Oct. 10, 2013 at 2:13 PM ET
The netbook may be dead, but the Chromebook lives on. Acer has released a new lightweight laptop that runs Google's Chrome OS, and it's specced to take on Google and HP's own new Chromebook, announced earlier this week.
Acer's $249 C720 is the same size at the $279 Chromebook 11, and both have a similar 11.6-inch 1,366 x 768 display. The Acer is thicker by a few millimeters and half a pound heavier, but they're both thin and light compared with an ordinary laptop.
So far, so similar, but the Acer begins to depart (slightly) when it comes to the internals. It uses an Intel Celeron 2955U processor, which should be faster and yet less power-hungry than the ARM-based HP device (the company claims 8 hours of battery life, over the HP's six). The Acer also has 4 GB of RAM to the HP's 2 GB — meaning you're less likely to see things slow down when you have a dozen tabs and documents open. It also has an HD webcam where HP users would have to make do with SD.
Which of these two models works better in person will have to be determined by a hands-on test; we'll see about getting our hands on them and then let you know whether the differences really stand out. If you're convinced the Acer is worth the money, however, you can pre-order it at Amazon right now.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.