Acer ChromebookGoogle is at it again. Earlier this week, they announced the release of yet another,¬†even cheaper Chromebook. Last week, I wrote about the Samsung Chromebook and Chromebox that Google announced in October. The new offering is manufactured by Acer, and it comes in at $199… now that’s a steal.

Like other Chromebooks and the Chromebox, this netbook runs Google’s Chrome OS. So you want to make sure you understand what you’re getting into before you dive right in. But assuming you’re into the Chrome OS, how does this stack up against the other options?

Similarities Between the Samsung and Acer Chromebooks

Let’s start with some of the similarities. Both the Samsung and the Acer Chromebook have an 11.6 inch, 1366×768 pixel display. They also both have a built-in web cam (although the Acer has a higher resolution) and an HDMI out port. They’re also light-weight and thin, although the Samsung is slightly lighter and thinner. Inside, they’ve both got 2gb of RAM, as well.

They both also come with a free 2 year subscription for 100gb of storage on Google Drive. I don’t know that you’ll ever need that, but if you do that’s a $120 value ($5 / month x 24 months). Of course, the downside is once you get used to that storage you’re going to need to keep subscribing after the 2 years is up. Good marketing on Google’s part. Most people won’t use that space, and those that do will be forced to continue their subscription.

Some Significant Differences and Trade offs

There are a few differences, tho. Oddly enough, you kind of get more for less with the Acer Chromebook, even though it seems to go against the design philosophy of the Chromebook. There are a couple off pure extras – an ethernet port and a VGA port. With the ethernet port, you can physically plug into a network if there’s no wireless available. I’m not sure how often that would be the case, though. The VGA provides video output if you have a projector that doesn’t support HDMI. I’m curious now whether my LCD projector at school supports HDMI, because I don’t think I’ve ever looked…

Some other differences involve trade-offs. The Acer Chromebook has an Intel Celeron Processor, instead of the ARM processor in the Samsung Chromebook. This potentially provides more power, but it also draws more from the battery. Increased performance, but less than 4 hours of battery life. The Acer version also has a traditional, 320gb hard drive. This provides a good deal of storage, whereas the Samsung Chromebook has a 16gb solid state drive and very little internal storage. But, this also increases boot time.

Is It Worth It?

If you want a Chromebook, I’d still suggest the Samsung Chromebook. For an extra $50, you get better battery life. You have less internal storage and a slower (but does this matter) processor. I’d be interested to see some benchmark comparisons, and to actually see how much of a difference this has on performance in the Chrome OS. But you’re getting a lighter, thinner, more portable machine.

That, to me, is the essence of the Chromebook. Samsung’s Chromebook is designed from the ground up with Chrome OS and cloud computing in mind. The Acer Chromebook, on the other hand, looks like an Acer Aspire netbook with a little rebranding and a different operating system.