There are Chromebooks with Samsung processors, Chromebooks with two types of Intel processors, and starting today, Chromebooks with Nvidia processors. The new Acer Chromebook 13 is the first Chromebook to use Nvidia's Tegra K1 processor, a mobile chip that's already been employed in tablets and other portable devices. Its big selling point? Longer battery life than any other Chromebook on the market while still providing class-leading performance.
The Chromebook 13 is available in two screen configurations: a 1366 x 768 display and a full HD, 1920 x 1080 display. The lower-resolution model sells for $279, with a 16GB SSD and 2GB of RAM. But what you'll really want is the the HD version, which is $20 more with the same RAM and storage, or for $379 with a 32GB SSD and 4GB of RAM. Even fullly specced out with the larger SSD and more RAM, the 1080p Chromebook 13 undercuts the Samsung Chromebook 2, the only other 1080p model you can buy. Acer and Nvidia say the lower-res model can last up to 13 hours on a charge, while the 1080p version will go for 11 hours.
Acer didn't recycle its designs from earlier Chromebooks for this model. The Chromebook 13 features an all new chassis, measuring 0.71 inches thick and weighing 3.31 pounds. It's fanless, thanks to the K1's mobile architecture, and it has two USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI port. The laptop is well made for this price point, and doens't exhibit the overwhelming cheapness of Acer's other Chromebooks. It has a full-size keyboard and generously-sized trackpad, as well.
Nvidia is touting the graphical performance of its K1 processor, which outperforms the Intel and Samsung-equipped Chromebooks in Nvidia's multitasking and benchmark tests. The company points to the quad-core processor design (most Chromebooks have only dual-core processors) and more powerful graphics processing unit as differentiators in the Chromebook world. Demos of the 3D rendering capabilities were impressive in person, and Nvidia's multitasking demo (which comprised of four open windows, streaming music, and running a script in a Google Sheet) did show the Chromebook 13 to be faster than an Intel-equipped model. Despite these impressive performance feats, Nvidia is confident that the Chromebook 13 will last longer away from a wall outlet than any other Chromebook on the market. It is also Google Hangouts Optimized, which allows for high definition Hangouts and multitasking at the same time.
The Chromebook 13 is available for preorder from Acer starting today, with shipments expected for September. It's not the only new Chromebook to look forward to: Dell and others have promised to launch new models with Intel's more powerful Core i3 chip, while Acer already has a C720 with the i3 out on shelves. But the Chromebook 13's high-resolution display and class-leading battery life are unique, and could make it the Chromebook to beat for the near future. We're legitimately excited to get one in our hands and put Nvidia's claims to the test.