Readers of this channel might have noticed over time, that I am very open to unconventional things, such as chromebooks. And yes, I am also known to canibalise stuff, e.g. chromebooks to cheap and cheerful Linux Laptops.
Well, the chromebook got a new boost a while ago, when Google brought two of their system together: ChromeOS and Android. So, after a period of struggle, I finally put down the money a bought an Acer R11 quad core chromebook... one of those having a touch screen and allowing for Android applications to run.
Acer got it spot-on! The keyboard is the best I have used in years! Honestly, this device has got a very very good keyboard. On the web, some people seem to dislike the screen and the touchpad. Well, fair enough, not me though. The touchpad is just right in terms of size, the click is a bit mushy, but this is something I can live with. What the screen is concerned, I do not really understand the critics. This screen is brilliant and sharp. The colors are vibrant and the black is really black. In terms of viewing angles, the display could be better, but is much better than many similarly priced products out there.
Talking Android, there is one favorite application of mine, which made a big deal in my decision: snapseed. Snapseed allows you to not only work with RAW files but also allows for local adjustments (brushes). While using snapseed on my Huawei P9 is pretty fun, the screen of the phone is rather small in comparison to my fingers. Now, snapseed is available to me on an 11 inch touchscreen - very very cool!
Originally, and I shared that with friends, I had the 13 inch version of the chromebook, the Acer R13, on my wishlist. However, the R13, having a 1080p screen, lacks in a single but essential feature: a fullsize SDHC card-reader. When using for photography, you want your device to accept fillsize SD cards, no matter what!
Message to Acer: replace the microSD card reader with a fullsize SD card reader.
As added benefit the R11 fits into the bag I am using to go to my classes. "Classes?" you may ask... Yes, I am back to university, sitting classes with peers half my age. Coool, eh?!
There are things I do not like about the device, in particular when the device is in tablet mode. For a tablet, the device is pretty heavy to my taste. When grabbing the "tablet", one grabs into the keyboard or the clicky touchbad, which feels very strange. Yes, those devices are all deactivated in tablet more, but still... it feels just weird.
Multitouch gestures, i.e. more than 2, are a bit confusing and hard to replicate in a productive manner.
The shell of the device is made from white plastics. Which looks incredibly cheap, however, feels pretty solid. Cool move! Who wants to nick a cheap plastic netbook, when there are supreme solid aluminium devices are available? In addition to that... is stolen, my data is still with me, on my account in the cloud.
Concerning compute power, finally there is a chromebook fit for music reproduction. There are a few DJ-applications out there for chrome, however, many of the regular chromebooks, at least the ones I used, struggled severly when throughing high bitrate audio at them... it seem that the 4 Celeron cores are doing a pretty decent job here. I had some frozen screens when audio spectra were processed, but, the music did not stop or stutter at all during the processing. I would go so far to state that I would be confident of play music for an entire night using some USB storage devices and the R11.
Conclusion: if there is a device I would be able to recommend in 2017 it is the Acer R11 (CB5-132T).