Acer Chromebook C740 review

A laptop a high schooler might love

The C740 Chromebook
The C740 Chromebook

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If you've made it this far into a Chromebook review, you probably realize that there are some limitations to the Chrome operating system when compared to Windows and Mac OS. Chromebooks in general are focused on web-based applications that are run within your browser, whereas Windows and Mac-based devices rely heavily on both browser-based and embedded applications.

This means you're more likely to be able to perform a plethora of web- and application-based processes simultaneously on Windows and Mac-based devices. On a Chromebook, however, you'll rely heavily on processes that run within tabs on your Chrome browser.

This is especially true of the Acer C740. When you're in Chrome, you can bounce around between tabs and windows with very little delay. But if you try to download programs from the Web store, you'll quickly realize how little 16GB of storage is, and how much your Chromebook will sputter the closer you get to that mark, as I did when I loaded about 13GB of photos and applications onto the C740.


Here's how the Acer Chromebook C740 performed in our suite of Chromebook benchmark tests:

  • Octane: 13,700
  • Mozilla Kraken: 2,137
  • Sunspider: 335

When compared to the Pixel 2, the C740 pales in comparison. In the Octane benchmark, which measures a JavaScript engine's performance on the given hardware, the Pixel 2 receives a score in the 24,000 range among third-party outlets. The C740 scored only a 13,700.

The Pixel 2 outperformed the C740 during the Mozilla Kraken test, which also measures speed by pushing the installed JavaScript engine, by achieving a score in the range of 1,400, compared to the C740's 2,137 (a lower score is better during the Kraken test).

In our final JavaScript rendering test, Sunspider, the Pixel 2's 300 range is slightly better than the C740's 335 (lower is better).

The head-to-head between the Dell Chromebook 11 and the C740 was pretty even. For all three tests (Octane: 11,500, Kraken: 2,600, Sunspider: 340), the Dell Chromebook 11 performed comparably on multiple third-party tests. So, if you're torn between the Dell and the Acer Chromebook, you should consider the benchmark tests a wash.

Battery life

Unfortunately, battery life is also basically a wash. The Acer C740 was able to last for 9 hours and 35 minutes with video on a loop, and brightness and sound set at 50%. With more real-life activity, such as document composition, email and web browsing, the C740 still lasted just more than nine hours.

The Dell Chromebook was able to last more than eight hours with screen brightness set to around 60% while our editor surfed the web, managed emails, watched a few videos on YouTube, edited documents in Google Docs and Google Sheets, checked the news on Feedly and performed Google search in the Chrome browser.

The Chromebook Pixel lasted 8 hours and 22 minutes with the screen brightness to 50% while our tester tabbed between 20 webpages, listened to Google music and streamed video on Netflix.

So, you're getting an extra hour of battery life if you choose the C740. This is a clear victory for Acer, but not one that should singlehandedly alter your purchase decision.


The Dell Chromebook comes with a neat feature designed to boost interactivity in the classroom. The Dell "activity light" feature lets students click icons within proprietary education apps in order to trigger a corresponding light that appears on the laptop's lid to let the instructor know that students are ready to participate. This feature blows any of Acer's education-based features out of the water.

For example: the Acer Chromebook comes with a Kensington lock slot, so that teachers can lock laptops up in a wireless cart or lab after the school day. The C740 also comes with a web-based management console that allows for remote management of apps and policies across all Chromebooks in the network.

This means administrators can update what appears or what can be accessed on all devices remotely, so no need to waste time in the classroom asking students to update individual systems. But see? Boring.

Acer Premier Care is provided to US-based Acer education and business customers purchasing more than 100 C740 Chromebooks. These customers receive phone service and support if their fleet needs adjusting.