Acer’s $399 C720 Chromebook reviewed

With this technology on board, we noticed little to no speed issues in this machine, even as we pushed the concurrently running app-tabs past the ten to twelve mark where Chromebooks normally start to lag and stutter.

Interactive apps performed well, too, including the “Build with LEGO” app, an architectural app made for Google’s Chrome, and even a few of the games built for the platform.

All up, a decent performance, and that seemed to extend to the available battery life, too, with the Acer C720 doing better than the Google-collaborated HP Chromebook 11, which managed to score a life of around four hours. Acer offers just a little more, pulling in a little over six hours in our tests, which isn’t bad at all.

Unlike the HP Chromebook, you can’t use microUSB to charge this laptop up, and will instead have to rely on a laptop charger, but that’s not really a problem for most people at all.

There is also more in the way of expansion for the computer here, something we’re glad stayed over from the previous model. With only 16GB of solid-state storage here, the inclusion of one USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, and an SD card slot will make a big difference to those who need an extra boost of space.

Acer has also made the keyboard so much better, with less flex on the plastic underneath and a solid click with every key. It’s actually a similar experience to what HP managed on its Chromebook that it makes us wonder if Google actually has come up with a keyboard that all Chromebook manufacturers need to follow.

Seriously, there’s no extra flex in the keyboard, and you don’t need to type particularly hard to make the keyboard work for you, rather than the other way around. We typed this review on the keyboard, and would happily type several more articles on it.

Adding to this is the key spacing, which is well designed, for either left or right handed individuals. Normally, lefties rely on the right shift key, which in a lot of smaller keyboards is very small, making it more likely that you’ll need to press a different button. In the Acer C720 (and the HP Chromebook), the Google keyboard offers long shift keys for both sides, making the sizing and spacing that much more even across the different users out there.

Just like the HP, there’s a power button above the backspace. It’s not likely to pose as much of a problem as you’d expect, though, as you need to hold the power button down to get the computer to log off or shut down.

And that is the Acer C720, a decent performer reliant on Google’s Chrome browser-based operating system.

But it’s not totally perfect, and we were spoiled a little bit with the screen on the Chromebook we checked out before this, the HP Chomebook 11.

It’s a different experience from the bright and dynamic In-Plane Switching screen from that computer compared to what you get on the Acer C720, where you’re forced back to a matte display with mediocre colour recreation and terrible angles.

You know those computers where you have to position yourself and the screen to be in the same field of view? That’s what Acer has provided here, and it’s not as clear or vibrant as you might expect it to be.

A shame, too, because the matt finish screen appears to be impervious to reflections, even though the glossy black frame surrounding the screen certainly shows them in spades.

The mouse could also do with some work, the wide trackpad sitting slightly off from where the spacebar is providing an ok experience, but one with only the bare minimum of gestures and some stick mouse scrolling that doesn’t necessarily perform at the speed your fingers are scrolling at.

If you can get over the screen's angle issues, the Acer C720 is a great Chromebook.


It may not be as pretty as HP’s Chromebook with its glossy white plastic surrounding a magnesium chassis, but Acer has made a better machine with excellent performance and more solid battery life.

Beyond the battery, there’s room to move with expansion ports aplenty here, and this helps to make the Acer C720 a standout Chromebook, and among the best we’ve seen. Next time, we’d like to see the screen improved dramatically, a move that would likely perfect the equation.

Ultimately, if you’re in the market for a Chromebook, you’ll want to try the Acer C720 immediately, because with the performance, typing experience, and battery life on offer, it’s easily one of the best Chromebooks out there. Highly recommended.

Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
USB ports cover both USB 3.0 and 2.0; HDMI included; SD card slot provided; Excellent keyboard; Decent battery life;
Mouse is a touch sticky and slow; Screen has terrible viewing angles; Plastic casing can feel a bit cheap;