Acer’s latest quartet of Chromebooks is eco-friendly and made for education

All-day battery life and a variety of features make the new machines great for students of all ages and professionals, too.

Acer has announced four new Chromebooks that, while designed for educational environments, are still suited to use by enterprises, especially for deployment in situations where hardware may be treated a bit roughly.

The four models, the Acer Chromebook 512, Chromebook 511, Chromebook 314 and Chromebook Spin 311, all have eco-friendly touchpads made from OceanGlass, a material produced entirely from recycled ocean-bound plastic. In addition, all of the new Chromebooks (except the 314) have post-consumer plastics in their chassis, making them a good choice for businesses looking to be a bit more environmentally friendly. 

All four Chromebooks have kid-friendly features that make them valuable in the enterprise world, too: They meet MIL-STD 810H impact resistance standards, and can take a drop from 48 feet and withstand 132.3 lbs of pressure. The displays all open a full 180 degrees (aside from the Flip, which has a 360-degree hinge), there is a drainage system built into the keyboard to prevent internal component damage, widened brackets and reinforced I/O ports and, with the exception of the 314, all have mechanically anchored keys that “are difficult for inquisitive students to remove, but at the same time, simple for IT personnel to repair or replace.”

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SEE: Power checklist: Troubleshooting hard drive failures (TechRepublic Premium)

Again, great for students and children, and also those IT professionals who have had to make repairs to a laptop that could have been avoided had the user had a more durable machine.

Acer Chromebook 512: More vertical space than average

Image: Acer

With a 3:2 screen aspect ratio, the Acer Chromebook 512 is surprisingly square looking. That said, that 12-inch 3:2 screen (1366×912) adds 18% more vertical space—great for those who work with documents and don’t want to spend as much time scrolling. 

Along with its unique screen, which has optional touch capabilities, the 512 gets up to 12 hours of battery life, and has a webcam with light flare-reducing technology built in that should make finding the right spot for a video call a bit easier.

Acer Chromebook 511: Durable enough for a toddler or your clumsiest coworker

Image: Acer

The 511 isn’t anything special to look at, but it’s got it where it counts, as long as “counts” means it’s able to take a toddler-level beating and keep on ticking. That’s thanks to its compliance with ASTM F963-16 toy safety standards and UL/IEC 60950-1 IT equipment safety standards. 

Putting these on a cart for employee orientations, for temporary checkout for field work or as a pool of loaner machines is a great use in an adult environment. It also gets up to 12 hours of battery time, which is more than enough for a solid day’s work.

Acer Chromebook 314: A bit more professional

Image: Acer

The Chromebook 314 was revealed at CES 2022 as part of Acer’s new Chromebooks for 2022, and this model is the educational version of said machine. Along with its original features covered during CES, this version of the 314 comes with educational features like zero-touch enrollment, another capability great for enterprises, too.

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Acer describes the 314 as being designed for administrators, teachers and older students, which is the reason for its smaller bezels, more compact design and general “upgraded” appearance compared with the other three models covered here.

Acer Chromebook Spin 311: Tiny, antimicrobial, convertible power

Image: Acer

The Spin 311 is the only fully convertible of the four new Acer Chromebooks and has a 360-degree hinge that allows it to be used as a tablet, too (touchscreen controls come standard).

To make it even better as a loaner/public facing/customer/etc. machine, the Spin 311’s Gorilla Glass touchscreen has embedded ionic silver particles that resist the growth of odor and stain-causing microorganisms. Its octa-core MediaTek MT8183 CorePilot chipset provides “efficient performance that contributes to a long battery life of up to 15 hours,” Acer said.

SEE: Keyboard troubleshooting guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Where and how to buy the new Acer Chromebooks

Prices and availability for these four new Chromebooks will vary by region. Acer did provide some release and pricing details for the U.S. and EMEA, though:

  • The Acer Chromebook 512 will be available in North America sometime in January 2022, starting at $349.99. EMEA users will be able to get their hands on one beginning in Q1 2022 starting at €329.
  • The Acer Chromebook 511 will come to North America in February 2022 with a starting price of $349.99, and in EMEA in February for €329.
  • The Acer Chromebook 314 won’t be out in North America until the second half of 2022 and will start at $429.99. EMEA will get it in April starting at €369.
  • The Acer Chromebook Spin 311 will start shipping to North America in March 2022 for $399.99, and EMEA will see it some time in Q1 2022 starting at €339.
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