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At $200, this Chromebook is practically an impulse buy


Looking for a cheap laptop to take on vacation or stash in the kitchen or living room for quick Web access? You're not going to find many cheaper than Acer's latest Chromebook, a new version of which will sell for just $200.

The only difference between the C720-2848 (not the catchiest name, granted) and the $250 C720 announced a month ago is that the new one has 2 GB of RAM versus the C720's 4 GB — everything else is exactly the same: a basic Intel Celeron processor, a standard 11.6-inch display, and so on.

Is it worth $50 to double the RAM? Chrome OS is essentially a pumped-up browser, and requires less overhead than, say, Windows 7, so RAM isn't quite as important. But then again, browsers are increasingly host to complex 3-D graphics and huge images, to say nothing of the Web apps we use every day, like Gmail and Facebook.

If you can spare the cash, go for the 4 GB version. But if money is tight and that $50 could cover a few presents for the upcoming holidays, go ahead and check out the budget version — less RAM might make a few graphics-heavy sites and games run slower, but it's not like YouTube won't load. You won't be able to add more RAM later, though, so just make extra sure you're okay with it before buying.

Another bonus: The power cord isn't going to overheat and melt all over your desk, like Google and HP's Chromebook 11. You should be able to check out the rest of the specs at your favorite online retailer.

Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is