If you don’t demand too much from your computer, these days you don’t need to spend much to get one that can do everything you want. That’s the working theory behind Acer’s Aspire One “Cloudbooks,” which despite their name are actually just low-spec Windows 10 laptops in the vein of HP’s low-cost Stream PCs.
There will eventually be four different Cloudbook configurations, two 11-inch models that will be available from Microsoft this month and two 14-inch models that will be available directly from Acer in September.
The 11-inch models are differentiated primarily by storage: the $170 model includes a paltry 16GB eMMC SSD, while the higher-end $190 model includes a somewhat-less-paltry 32GB. Both include 1366×768 displays, a 1.6GHz dual-core Celeron N3050 based on Intel’s Braswell architecture, 2GB of DDR3L RAM, one USB 3.0 port, one USB 2.0 port, an HDMI port, a headphone jack, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, a VGA webcam, and an SD card reader. Acer promises 7 hours of battery life, and all models have touchpads that support Windows 10’s new multitouch gestures.
Intel’s Braswell chips include a cut-down version of the beefier Broadwell GPU, which means that with updated drivers these things can deliver full DirectX 12 support (albeit very low-end DirectX12 support).
The 14-inch models will come in 32GB and 64GB models that otherwise share the same specs with the 11-inch models. The 32GB model will cost $200, and we’re checking with Acer about the 64GB version’s pricing and availability. Battery life in the larger notebooks slightly lower at 6 hours, while weight goes up from 2.54 pounds to 3.5 pounds.
As the name implies, the low amount of local storage means you’ll want to lean on the cloud (or an SD card) to store many of your files. To that end, 16GB Cloudbooks include a one-year subscription for 100GB of OneDrive storage. 32GB models and “select 64GB SKUs” include 1TB of OneDrive storage and a Office 365 Personal subscription, both also good for one year.
The extra cloud and local storage and the free year of Office both make the $190 model the only one we’d seriously consider—we’ll give it a full review as soon as we can get one.