Acer's new C720 Chromebook: Is this the power machine you've been waiting for?

A truly powerful Chromebook at an affordable price? The new Acer C720 just might fit the bill.

If you think that Chromebooks skimp on power, and can't do the real work of a laptop, think again. Acer's new C720 Chromebook packs a powerful punch, at a surprisingly affordable price. I've got specs and details.

Chromebooks are typically powered by processors that get the job done, but can slow down if you open plenty of tabs and do much multi-tasking. But judging by the specs of the Acer C720, that should be a thing of the past. There are two models, and both run Intel the fourth-generation Intel Core i3-40005U Haswell processors running at 1.7Ghz. This is no low-end processor. This is the real thing, the kind of processor that powers more expensive and more processor-intensive Windows machines.

They also come with plenty of RAM. The less expensive model, the C720-3871, which costs $349, comes with 2 GB, and the more expensive model, the C720-3404 at $379, has a full 4 GB. The $379 model is a much better bet; it's worth the $30 extra for 2 GB extra.

The screen is an 11.6-inch one with 1366 by 768 resolution, so you won't be buying it for its screen. As with all Chromebooks, the storage isn't the reason you'll buy it, either. It comes with a 32 GB solid state hard drive.

Overall, it's priced a bit more than garden-variety Chromebooks, but to me it looks as if the extra muscle is worth it. At the moment, the only other truly powerful Chromebook is Google's Chromebook Pixel, with a 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 processor with 4GB of DDR3 RAM and 32GB to 64GB of SSD. But that device's starting price is a whopping $1,299. The new Acer 720C looks like a steal next to it. It's not quite available yet, although you can pre-order.

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