The Acer Chromebook R 13 (CB5-312T-K5X4) convertible delivers just about all the right features you’d ned from a basic laptop, plus extras like USB-C port, a sturdy design and almost 12 hours of battery life.
PROS: Almost 12 hours of battery life. Large 1080p HD screen. 4GB of memory.
CONS: Keyboard is slightly stiff.
Nowadays, PC manufacturers position Chromebooks like the Acer Chromebook R 13 as prime choices for folks looking for budget laptops. In addition to attractive prices, majority of the top-rated Chromebooks boast compact designs like the 11-inch Asus Chromebook Flip or the Acer Chromebook R 11, our recent Editors’ Top picks.
The R 13 goes to the extern by including an expansive 13.3-inch Full HD (1920-by-1080) screen, that’s easy on the eyes and likely to appeal to a wider audience. To that, add a sturdy all-metal construction, 360-degrees convertible design and almost 12 hours of battery life, and you have an affordable system that is part of our recommended Chromebooks.
Design and Features
The Chromebook R 13 measures 0.61 by 12.83 by 8.98 inches (HWD) and weighs 3.3 pounds, which is average for a 13.3-inch laptop. That said, the Chromebook 15 still light enough to carry one-handed and thin enough to fit easily into most backpacks. Design-wise, the Chromebook R 13 won’t win any awards—it’s pretty nondescript, with a sparkly silver (and Google Chrome roundel) lid and keyboard deck. Its 360-degree convertible design provides the perfect flexibility and intuitive touch experience with four modes: Notebook, Display, Tend and Tablet modes.
The 13.3-inch LED-backlit IPS screen is sharp and bright, with a 1,920-by-1,080 (full HD) resolution. This is a major step from the usual 1,366-by-768 resolution that is common among smaller Chromebooks like the Acer Chromebook R11 and CTL J5 Chromebook. It gives some extra space, albeit small, that will be valuable if you’ll be working on a large spreadsheet or occasionally processing word document. Plus, the sharp screen lets you stream YouTube videos and stream other media at greater levels of detail.
The size is good for sharing among two or three friends, meaning you can binge on the latest “Walking Dead’ series on Netflix together or even join a group webcam session together using the built-in HD webcam. Its viewing angles are good, but not the best for a Chromebook, since it shows some dimming in off-center picture quality.
The keyboard itself is chiclet style and, as on most chromebooks, the Caps Lock key has been replaced with a Search key. It’s easy enough to type on, though key travel is a bit short and may take some getting used to. he one-piece touchpad is wide enough for everyday use and responds quickly to multitouch inputs.
Connectivity is good, including a USB 3.1 (Type C) port with DisplayPort over USB-C support, one USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port, a Kensington lock port and a headset jack and microSD port, that lets you ass to the system’s 32GB of eMMC flash storage. The Chromebook has dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 for wireless connections. You’re likely to spend most of your time with the laptop connected to your office/home wireless router or a public hotspot.
Our test unit was configured with a MediaTek MT8173C Core Pilot Quad-Core ARM Processor with Integrated Imagination PowerVR GX6250 Graphics and 4GB of system, and was snappy booting up and managed to open multiple web apps during testing. In fact, I managed to load almost five websites side-by-side, all with HD videos without any hiccups. The processor and memory were quite good for multitasking, especially in situations when you’re copying and pasting text from a website, word processing, or live streaming videos. The Chromebook R13 is certainly capable enough for the home/office user who needs an affordable entertainment solution and for the school user too.
For a chromebook this grandeur, battery life is a major highlight. If you’ve owned a larger laptop, except for ultrabooks, keeping an AC adapter at hand during the day is not optional. The Acer Chromebook R 13 lasted 11 hours 53 minutes during our tests. This is impressive, and enough for a full day’s work, and to that you add a few hours of relaxation. Compared: that’s longer than the Acer Chromebook R 11 (10:35), Lenovo Thinkpad 11e (7:35). Still, the Asus Chromebook C202SA (12:05) and CTL J5 (12:21) were able to outlast the Acer CB5-312T, but not by a significant margin.
The Acer Chromebook R 13 (CB5-312T-K5X4) has a 13-inch 1080p HD IPS screen, a sturdy construction, a quad-core processor, better-than-average system memory and storage and good connectivity. Its only drawback is perhaps a slightly keyboard. We are convinced that this chromebook comes close to the ideal for the category, and a viable alternative to traditional Windows or Mac, that often cost far much more. That makes it a recommendable choice, especially for work, home and college use. If you want a Windows laptop at a budget less than a chromebook, consider our Editors’ Top Pick the ASUS F556UA-AB32 laptop, with Intel Core i3 processor 4GB memory and massive 1TB storage.