
Last Updated: 10:21 IST(12/8/2014)
The Acer Chromebook 13. Photo: AFP

The newest addition to Acer's Chromebook range, simply called the Chromebook 13, offers an incredible 13-hour battery life and is just 18mm thick yet it can render and output 4K ultra-high-definition content.

And that's because the little laptop, launched on Monday, is the first to use an Nvidia Tegra K1 processor. Chromebooks might still be niche products within the PC landscape but the computers, which run Google's Chrome OS and run a host of web-based apps rather than software installed directly on the computer's hard disk, are starting to make a name for themselves, especially within education.

Earlier this month, The Atlantic noted how a host of US schools, which had initially invested in iPads as technological educational aids for their students, were now ditching the tablets in favor for Chromebooks.

This is because as well as being cheaper, Chromebooks offer a full-size keyboard and, thanks to Google's suite of educational apps and features such as Google Drive, they make sharing and collaboration simple.

However, it's not just in education where people are starting to take note. The fact that all of the programs and apps for Chromebooks are online and need to be accessed via a web connection means that they are essentially malware- and virus-free and are always up to date.

It also means that you can pay for what you use, when you need to use it. Why spend hundreds of dollars on a copy of Photoshop that you're only going to use a few times a year when you can simply access it online when you need it most?

And, because there is barely anything installed on the computers themselves, they are very, very fast: the Chromebook 13, for instance, can boot up in eight seconds.
But as well as being fast, they're affordable. The Chromebook 13 starts at $279.99 with a 16GB hard drive and a 720p HD display but can also be specified with a 32GB hard disk and with a full 1080p HD display.

The amount of power that the new Nvidia chip brings might seem a little excessive for a Chromebook, but as Nvidia points out, as Chromebooks become more popular, their potential uses will expand beyond word processing and web surfing and on to things likd video editing, 3D rendering and gaming.

Available to reserve now, the Acer Chromebook 13 will ship in the US in September, just in time for the start of the school year. Acer also plans to launch the computer in Europe and South Africa later in 2014.


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