PC review

Acer R11 - a decent and affordable hybrid

The screen of the Acer Chromebook R11 offers good viewing angles.
The screen of the Acer Chromebook R11 offers good viewing angles.PHOTO: ACER

The Acer Chromebook R11 is a convertible hybrid device that can become either a laptop or a tablet.

Flip its touchscreen 360 degrees to transform it from a clamshell notebook to a fairly thick 11.6-inch slate.

So, the R11 is similar to the Samsung Chromebook Plus featured in this roundup. It supports Google Play out of the box, so you can quickly install Android apps.

But, unlike the Samsung Chromebook Plus, the R11 does not have a stylus. The latter is also a bit heavier, at around 1.25kg.

It is less slippery to hold than the aluminium-clad Plus. The bottom of the R11 has a textured, grippy finish.

The screen offers good viewing angles as it uses in-plane switching technology. It is glossy and reflective, especially when it is not set at its maximum brightness. The dual hinge that holds up the screen feels strong so the screen is not as wobbly as some hybrids I have tested.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $499

    PROCESSOR: Intel Celeron N3160 (1.6GHz)

    GRAPHICS: Intel HD Graphics 400

    RAM: 4GB

    SCREEN SIZE: 11.6 inches, 1,366 x 768 pixels

    CONNECTIVITY: 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, HDMI, SD card reader, audio jack

    BATTERY: 37 watt-hour


    RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 5/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

At 1,366 x 768 pixels, the screen resolution is typical of a Chromebook of its size. It is not as sharp or as bright as the Samsung Chromebook Plus, though one could argue that these mean the R11 is not as power-hungry. In fact, it clocked a good 7hr 8min in our video-loop battery test, compared with 5hr 30min for the Samsung Chromebook Plus.

The keyboard feels shallow, but not mushy. I like its large touchpad but not its creaky feel when clicked.

The R11's 32GB of internal storage can be expanded via the SD card slot. Unlike other models that have switched to USB Type-C, the R11 has HDMI and full-size USB ports.

With a quad-core Intel Celeron chip and 4GB of system memory, I was expecting more than the 8,290 score that the R11 achieved in the Octane benchmark. This was the lowest score among the Chromebooks tested here.

However, this result is likely due to the benchmark not using all four of its processing cores. I felt the R11 was as responsive as its competitors for typical computing tasks like Web browsing and playing videos.

• Verdict: Acer's convertible Chromebook offers fewer tricks than Samsung's, but it is more affordable and has better battery life.

Vincent Chang

READ MORE: More Chromebook reviews

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2017, with the headline 'Acer R11 - a decent and affordable hybrid'. Print Edition | Subscribe