July 26, 2022

Article
9 min

8 Best Acer Chromebooks for Students

In this article, we go through hand-selected Acer Chromebooks by the Chromebook experts at CDW to explore their special features so you can decide on the best Acer Chromebooks for students from K-12 through college.

The best Acer Chromebooks for students have several special features in common, such as specialized durability features, an attractive price point, easy portability and long battery life. But you may be wondering which is the best for you.

In this article, we go through hand-selected Acer Chromebooks by the Chromebook experts at CDW to explore their unique capabilities so you can decide on the best Acer Chromebooks for students from K-12 through college.

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The Acer Chromebook 311 C722 offers the quintessential Chromebook experience—long battery life, light, compact and affordable. For students on the go and on a budget, this is a great choice—it can easily slip into a standard backpack, probably more easily than the standard math textbook.

While the case is all plastic, it has some special features that make it quite resilient. For one, it has a specially textured lid to make it easier to grip and less prone to drops. Additionally, it has a MIL-STD-810G military specification and has been battle-tested for drops, water, extreme temperatures, and a battery of other tests ensuring its durability. Especially for younger students who may not take the best of care of this Chromebook, it can endure a lot.

If you’re looking for business laptop-level performance, you won’t get it with the Acer Chromebook 311, but you will get a tough device that will allow to browse the web, stream video, and check social media and email.

Quick Tech Specs
  • Processor: MediaTek MT8183 / 2 GHz
  • Graphics: ARM Mali-G72 MP3
  • OS: Chrome OS
  • Storage: 32 GB eMMC
  • Display: 11.6” HD LCD
  • Resolution: 1366 x 768
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Weight: 2.58 lbs
  • Battery life: ~14 hours

Placing a heavy emphasis on durability, the Acer Chromebook C871’s tough construction makes it well-equipped for young students and day-to-day wear and tear. A few notable durability features include mechanically anchored keys that keep the keyboard intact, a gutter that routes liquid to the bottom of the chassis and a water-resistant touchpad to handle spills with ease. Even more, the Chromebook C871 is lined with a shock-absorbing rubber bumper lining the outer chassis. It can shake off a 4 foot drop easily.

The Chromebook C871 isn’t just great for students, it’s also great for school IT staff. Google Admin Console makes Chromebook deployment and management a snap. Chromebooks are also very secure due to their operating system, Chrome OS—it updates automatically to protect against modern viruses and malware so the IT team can focus on other things.

For a more in-depth review of the Chromebook C871, be sure to read the C871 review from EdTech magazine.

Quick Tech Specs
  • Processor: Intel Celeron 5205U / 1.9 GHz
  • Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics
  • OS: Chrome OS
  • Storage: 32 GB eMMC
  • Display: 12” HD+ LCD
  • Resolution: 1366 x 912px
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Weight: 3.31 lbs
  • Battery life: ~12 hours

There’s more to Chromebooks than being built like tanks, too. Both the previously mentioned Chromebook C871 and the Chromebook 712 feature a 12: HD IPS 3:2 aspect ratio display, which gives you 18% more space than a typical 16:9 aspect ratio display. It’s a squarish screen that means less scrolling and more finding what you’re looking for.

The Chromebook 712 is also constructed with video conferencing in mind, featuring Intel Wi-Fi 6 ([BP1] 802.11ax), providing wireless speeds three times faster than standard Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac). For students and teachers frustrated with less-than-ideal video conferencing conditions, this is certainly an important feature to consider.

Some of the creature comforts of the Chromebook 712 include the ample trackpad, USB Type C on both sides of the devices, USB Type A, a Kensington lock slot, and SD card reader to expand available storage. The Intel Celeron processor is a step above Intel’s base CPU for Chromebooks and provides extra oomph when it comes to multitasking and prevents slowdown when you have multiple browser tabs or applications open at once.

Quick Tech Specs
  • Processor: Intel Celeron 5205U / 1.9 GHz
  • Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics
  • OS: Chrome OS
  • Storage: 64 GB eMMC
  • Display: 12” HD+ IPS Touchscreen
  • Resolution: 1366 x 912px
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Weight: 3.31 lbs
  • Battery life: ~12 hours

The Acer Chromebook Spin 512 gets the “spin” moniker from its 360-degree hinge, with which it can be placed in tent, tablet, clamshell and stand mode. This makes it great for sharing amongst a group of students, presentations or creative activities.

It has similar durability features to the previously mentioned Acer Chromebook models, including a MIL-STD 810G build, reinforced and shock-absorbing rubber bumpers around its frame to guard against drop damage, a liquid-wicking gutter feature, a moisture-resistant touchpad and the ability to withstand upwards of 132lbs of downward force.

The Chromebook Spin 512 has an additional feature to strengthen the device—the display is made with BPR & EPA-compliant antimicrobial Corning Gorilla Glass to prevent cracks and scratches as well as odor and stains.

Quick Tech Specs
  • Processor: Intel Celeron 5100U / 1.1 GHz
  • Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics
  • OS: Chrome OS
  • Storage: 32 GB eMMC
  • Display: 12” HD+ IPS Touchscreen
  • Resolution: 1366 x 912px
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Weight: 2.87 lbs
  • Battery life: ~12 hours

If you’re looking for a more full-featured, lightweight Chromebook with an extremely long battery life and full HD display, the Acer Chromebook 514 fits the bill. While the specs mention (still remarkable) 15-hour battery life, users have reported 18 hours plus streaming video and even up to 20 hours. For students and teachers wanting a truly all-day battery life, you’d be hard-pressed to beat the Chromebook 514.

The MediaTek Kompanio 828 CPU is a mid-range processor that is up to handling multiple browser tabs and part of the reason for the excellent battery efficiency. While this processor may not cut it for a design- or video editing-oriented college student, it should be more than sufficient for the average K-12 student looking to write, do research on their device or take the occasional YouTube break.

This Chromebook 514 does not feature an SD card slot, so you may want to consider Google Cloud storage or another Acer Chromebook model if this won’t cut it for your needs.

Quick Tech Specs
  • Processor: MediaTek Kompanio 828 / 2.6 GHz
  • Graphics: ARM Mali-G57 MC5
  • OS: Chrome OS
  • Storage: 32 GB eMMC
  • Display: 14” IPS Full HD
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Weight: 2.87 lbs
  • Battery life: ~15 hours

What makes the Acer Chromebook 317 exceptional is its expansive 17.3” display, a first for Chromebooks. This makes this device ideal for having multiple windows open at once and easy multitasking. With the larger display comes a wider chassis, which accommodates a comfortable keyboard and numeric keyboard flanked by upward-facing speakers.

With these big features comes a heavier Chromebook: this device does weigh in at nearly 5lbs, so if easy portability is a priority, this may not be the best choice for an Acer Chromebook.

The Acer Chromebook 317 comes with a nice variety of ports, with two USB 3.2 ports (one Type-A and one Type-C) on the right side and an audio jack, microSD slot and security lock slot on the left. Note that the device does not have an HDMI port so you’d need a USB-C to DisplayPort or USB-C to HDMI adapter.

Strong battery life is also a feature of the Chromebook 317—it comes in around 9 hours, making it a strong performer amongst other mid-range Chromebooks in its class. If you prefer being able to have all your windows open at once and ample screen real estate for your Chromebook to watch a lesson video stream and work at the same time, this is great choice.

Quick Tech Specs
  • Processor: Intel Celeron N5100 / 1.1 GHz
  • Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics
  • OS: Chrome OS
  • Storage: 32 GB eMMC
  • Display: 17.3” IPS Full HD
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Weight: 4.85 lbs
  • Battery life: ~9 hours

A convertible Acer Chromebook, the Spin 513 is one of the first Chromebooks with the Snapdragon CPU, commonly seen in mobile devices. It is also ultra-portable at a mere 2.65 lbs and about the size of a piece of paper, placing the Spin 513 amongst the lightest and most portable amongst all Acer Chromebooks.

The touchscreen is responsive with stylus support and the keyboard is backlit. It features Gorilla Glass protection on the trackpad, giving it a nice responsive, clicky feel and is very conducive to touch gestures. While maybe not quite the battery life of its successor, the Chromebook 514, it is also a top performer in this respect, coming in around 14 hours.

Two built-in microphones provide above-average sound clarity for video conferencing lessons or homework sessions. The screen is fully convertible and can be used as a tablet for reading or flipped around when you need a break for video streaming and entertainment. The 513 does not have a microSD card reader so you would need to rely on Google Cloud storage or an external hard drive.

Quick Tech Specs
  • Processor: Snapdragon 7c Kryo 468 / 2.4 GHz
  • Graphics: Qualcomm Adreno
  • OS: Chrome OS
  • Storage: 64 GB eMMC
  • Display: 13.3” IPS Full HD Touchscreen 
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Weight: 2.65 lbs
  • Battery life: ~14 hours

The first notable feature of the Chromebook 315 is the above-average sized screen—while not quite as large as the Chromebook 317’s screen, it provides ample display real estate fit for classroom multitasking and media viewing. This configuration of the 315 has 8 GB RAM, which is comparable to the average business laptop. Additional RAM could be very helpful for students creating content or running multiple applications or browser windows without any hiccups.

Ports include a USB 3.1 Type-C port, a USB 3.1 Type-A port, a microSD card slot and audio jack on the left and a second USB-C port, USB-A and security lock slot on the right. While there’s no video output port, you can connect a DisplayPort or HDMI adapter into one of the USB-C ports for this purpose. The speakers flank the keyboard and provide crisp audio for a budget Chromebook.

Quick Tech Specs
  • Processor: Intel Pentium Silver N6000 / 1.1 GHz
  • Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics
  • OS: Chrome OS
  • Storage: 64 GB eMMC
  • Display: 15.6” IPS Full HD Touchscreen 
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Weight: 3.53 lbs
  • Battery life: ~10 hours

Summary

Whether you’re a student or IT administrator, Acer Chromebooks provide great functionality and durability for their price tag. CDW offers a slew of Google for Education services to complement your Chromebooks and Google Workspace for Education plans to elevate the classroom experience for both students and teachers.