August 11, 2014, 10:05 AM — Acer just announced a 13.3-inch Chromebook that looks to be a winner. But can it beat out Samsung's Chromebook 2? I've got specs and the rundown.
The processor powering Samsung's Chromebook 2 -- Samsung's most recent Exynos 5 chip -- hasn't exactly set the world on fire. Reviewers have complained about its sluggishness, particularly when multi-tasking. It's probably the worst thing about what otherwise is a very solid machine. As for the Acer Chromebook 13, it's powered by the Nvidia Tegra K1 processor. It's the first Chromebook to have that processor, so as of yet, it's tough to know whether it will beat Samsung's Exynos 5 chip. However, it's a quad-core processor with a 192-core GPU, and will likely be particularly well-suited for graphics-related tasks. So I'll say the Acer Chromebook 13 is the tentative winner here, pending test results.
RAM and storage
The Samsung Chromebook 2 comes with 4 GB RAM and a 16 GB hard drive. The hard drive size is standard fare, but the 4 GB of RAM is high for a Chromebook. The Acer Chromebook 13 will come in multiple configurations, several of which come with 2GB of RAM, and one of which comes with 4 GB. The Acer configuration with 4 GB of RAM also comes with a 32 GB hard drive. For the purposes of this review, I'll compare the higher end Acer to the Samsung. That means that the Acer noses out the Samsung, because it has a hard drive twice as big.
Both machines have 13.3-inch screens with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolutions. So there's no winner here; it's a tie.
The Samsung Chromebook 2 weighs 3.06 pounds and is a thin 0.65 inches thick. The Acer Chromebook 13 weighs in at 3.31 lbs and is 0.7 inches thick. So the Samsung's specs are better. But in real life, I'm not sure that a quarter of a pound and 0.05 of an inch means much. I'll call this a tie.
The Acer Chromebook 13 with 4GB of RAM and a 32 GB hard drive lists for $380, versus $378 on Amazon for the Samsung Chromebook 2. The difference of $2 won't even get you a good cup of coffee at Starbucks. So this is a tie. You'll also be able to buy lower-cost Acer Chromebook 13's with less RAM and a smaller hard disk for less money.
I'd choose the Acer Chromebook 13. It's got a hard disk that has twice the capacity of the Samsung Chromebook 2, and a processor that may be better as well.