One of the Cloudbook's greatest features is how small and light it is. I could hardly feel the difference of carrying it inside my backpack, so the Cloudbook scores high marks for mobility. However, you'll need a reliable online connection to make the most of the machine. Although it's not quite as reliant on the cloud as a Chromebook, it presumes that you're already comfortable with keeping as little on the local drive as possible.
The 32GB model has almost half its hard drive filled up with Windows 10 and default apps right out of the box. That should be plenty of room for small apps like Netflix or Hulu Plus, and you could even install one or two games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, but it's a limitation that you'll always need to keep in mind.
Here is the Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 11 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
- Spec Sheet - subhed
- CPU: 1.6GHz Intel Celeron N3050 (dual core, 2MB cache, up to 2.16GHZ with Turbo Boost)
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics
- RAM: 2GB DDR3L
- Screen: 11.6-inch, 1,366 x 768 LED-backlit
- Storage: 32GB eMMC, SD Card Reader
- Ports: 1 x USB 3.0 port, 1 x USB 2.0 port, HDMI, headphone jack
- Connectivity: 802.11a/c dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
- Camera: 640 x 480
- Weight: 2.54 pounds
- Size: 11.5 x 7.95 x .70 inches (W x D x H)
The Cloudbook features hardware that's comparable to laptops like the Asus Transformer Book Flip and HP Pavilion x2, so choosing the right system is mostly a matter of price. You might also consider extra features, like how the Asus TP200SA and HP Pavilion x2 both have touchscreen displays and convert into a tablets.
For all intents and purposes, the Cloudbook is a purely straightforward laptop with a very low price point. The least expensive configuration starts at $169 or £179 (about AU$386), and the most expensive (14 inch, 64GB) is exclusively available in the US and costs $249. There's only a $10 difference between the 11.6- and 14-inch 32GB models.
Although the Asus Transformer Book has more storage, memory and ports, which makes it a more attractive buy, Acer's minimal features means a low price. Both it and the HP Pavilion x2 have touchscreen displays, and the two systems feature hardware that has about the same weight and size as the Cloudbook.
In terms of added value, both the Pavilion x2 and Acer Cloudbook come with a free year of Microsoft Office 365 and 1TB of OneDrive storage, giving the two machines a leg up one the Asus.
Given the Cloudbook's hardware, you'll want to limit yourself to online and web applications as often as possible. However, the solid state drive helps programs launch quickly, and you can use some lightweight apps like Photoshop Express for basic photo editing without a significant performance drop. Cortana's responsiveness to voice commands doesn't seem to suffer much, either.
Here's how the Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 11 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
- 3DMark: Cloud Gate: 1,540; Sky Diver: 1,039; Fire Strike: 241
- Cinebench CPU: 60 points; Graphics: 12.95 fps
- GeekBench: GeekBench: 925 (single-core); 1,658 (multi-core)
- PCMark 8 (Home Test): 1,225 points
- PCMark 8 Battery Life: 6 hours and 39 minutes
Even though the Cloudbook's hardware is comparable to the aforementioned Asus and HP systems, benchmarks indicate that its battery falls hour short compared to its competitors. In my testing I found the budget Acer notebook to last for 6 hours and 39 minutes at best. That's really the only factor that matters, since all other areas of performance match very closely to each other.
The Cloudbook is designed to be reliant on online applications, so overall performance isn't too important. Except the problem is that the same can be said for any low-memory system running Windows 10. Deciding to pick up a Cloudbook compared to almost any other budget laptop comes down to price and usability concerns, like how the Cloudbook's screen has some bad viewing angles.
- A 1-year subscription to Office 365 and 1 TB of OneDrive storage