Acer just announced the Chromebook 712 and in many ways, this device is unique in not only the specs it brings to the table, but in the outer, ruggedized features as well. Education-focused Chromebooks tend to be thought of as corner-cutting, uninspired tanks; they get the job done for as little overhead as possible and don’t worry much about how they look, feel, or perform while doing it.
The Acer Chromebook 712 is a welcome change to all of those tropes, however, as it brings better performance than expected to an EDU Chromebook, looks quite nice, and all the while packs in more ruggedness and durability than any Chromebook we’ve ever seen.
We talked about the specs in a quick press-release style article yesterday, so if you want to see all that again, you can head over to that write up. Just know we’re dealing with Comet Lake 10th-gen Intel internals instead of the lower cost, lower powered Apollo or Gemini Lake chips this time around. You get a decent IPS screen in a 3:2 aspect ratio, a nice keyboard, spacious trackpad, USB Type C, USB Type A, SD card slot, and a 4GB or 8GB of RAM paired up with 32GB or 64GB of storage.
Where this device really sets itself apart, however, is in the durability category as Acer has gone the extra mile in assuring that this Chromebook is built to last. While we love seeing more powerful internals in this EDU-focused device, this new Chromebook really shines in the durability department and brings many amazing features to the table, like:
- It can handle up to 130 lbs. of downward force. We had Joe stand on it (you can see it in the video) and the Chromebook works just fine afterwards.
- The hinge mechanism extends up to the top of the screen, giving it the ability to be picked up from the top of the display and held completely horizontal from this point alone (again, watch the video for that super cringe-worthy moment).
- The keyboard has specially anchored keys that, despite our best attempts, could not be prised from the keyboard deck.
- The keyboard can also withstand water spills, but not in the volume usually associated with this feature. Most keyboards can handle roughly a 30ml spill. This keyboard can deal with 330ml of water (11oz.) being poured directly on it. Oh, and the trackpad is moisture resistant as well.
- Drop testing also rates this Chromebook as able to withstand multiple drops from a height of 4 feet on any and all edges, opened or closed, and still remain functional.
- Finally, it is rated MIL-STD 810G and is basically impervious to sand, dirt, dust, humidity, extreme cold and/or extreme heat for periods up to 48 hours of continuous abuse.
It doesn’t take much to see that this Chromebook was built to last for a long time in the classroom environment. We all know kids are tough on tech and the classroom is a rough place for any laptop. Acer knows this and has spent time observing students to see what they do with Chromebooks, how they handle them, and what rigors to engineer for. The fact that you can dangle this device by its screen, drop it, step on it, expose it to natural elements, and can’t pick off keys tells me Acer has managed to possibly build a kid-proof Chromebook.
With Google’s latest change to the Chromebook AUE policy, education-focused Chromebooks will need this level of durability. Schools who choose to purchase the Acer Chromebook 712 will be looking at auto-updates for 8 full years and these chassis need to hold up through that time. The stellar ruggedness combined with the bump in processing speed makes the Acer Chromebook 712 a great choice for school systems looking for a long-term Chromebook purchase, and I think Acer will have a hit on its hands when this device becomes available later this year, starting at $329.99.