I’ve partnered with Acer for this post and was provided with a the Acer Chromebook R 11 at no cost to facilitate a review. All opinions are my own.
Maggie loves learning. Worksheets, flash cards, books, and educational apps: she loves them all and enjoys soaking them in. However, since it’s still summer, we want her to be able to enjoy the warm weather and outdoors before we really start hitting the books on a regular basis. There will be plenty of time for academics once the cooler weather sets in.
This doesn’t mean that we neglect education completely during the summer months. We try to plan family “field trips” to various institutions that offer fun, on top of education. For example, we are lucky to be within driving distance of the Smithsonian museums and the National Aquarium. They each offer a fantastic way to spend a day. As wonderful as it would be to be able to do family field trips on a weekly basis, real life just doesn’t make that possible.
In the spirit of keeping summertime education light and fun, we usually use digital means of learning. I mean, what kid doesn’t love and excel at the use of electronics? Sometimes I feel like our three oldest children know how to use tablets better than I do! It’s astounding how quickly they pick up on that type of stuff. Maggie and Jacob are now graduating up to learning how to use a mouse or touchpad and keyboard. Computers are a fact of life now, so getting your children used to them and proficient with them is pretty important. However, laptops can be prohibitively expensive for many families. Luckily Chromebooks offer a perfect entry level solution for a laptop-like device that has many of the same features, but at a lower cost.
The Acer R 11 features a full non-removable keyboard with a touchpad, just like a laptop. Since the kids are used to touch screens, we thought that moving them to a device that featured a touchpad or a mouse would have a bit of a learning curve. As with anything tech related, kids seem to pick it up naturally. Maggie and Jacob both could use the touchpad or mouse pretty proficiently within a day or so. While the R11 keyboard isn’t removable, it is a “360” keyboard with two USB ports, one 3.0 on the left side and a 2.0 on the right. If you are not familiar with 360 keyboards, this means that it can flip all the way around behind the screen. Once the keyboard reaches this position the keys deactivate which allows you to use the R11 as a tablet.
Yes, the R11 boasts a touch screen! The keyboard also acts as a stand to allow you the use the R11 in tablet mode, but also have the screen sitting upright. This position is great for movie watching! Additional ports that can be found along the keyboard edges include the power connector, HDMI port, SD card slot, and headphone/mic jack.
The Acer R 11 runs on the Chrome OS. The beauty of the Chrome OS is in its simplicity. The boot-up time is lightning fast. If the Chromebook is fully shut down, from the time that I press the power button, the system is loaded and running in less than 15 seconds. Typically, I don’t shut the system down completely, so when I open the top the R 11 is running in under 5 seconds. I love the speed! It is so convenient.
The R 11 is available in four different models with slightly varying specs. Our particular model is the CB5-132T-C32M which comes with an Intel Celeron N3150 quad-core processor, 11.6″ HD 1366×768 screen, 2GB of ram, and 32GB of storage. Other versions of the R 11 are available with 4GB of ram for an even faster browsing experience.
If you use an Android phone like my husband and I do, you’ll see many of the same apps. All your currently downloaded apps are accessed by clicking on the magnifying glass icon on the lower left of the screen or by pressing the corresponding key positioned where the caps lock would be on a typical keyboard. The web store where you can download additional apps is also found here.
On the bottom right of the screen is the quick settings bar that includes time and date, wifi connection, volume, battery life, Chromecast, Bluetooth, and other settings.
Battery life is exceptionally good. I am not sure what to attribute this to. It may be because there aren’t nearly as many processes running at any given time when using Chrome OS. Either way, I love how long I can go between charges with the R 11. It isn’t uncommon for me to be able to reach the advertised 10 hour battery life and occasionally stretch beyond it. However, when you are watching movies, battery life will drop by several hours. Even still, it is pretty noteworthy.
The monitor of the Acer Chromebook R 11 is an LED backlit Active Matrix TFT Color LCD touchscreen with high definition resolution at 1366 x 768. Additionally, the screen utilizes In-plane switching technology. IPS ensures that the colors remain true regardless of the angle you are viewing the screen. Brightness settings are easily adjusted via the settings bar or the brightness keys on the keyboard. Movies look amazing! The color is rich and vibrant and the resolution is fantastic.
Maggie and Jacob have become quite attached to the R 11 since they started using it for some of their homeschool games. It is much smaller and lighter than either of our laptops. Plus, with the ability to use it like a tablet, they love having the touchscreen and the 360 keyboard. They enjoy sitting the screen upright while they lay on the floor. While they have gotten good at using the touchpad, they still prefer the ease and convenience of the touchscreen. Can’t say I blame them!
While the Chrome OS is a bit more limiting than having a full Windows or Mac system, for the casual user there are still plenty of solutions available for their needs. For example, you can get all of the Microsoft Office suite for your word processing and spreadsheet creation. The Chrome browser is the full edition and surfing the web is fast and beautiful. Unless you are an avid gamer or video editor, the Chromebook is plenty powerful for the rest of us!
The Acer Chromebook R 11 has really made a great impression. We love the size, lightweight package, convenience, simplicity, and lightning fast boot-up speed. This is our first Chromebook, but I am sure it won’t be the last. It is everything we need for most of our needs. If you want a simple way to browse the internet, watch movies, and do some office work, the Acer Chromebook R 11 is your perfect fit and starts at just $279.99!