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Samsung and Acer launch Chromebook computers

The first pair of laptops running Google`s Chrome operating system have arrived, with manufacturers Samsung and Acer attempting to convince consumers that they should invest in this fledgling format. The so-called Chromebooks are competing for the same segment of the market, so it is worth analysing each to see whether one is the clear first choice.
From a technical standpoint the Samsung model offers a larger display, measuring 12 inches across the diagonal and giving you a native resolution of 1280×800. The Acer is half an inch smaller in this respect and the 1366×768 resolution gives it a slightly higher pixel density, which could result in crisper onscreen imagery.
Both computers use the same Intel Atom processor clocked at 1.66GHz and onboard there are antennas for both Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, although it will be possible to buy the Samsung model without 3G for a lower price if you do not want wide ranging internet access.
One area in which they Acer is clearly going to win fans is pricing, because it will be available for around £220 or thereabouts upon its UK launch, which is a very appealing price for a brand new piece of hardware. The Samsung option will be a little more expensive, but you are getting 8.5 hours of battery life in comparison with the six hours boasted by Acer from a single charge, which might make the extra outlay worthwhile.

The two laptops are virtually the same weight, tipping the scales at roughly 1.45 kilograms, which is around ten percent heavier than a very basic netbook running Windows or Linux. This should be light enough to keep them very portable, but it is not the kind of weight drop that will astound long time laptop users.

The rest of the spec sheet for each reads along the same lines, as Samsung and Acer have included high def webcams and twin USB ports in both, along with memory card readers and 3.5mm outputs for audio. Where the two differ slightly is in display output, as the Acer model has an HDMI port which will make it the perfect accompaniment to a projector or HDTV while the Samsung gets a mini VGA port, a common but slightly less convenient option.

The Acer Chromebook is certainly the most subdued of the two when it comes to looks, as its all-black design is simple and classy if not completely original. Samsung has gone a little further, making sure that there is some attractive detailing which might make waterproof MP3 players look rather clunky in comparison. Aesthetics are not everything, but in a contest that is so closely fought it could be looks and price which sway consumers.


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