The Acer AC700 is the second laptop designed to run Google’s Chrome OS to hit the market. It was initially scheduled to launch on June 15th at the same time as the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook, but the release date got pushed back a bit. Now the AC700 is in stock and shipping from Amazon.com for $349.
Right now only the WiFi model is available for purchase. Acer is also expected to introduce a 3G capable version for $429. That model will come with 100MB of free data per month from Verizon Wireless for the first two years that you own the Chromebook. If you need more 3G bandwidth than that you’ll need to sign up for a Verizon contract.
The Acer Chrombook is cheaper than Samsung’s model, but features similar specs. It has an 11.6 inch display instead of Samsung’s 12.1 inch screen. But both laptops feature 1.66 GHz Intel Atom N570 dual core processors, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB solid state disks. The Acer AC700 also features a full-sized keyboard with special Chrome OS shortcuts in the place where you’d normally find Fn keys and a large clickpad below the keyboard.
The Chrome Operating System is designed around a web browser. The laptop should take about 10 seconds to boot and almost no time at all to resume from sleep. Once you power up the laptop and login you’re greeted with a web browser that has a few extra features such as a file browser which opens in a browser tab and the ability to launch pop-up panels for instant messaging, audio, or video.
If you run into any problems with the Acer Chromebook and need to perform a factory reset, Google has updated its system recovery page with tools for the Acer AC700. The steps for recovering the original laptop software are similar to the instructions for the Samsung Series 5. All you need to do is prepare a 4GB or larger USB flash drive, set your Chromebook to developer mode, and boot from the flash drive.