Acer unveils upgraded Chromebooks — and they come at a bargain price

Ahead of the global educational conference, The Bett Show, Acer has released a bunch of new Chromebook models for students of the modern-day classroom. These new additions promise long battery life, bargain prices and durability for those with clumsy hands.

Catered for the educational market, Acer released the new 11-inch Chromebook 511 and Chromebook 311, the Chromebook Spin 512 and Chromebook Spin 511, and an upgraded TravelMate Spin B3 for young students.

The main feature for each model of Acer’s new educational line is all about military-grade durability, from spill-resistant keyboards to shock-absorbent bumpers. We all know someone with butter-fingers.

The Acer Chromebook 511, Acer Chromebook Spin 512 and 511, and Acer TravelMate Spin B3 will be available in North America sometime in April 2021, while the Acer Chromebook 311 will be available this January. 

Acer Chromebook 511: What you need to know

(Image credit: Acer)

Acer’s 11.6-inch Chromebook 511 weighs in at 1.3kg (2.87 pounds), making it quite lightweight. It comes equipped with a MIL-STD810H tested and impact-resistant chassis, along with widened brackets and reinforced ports. Its keyboard has mechanically-anchored keys and boasts a “unique drainage system” for accidental spills.

The Chromebook also comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c, which claims to give the Chromebook a boost in battery life, offering up to 20 hours. The processor also brings built-in 4G LTE connectivity.

The notebook also features zero-touch enrollment, making it simple for users to enroll into school administration.

Acer Chromebook 511 will be available in North America in April priced at $399.99, and EMEA in March at €399. 

Acer Chromebook 311: What you need to know

(Image credit: Acer)

The Acer Chromebook 311 has been specifically made for elementary school students (K-12 students), so expect it to come with some nifty, kid-friendly features.

In terms of specs, it comes with a MediaTek MT8183 processor, 20 hours of battery life, an optional touch screen, an HDR webcam for online classes, the special zero-touch enrollment system, and the standard Chrome OS.

Now for its durability: with shock-absorbent bumpers and MIL-STD810H standard, it’s designed to survive falls of up to 122 cm and 60 kg of force. The Chromebook’s keyboard is spill-resistant, withstanding 330ml of water, and its keys have been mechanically anchored with two wings that extend out from under the chassis. It also meets the toy safety standard for the safety of young children.

Basically, it will be hard for any young student to break. The Acer Chromebook 311 is expected to release in North America this January 2021, priced at $299.99, and in EMEA in March priced at €269. 

Acer Chromebook Spin 512 and 511: What you need to know

(Image credit: Acer)

Acer’s new convertible Chromebook Spin 512 and 511 are largely the same in many features, with the exception of the display size and the 512 coming with an extra keyboard coating.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 511 has a compact form factor and an 11.6-inch HD IPS display in a 16:9 format. The Acer Chromebook Spin 512 has a 12-inch 3:2 aspect ratio with an HD+ IPS display, offering 18% more vertical space than its sibling.

The Chromebook Spin 512 has the added feature of a BPR & EPA-compliant silver-ion antimicrobial agent in the coating on the keyboard. In simpler terms, it’s proven to reduce the spread of bacteria.

That’s where the differences end. Both Chromebooks come with the latest generation Intel Pentium Silver or Celeron N4500 and N5100 processors, with up to 64GB eMMC storage and up to 8GB RAM. Each will also feature Wi-Fi 6, two reinforced USB 3.2 Type-A ports, two USB 3.2 Type-C ports, and Bluetooth 5.1.

As for the display, Both have scratch-resistant antimicrobial Corning Gorilla Glass touch displays with 360-degree hinges that make four different usage modes. Both also come with 8MP back-facing cameras and HDR front-facing cameras for online classes.

Resistance is a big feature for both Chromebooks, with shock-absorbent bumpers and MIL-STD810H standard; it’s designed to survive falls of up to 122 cm and 60kg of force. There are also widened brackets and reinforced ports.

The Chromebook Spin 512 and Chromebook Spin 511 will both be released in North America in April, and in EMEA in March. The Acer Chromebook Spin 512 is priced at $429.99 or €399, while the Acer Chromebook Spin 511 is priced at $399.99 or €369.

TravelMate Spin B3: What you need to know

(Image credit: Acer)

The Acer TravelMate Spin B3 seems to be the middle-ground release of Acer’s new line of Chromebooks, although with an emphasis on younger children.

The Chromebook features an Antimicrobial Corning Gorilla Glass touch display, a bacteria-reducing BPR & EPA-compliant silver-ion antimicrobial agent in the coating on the keyboard, spill-resistance with a unique drainage system at the bottom of the keyboard, and a moisture-resistant touchpad.

It also features the same durability testing as its siblings, which includes shock-absorbent bumpers and the MIL-STD810H standard. As such, it’s designed to survive falls of up to 122 cm and 60 kg of force.

When it comes to specs, it boasts the latest Intel Pentium Silver processors, up to 12 hours of battery and Intel Wi-Fi 6. It is a 2-in-1, so expect to use it in laptop, tablet or clamshell mode, with an optional AES pen and 5 MP HDR front-facing camera for online classes. Also expect one USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C, an HDMI port and an ethernet cable port.

The Acer TravelMate Spin B3 will be available in North America in April, starting at $329.99, and in EMEA in the second quarter of 2021 starting at €409. 

Outlook

Acer’s new line of Chromebooks is looking to be a great choice for students, whether they’re in a Zoom class at home or back at school. With the amount of durability testing gone into each of the devices, we’re sure to see quite a few young students get their hands on them, and inevitably drop them. 

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