Acer took to the stage for its [email protected] 2019 event in Brooklyn to take the wraps off of a new family of business-ready enterprise Chromebooks announced as the Acer Chromebook 715 and Chromebook 714. The company indicated that the majority of its focus over the past several years, with few exceptions, has been on education. But the new gadgets point to a significantly deeper shift into the enterprise sector at the premium end of the Chrome OS spectrum.
Designed not to stand out but not to be ignored
The Acer Chromebook 715 and Chromebook 714 are designed expressly not to stand out. The all anodized aluminum chassis is sleek and minimal but not flashy, stepping away from its previous entry in the premium business market. That doesn’t mean the gadgets abandon premium specs that users have come to expect from Acer’s laptops.
Released in a 14-inch or 15.6-inch IPS Full HD display format, with a panel set at 1920 x 1080 resolution --, the design centers around usability and durability.
That all starts from a frame that's been kept light and thin by the company but giving users durability from its MIL-STD-810G ruggedization. That means it can withstand drops from up to four feet and downforce of up to 132 pounds. All of that is intended to ensure that it keeps its visual appeal regardless of how rough the workday might get.
Users will also have the option of buying a variant with a backlit keyboard for dim-lit environments.
Setting aside those standard options, Acer is also introducing two new business-centric features that aren’t previously found in other Chrome OS laptops. The first of those, for Acer's Chromebook 715, is an optional fingerprint reader -- a feature previously found only in Google’s own Pixel Slate.
The fingerprint scanner is placed directly below another first that’s a true first for the ecosystem -- namely, just below the included number pad. The number pad will mostly impact enterprise users working with spreadsheets and similar productivity tasks but represents a fairly big step forward for the platform.
The touchpad is topped by Gorilla Glass for a smooth, premium experience.
Power to spare on a flexible platform
Internally, Acer is incorporating the latest array of Intel Core chips from the eighth-gen. Specifically, those are the Core i5 and Core i3 processors. Intel Celeron and Intel Pentium Gold versions will be sold as well. For memory and file saving, the Chromebook 714 and Chromebook 715 will ship in configurations with either 8GB or 16GB of DDR4 SDRAM and 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of storage.
That sets them apart as some of the most powerful Chrome OS devices to date but with a battery life rated at up to 12-hours from a single charge.
On the connectivity side of things, Acer is including both Dual Band Wireless-AC 802.11ac/a/b/g/n 2x2 for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2. More localized connections for video output, data transfers, and charging, can be accomplished via either of two USB 3.1 Type-C ports, split one to each edge, in addition to supporting micro SD cards and standard USB 3.1. The company plans to make an optional Acer USB-Type-C Dock available to widen the versatility and usability of those ports too.
Above the display, the company has included a 74-degree wide field of view webcam and the panel -- available in an optional ten-point touch variant, seems to be built around a lay-flat design for easy shared-viewing. The panels' 6.18mm bezels equate to more screen real-estate without sacrificing portability.
Pricing and availability
Both Acer's Chromebook 715 and Chromebook 714 will launch in both North America and approved areas of the EMEA in June. The larger gadget will be available starting at $599 or €599 depending on the region while the smaller Chromebook 714 will start at $549 or €549. That will, of course, vary by region.