The Acer Wi-Fi Chromebook shares the distinction of being the first commercial Chromebook with another model by Samsung. The Acer Wi-Fi Chromebook will sell for $349 while the Samsung model will sell for $429 (Wi-Fi) and $499 (Wi-Fi and 3G capable). I have been testing the CR-48 Chromebook for the last five months. During this time I have come to see the positives and the negatives of this device. The Acer Wi-Fi Chromebook will feature an updated Intel Atom processor which should function quite nicely.
I do think that most people will be happy with this device as long as they understand a couple of things:
1. This will not replace your Windows or Mac machine completely. If you use any programs like Photoshop, then you will still have the need for your PC or Mac.
2. You are probably better off buying the Wi-Fi version and using your smart phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot or buying a Wi-Fi Hotspot from a provider like Verizon or Sprint. That way you can use the web on multiple devices instead of just paying for 3G access on your Chromebook.
Here are some Pros and Cons to consider:
2. Extremely long battery life (I typically charge mine every other day)
3. Pretty fast. On the web I find that the Chromebook loads up really fast.
4. Angry Birds - Yeah, they have added an Angry Birds Chrome web app that lets you play Angry Birds.
5. Sandboxing - You can Google this, but just think of it as a added level of web security.
6. Saving on the Cloud - All your files, etc. are linked to the cloud so you are not having to back up your laptop regularly.
7. Regular updates. Google releases updates to Chrome OS about every 2-3 weeks keeping it stable and secure.
8. HDMI output. This is a nice addition for those who will use this on the road or at a friend's house.
9. Netflix, Hulu, and other video streaming sites are supported finally (they were not in the beta test of the CR-48).
10. Supports music streaming from Amazon Cloud service, Google Music, Pandora, etc.
Cons (or possibly just some Considerations)
1. It runs on Chrome OS only. You can't load Windows or Mac based programs. For a lot of people this means they still need their Mac or PC. This is especially true if you run programs like Photoshop. I use Photoshop and Lightroom often. However, I use my Chromebook for just about everything else. This could be an issue for some, but I still wouldn't give up my Chromebook.
2. Cost might be a little high for some. Since this doesn't replace your PC or Mac completely, this price point is near what a tablet might cost (iPad or Xoom?). Personally, I love the form factor and the fact that I have a full keyboard for working rather than a touch screen on a tablet and would chose this over an equally priced tablet. But I figured I would point this out.
3. Early adopting. There is always a chance that the kinks are still being worked out. With Google, I'm pretty sure this won't be the case. My experience with the CR-48 has been great, with regular revisions every few weeks from Google even in the beta phase. Probably not going to be an issue, but again, worth pointing out.
4. No optical drive. You cannot play CDs or DVDs on this device. You must use the USB port or SD card slot. With Netflix, Hulu, and many other options, this is quickly becoming a non-issue. Additionally with being able to store so much to the cloud and USB/SDHC storage, optical storage is not really necessary as much as it used to be. That said, it is a change you have to get used to.
Well, I hope this helps you make your decision. I can easily say that after trying this out for the last few months, I will definitely be buying another when the time comes.