Acer versus Samsung: Which Chromebook is Better?

Posted on 14. May, 2011 by in Chrome, Chrome OS, Reviews

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Alrighty, ladies and gents. Let me paint you a picture. You’re an avid fan of Google, who just so happens to be in the market for a new notebook PC. Like any good fan would, you decide “Hey, I’ll watch the Google I/O developer’s conference, see what they’ve got in store for folks like me.”  That’s when you first laid eyes on the Chromebook. Jackpot. You hang on every word, absorbing information on the Chromebook like a sponge. You mark June 15 on your calendar, and every day leading to- like a kid waiting for Christmas. It’s then that you realize, hey, you’ve got a bit of a problem. See, Google’s releasing two Chromebooks: One manufactured by Acer, the other by Samsung. And you’ve got no idea which one to choose.

I might be able to help with that. Let’s have a look at which of the Chromebooks gives you the most bang for your buck, shall we?

Comparison One: The Look

How does each model look? What’s good about it? What’s bad? What’s just downright ugly? Here, I’m going to be looking at the aesthetic appeal of the two species of Chromebook.

The Acer Chromebook

Acer’s Chromebook looks pretty vanilla to me. Granted, it’s super thin as notebooks go and pretty reasonably weighted (at 2.95 pounds) but there’s really nothing to distinguish the appearance of Acer’s cloud notebook from every other laptop out there. Now, while the laptop itself might be something of an ugly duckling (to me, at least);  at 11.6 inches, Acer’s 16:9 Cinecrystal 1366×768 HD screen most assuredly is not. Then again, the fact that it’s smaller and lighter than the Series 5 does work in its favor.

Acer Chromebook Hero 600x331 300x165

The Samsung Series 5

If I were to render my final verdict on the systems based solely on their physical appeal, Samsung’s the clear winner. Its sleek, glossy chassis is available in either white or black, and has the Chrome logo subtly emblazoned on the bottom left corner of the back. Of course, the physical appeal does come at a bit of a price- Samsung’s 16:10 12.1 inch WGXA LED screen operates at a max resolution of 1280×800, slightly lower than the Acer Chromebook. Still, the fact that it’s larger works in its favor. It’s also a bit bulkier than the Acer Chromebook, weighing in at 3.3 pounds.

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Winner: I’m going to give the Series 5 a slight edge here. The Acer Chromebook’s display does seem a bit better, but not enough to make up for the much higher aesthetic appeal of the Series 5.

Comparison Two: The Specs

In the previous section, our two contenders just sat around and looked pretty. See, trouble is, most of us were taught as kids that judging a book by its cover is bad and mean and downright wrong. So, let’s see what’s under the hood. Let’s have a look at what each of these systems can do.

The Acer has the following specs:

Chrome image A

  • 11.6-inch 1,366×768-pixel 16:9 screen
  • Intel Atom N570 dual-core 1.66GHz CPU
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB SSD drive
  • 1.3 MP HD Webcam
  • Two USB 2.0 Ports
  • HDMI Port
  • 8 hours of battery life
  • 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • 3G Optional
  • HD Audio Support
  • Stereo Speakers
  • 2.95 pounds

samsung srs5 chrome ports smThe Series 5, on the other hand, boasts the following:

  • 12.1-inch, 1,200×800 pixel 16:10
  • Intel Atom N570 dual-core 1.66GHz CPU
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB SSD drive
  • 1 MP HD Webcam
  • Two USB 2.0 ports
  • VGA Port
  • 8.5 hours of battery life
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • 3G optional
  • SD/SDHC/MMC/SDXC card slot
  • Stereo speakers
  • 3.3 lbs.

This one’s tricky. While the two systems are virtually identical hardware wise, each one has a few clear advantages over the other.  In addition to having a superior screen, the Acer also has HDMI support- something which is curiously lacking on the Series 5, in favor of the rather archaic VGA analog format. The Samsung does have its benefits, though- the SD slot is pretty nifty, and gives the Series 5 a bit more space for offline file storage, as well as allowing you to upload pictures from your camera. Then again, the USB ports work just fine for that, and given that both systems are designed to operate on the cloud…yeah. You get the idea.

Oh, and the Samsung has a bit more battery life than the Acer.

Winner: I’m gonna have to give the edge to the Acer here. Though the Samsung’s got a slightly better battery, the decision to support VGA over HDMI doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. And while the inclusion of an SD slot is nice, it seems a bit pointless. As for battery life…a half hour really isn’t that much of a difference.

Comparison Three: The Price

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This is a pretty simple one:  The Acer is a lot cheaper. Without 3G, you can hook yourself up with an Acer Chromebook for $349.00, while the Samsung S5 runs for $429.00. Basically, you’re paying about eighty dollars extra for a memory slot and an extra half hour of battery life. Is that really worth it? Not if you ask me, it isn’t.  

Winner: The Acer Chromebook wins this one, hands down.



So, Which Ons is the Better Buy?

71SFL74o9CL. AA1500  300x300The Acer Chromebook is the clear winner here. It’s cheaper, it’s smaller, it has a better screen, and it has virtually the same specifications as the Samsung Series 5. And have I mentioned the HDMI support? The Samsung Series 5 might look a bit prettier, but a slightly better looking chassis and a memory slot are simply not worth eighty dollars more. The fact that it has a lower quality screen and doesn’t support HDMI puzzles me, as well- you’d think the Acer Chromebook would be the one without HDMI support, given the lower price.

Anyway, there’s my two cents.  Out of the two Chromebooks being released on June 15th, Acer’s the way to go.

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Related posts:

  1. Acer Finally Launches Its Chromebook: Was It Worth The Wait?
  2. Video: How to Switch into Developer Mode on the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook
  3. The Samsung Chromebook Gets Torn Apart

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24 Responses to “Acer versus Samsung: Which Chromebook is Better?”

  1. Yiannis

    14. May, 2011

    First of all thanks for comparing those two, i was looking everywhere to find a comparison. I really can’t decide after this too. Can’t they realease a samsung chromebook with HDMI and a better screen? Nah i don’t know, maybe it’s too early? Maybe we should wait for more manufacters? I would pay the 80$ for a beautiful chromebook. I just don’t like this acer, it’s like a dell from the 90s.

    I think the best is to wait just a little bit more. Time will tell.

    P.S the chromebook “sticker” on the samsung is veeery sexy.

  2. Cougar Abogado

    14. May, 2011

    Thanks for the review, Nicholas, I really appreciate it. I’d like to make two comments, on the Acer:

    I believe it has 6 hours of battery life and does come with a 4-1 (including SD) memory slot.

    I’m unsure how much this would change your analysis, if at all.

    What I’d also like to see is how much of a difference 12.1″ makes versus 11.6″ and if the Acer keyboard feels cramped, at all. Looking at my 17″ HP laptop, the keys look like they’re all touching each other, so I imagine I’d notice little, if any diminution of use, with the Acer.

    Thanks, again.

  3. Sawyer

    15. May, 2011

    Although you’re rightly going off the information you have available, I think there’s more to the comparison. The keyboard will be the deciding factor for me, and I’m fully expecting the Samsung to get the edge here once the hands-on reviews start to come out. I have an Acer netbook with the same screen size and similarly flat keyboard, and it isn’t much fun to use.

    With regards to resolution, although the Acer is better I can’t see what they’re gaining by using a full widescreen ratio. Web-browsing benefits from extra height, whereas width goes to waste.

    Also, if weight = better build quality, it’s a trade-off I’m happy with.

    I think you’re spot-on with the HDMI comment though. It makes a lot more sense than a VGA port.

    One more thing: neither has support for a wired connection via ethernet? In the real world, my Wi-Fi networks fail all the time. In fact, I’m tempted to buy the 3G version just so I have a backup connection for those occasions.

    Anyway, this was a good comparison. Thanks.

  4. Seiton

    15. May, 2011

    Thanks for this article !
    You can also add one point : the reflect screen (important for me, but I don’t find the information for the acer)
    The Samsung have à non-gloss display !

    *sorry for my english ^_^*

  5. nic

    19. May, 2011

    Hey, thanks for the info, I was looking for it because I received one of the samsung chromebooks today.

    I was mainly looking for the memory and storage….it seems quite strange to me using chrome, you can’t just view these things. As well, with only 2gb of ram I get super choppy playback on higher quality youtube videos and sometimes, depending on the site, I will receive the “crash error”. This states something along the lines

    “The tab has failed, may have run out of memory, you can try to reload the tab if you like”

    As for the comments above,I completely agree about the keyboard size, this one here seems to be pretty decently sized along w the slightly larger screen.

    I’ll try to remember to come back here and provide more feedback.

  6. Cougar Abogado

    19. May, 2011

    nic, how did you score a (non-Cr-48) chromebook, already?

    Are you a journalist doing a hands-on review?

    I had assumed the general public could get its hands on a chromebook only on or after June 15.

  7. nic

    19. May, 2011

    No, I’m not a journalist, they had filled out a form to beta test the laptop for my company and I was selected.

    Overall, I’m not 10% sure how to rate it yet. The fact that a video or two can cause the system to run out of memory is a bit annoying but I’m also thinking this is a regular laptop, which it isn’t.

    Overall I enjoy the quality of the build, and the ability to install apps on the fly and use the nearly instantly. Just be sure to not expect this to be like a normal laptop…….and I want to install more RAM to see if that will help – but at the same time, I don’t want to take it apart.

    I’ll try to upload some pictures of this model because it looks similar to the samsung in the picture but not quite the same. The finish is a rubberized-style finish that comes with a little batch of stickers to customize it. I used the main one which takes up the whole top cover and put a chrome sticker on top of that but I may take it off shortly. I kind of like the idea of having this be all black, with no logos or representation.

    Oh and 1 last thing, this only has 1 USB port, not 2 and I wish I could play AVI’s off of my SD Card :( .

  8. Cougar Abogado

    20. May, 2011

    Thanks for the update, nic. I’m looking forward to your uploads.

  9. jfm

    09. Jun, 2011

    samsung well beter

  10. John

    14. Jun, 2011

    Get the Acer version. 16:9 and it has HDMI.

    6.5 hours vs 8 hours battery life. Is the only thing left as it has already been reported the Samsung version feels tacky.

    Are you really going to use it for 8 hours without a power outlet nearby?

  11. Nicholas Greene

    14. Jun, 2011

    Nic: Shame that the Samsung performed poorly for you. Hopefully the Acer is of higher quality.

    John: That was basically what I concluded in the article. Acer is clearly the better choice of the two.

  12. John

    14. Jun, 2011

    Nicholas: It was good article. Just felt reaffirming the point after arguing with mates that believed the Samsung version was better beacause it was made by Samsung…

    Hope potential customers read your review.

  13. Bret

    15. Jun, 2011

    Thanks for the review, Nicholas.

    I’ll echo Sawyer’s comments about the keyboard. I really dislike Acer’s flat-style keys, and I haven’t quite made up my mind yet but that may be a deal-breaker regardless of potentially better value. If I don’t like using it it isn’t worth jack.

    I hadn’t thought about the 1280×800 resolution being better suited to web applications but that’s another good point: I’ll likely not be watching a lot of HD video on it, and if I do it’ll be in 1280×720 anyhow.

    I get that the SD slot is kind of gee whiz but personally I’d rather have a “dedicated” and more importantly non-protrusive flash card for additional offline storage than a USB drive that will inevitably get bumped/broken with travel and storage. And I know I’ll use the space, especially with Google Music. Or maybe I’m just trying to rationalize opting for the Samsung.

    I really don’t get the VGA thing… if I could rationalize this somehow as well I’d probably be sold on the Samsung even with its higher price tag.

  14. [...] available on the market. The Samsung Series 5 shipped as planned, right on schedule. Now, I know I haven’t exactly been a proponent of this model, myself. To me, at least, the Acer Cromia just seemed the best choice of the two. It was more [...]

  15. [...] available on the market. The Samsung Series 5 shipped as planned, right on schedule. Now, I know I haven’t exactly been a proponent of this model, myself. To me, at least, the Acer Cromia just seemed the best choice of the two. It was more [...]

  16. [...] when I compared the two systems, I concluded that the AC700(then unnamed) was the superior of them. And you know what? In spite of [...]

  17. [...] when I compared the two systems, I concluded that the AC700(then unnamed) was the superior of them. And you know what? In spite of [...]

  18. [...] swing on over to Amazon. If you’re on the fence regarding which Chromebook to purchase, read this.  Oh, and this is probably relevant [...]

  19. [...] swing on over to Amazon. If you’re on the fence regarding which Chromebook to purchase, read this.  Oh, and this is probably relevant [...]

  20. Greg

    12. Sep, 2011

    If Acer Chromebook just has the Chrome logo on it, it would win with me! Acer looks much cooler in my opinion, but the Samsung is nice to. I think we should all wait to see what will be available. These Chromebooks could change for the better

  21. Anon

    09. Jan, 2013

    I realize this article is a bit old so maybe that’s why all these specs for the Acer laptop seem wrong but the Acer version is a piece of crap compared to the samsung version. The Acer only has about 3 and a half hours of battery life but a 320gb hard drive. Great for if you absolutely want to store a ton of movies, photos, music, etc. But the Samsung has a way better battery life and naturally the solid state should make it faster than the Acer’s normal hard drive.

  22. maryann

    13. Jul, 2013

    sorry, but I love my acer . THis thing is super fast and display is great. Obviously this is not a computer but for what I need it for, surfing, netflix, playing games and email this thing is great. Hope they make a bigger one with a bigger screen, I would not hesitate to buy another one.

  23. chromebook

    18. Oct, 2013

    Since Samsung fixed all the glitches that have been proven to come in their previous Chromebook, this unit has enhanced performance.
    These password managers have a database where all your passwords are stored in encrypted form and only you
    have the privilege of decrypting them. In addition you will find
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  24. doug salley

    17. Dec, 2014

    Today is 18 Dec. 2014, that’s three years or more since “nic” did this review. By any chance has he or others had hands on experience with each one. The ones I’m looking at is the 199.00 ones. I want to get one of them for me this Christmas…..doug

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