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The Acer Chromebook 317 is the world’s largest Chromebook to date, with a display spanning 17.3 inches in diagonal width. Announced Thursday at Acer’s [email protected] virtual event, this behemoth is due to ship in June with a starting price of $380. But that price should be a big hint: Aside from the size, this laptop is modestly configured in every other way.
The display’s the thing with the Chromebook 317, of course. I don’t think anyone actually enjoys squinting at the 11-inch displays that come with the smallest, least expensive Chromebooks—though that’s a good overall size and weight class for deploying to grade-school students. It took a little while for 13-inch and 14-inch Chromebooks to appear, offering some visual elbow room, and a few 15-inch models eventually joined them. A full 17.3 inches is untold luxury.
Here comes the big caveat: resolution. The display, which offers both touch and non-touch options, is Full HD (1920×1080)—a solid choice for 13-inch or 14-inch screens, but a stretch for 15-inch displays, let alone the Chromebook 317’s vast plain. Everything will be bigger, but not necessarily finer. Also, while the Chromebook 317 is theoretically portable, its size (15.8 x 10.5 x 0.9 inches) and weight (5.18 pounds) are best for short hops from the kitchen to the living room.
Acer stuck largely to Chromebook-level configuration standards otherwise. The dual USB-C ports are a plus—you charge from these ports, too. The CPU options include just low-end Pentium and Celeron, however. The maximum RAM is 8GB, and the storage is a sparse 128GB eMMC.
The Chromebook 317 still deserves notice because its bigger display is a world’s first, and potentially a boon to users who struggled to see or share work on smaller models. Just don’t expect it to do much more than any other Chromebook can do. It simply does it with a larger screen.
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Melissa Riofrio spent her formative journalistic years reviewing some of the biggest iron at PCWorld–desktops, laptops, storage, printers. As PCWorld’s Executive Editor she leads PCWorld’s content direction and covers productivity laptops and Chromebooks.