Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sat 15th Feb 2014 22:02 UTC
Google When my 3+ year old DELL laptop died a few weeks back, I decided to give Chromebooks a try. So the Acer C720, at just $199, became my new laptop. This is my experience with it so far.

The Acer C720 is similar in specs to other Chromebooks currently on the market. It's a Haswell architecture with a dual core Celeron, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB flash, HDMI-out, 3 USB, webcam, Bluetooth, and a 1366x768 px screen. It's 0.8" tall, and weighs just 2.76 lbs. Its battery life is rated for 8.5 hours but in real world usage rated at about 7 hours. You can view its specs in detail here.

The laptop feels very light, sturdy and of a good build quality. Its keyboard is easy to get accustomed to, and I had no trouble at all, coming from a radically different keyboard design on the DELL. The ChromeOS function keys are really handy too, e.g. to change brightness, volume etc. The touchpad has the right size, position and responsiveness too.

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RE: Great Linux machines
by Eugenia on Sun 16th Feb 2014 01:02 UTC in reply to "Great Linux machines"
Eugenia
Member since:
2005-06-28

This is not possible on the C720, the model reviewed, or any other model currently sold by Google. This was one of my problems with the current models (they're ALL low RAM/HDD). Your discontinued model, the C710, has a 320 GB of HDD, which allows for Ubuntu. The C720 only has 16 GB of flash, and the C720P has only 32 GB of flash, which makes Ubuntu problematic. Your model can be found only on overstock sites now, for over $100 over its original price.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Great Linux machines
by Wondercool on Sun 16th Feb 2014 01:23 in reply to "RE: Great Linux machines"
Wondercool Member since:
2005-07-08

Actually, apparently on the later models it seems to be easier to install Linux because Google now support an easier boot mode, I don't know the technical details but the link is here:

http://chromeos-cr48.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/chrubuntu-for-new-chrom...

The RAM is soldered onto the motherboard and can't be replaced. I use 2GB on my C710 and never have any problem, but I can understand some use cases might not work. Maybe buy the 4GB version and create a swapfile.

But the good news is that the SSD can be replaced too.
See:

http://www.androidcentral.com/how-upgrade-ssd-your-acer-c720-chrome...

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Great Linux machines
by Eugenia on Sun 16th Feb 2014 01:53 in reply to "RE[2]: Great Linux machines"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

Replacing an SSD and adding more RAM by opening the laptop manually is not what most people who buy Chromebooks want to do. My point is that currently, the models offered by Google are *almost* all the same, and I find this very limiting: 11.6" screens with the same res, 16 GB SSD, 2 GB RAM for all sub-$250 laptops. There's no actual choice.

Personally, I could upgrade them, but I refuse to do so. I've left that world of tinkering years ago. Now, something that I buy, either works as I expected it to, or it ends up in the bin (sometimes I don't even donate it - I trash it to the recyclables and never look back at it). I don't have the patience or the interest for tinkering anymore. I'm 40 years old now, I prefer to do other things (e.g. cooking, gardening etc -- I know, I grew soft ;-).

If in the long run this Chromebook doesn't work as I want it to, I will buy a Macbook. Macbooks were my 1st choice in fact, but they were so much more expensive, that I decided to give Chromebooks a chance (at that price it made sense to do so). So far, since I do my main work with a PC, the Chromebook works ok for casual browsing when I sit in front of the TV. I use my iPad when I travel, or my Galaxy Nexus.

My previous laptop (the one that died) was running Ubuntu. I use the best device for each circumstance (based on my needs, of course), so I'm OS-agnostic. But what I buy, it has to work as it's expected of it, out of the box.

Edited 2014-02-16 02:01 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Great Linux machines
by Z_God on Sun 16th Feb 2014 14:00 in reply to "RE: Great Linux machines"
Z_God Member since:
2006-06-11

What disk size would you consider minimal for Ubuntu?

I would say 16 GB should be ok for an average GNU/Linux distro which tend to take up about 2-5 GB after installation.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: Great Linux machines
by Eugenia on Sun 16th Feb 2014 20:00 in reply to "RE[2]: Great Linux machines"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

This would mean that ChromeOS would have to go away, and I don't want that. Ubuntu is not very well supported on these machines (it's entirely done by third party enthusiasts), so it makes no sense to nuke ChromeOS completely on these specific machines. Also, for the C720 specific model, the RAM is not upgradeable.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Great Linux machines
by dullgeek on Mon 17th Feb 2014 15:19 in reply to "RE: Great Linux machines"
dullgeek Member since:
2014-02-17

I have a 2GB Acer C720 - the same model as you have, and I have successfully installed Ubuntu via crouton:

http://jacobpewitt.com/installing-ubuntu-with-cinnamon-on-a-chromeb...

The disk space is minimal, but the native linux skype client works quite well.

http://youtu.be/OGvC0TWPk-g?t=4m50s

As does wine, so if you dislike the native linux client you could try the windows skype client.

No, there's not enough disk to be able to do video editing. But you will be able to skype. I use it to play FullTiltPoker. And the small 16GB SSD is fine for those kinds of tasks.

For a video of what it looks like see:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v031udlfY5E

Yes that was on a pixel but it works the same on my C720.

Edited 2014-02-17 15:33 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Great Linux machines
by Eugenia on Mon 17th Feb 2014 18:18 in reply to "RE[2]: Great Linux machines"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

Sorry but I don't find this realistic. The space is minimal as you said, it's difficult to install and not well supported. To install Ubuntu there i need more than that from both Google, the laptop manufacturer, and Ubuntu. Right now the time is not ripe for it. It's just a geek's play.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Great Linux machines
by yllk on Tue 18th Feb 2014 19:14 in reply to "RE: Great Linux machines"
yllk Member since:
2014-02-18

Geez, try it.
Mine is the C720 model 4GB with 16GB SSD. The available space initially is about 9GB-9.5GB (if I remember correctly), and after install Crouton with Elementary OS, it only went down to 6GB - which is pretty sweet.

Reply Parent Score: 2