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Acer's Chromebook 11 brings USB-C charging to entry-level laptops

Acer’s hiding a quiet revolution in its mainstream Chromebook 11: two USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5Gbps) Type-C ports, which work for connectivity and for charging. Don’t run in a panic to the dongle store—you still get two USB 3.0 Type-A ports (whew!). But USB-C has remained rare in entry-level machines like the Chromebook 11. This tells us the tide is turning, and all the benefits of USB-C will soon be available even at budget levels. 

Chromebook 11 specs and features

The Chromebook 11 CB311-8HT and CB311-8H, announced Saturday at CES and due to ship in April, otherwise represent a simple refresh of the company’s longstanding and popular product line. The pricing will start at $249. Here are the specs and features we know.  

CPU: Intel Celeron (part numbers were not specified)

RAM: 4GB is the only amount offered.

Display: 11.6-inch, 1366x768 IPS in touch (CB311-8HT) or non-touch (CB311-8H)

Storage: 16GB or 32GB eMMC

HDR webcam (high dynamic range, which should deliver better image quality) with integrated microphone

acer chromebook 11 cb311 8h and 8ht 06 Acer

Connectivity:

  • Two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C ports
  • Two USB 3.0 Type-A ports
  • One microSD card reader

Weight: 2.43 pounds

Thickness: 0.71 inch (no other dimensions were provided)

Battery life: Up to 10 hours

As with other recent Chromebooks, the Chromebook 11 supports the Google Play Store, so you get access to all the Android apps you could possibly want. Google’s still working on making these apps more Chromebook-friendly, but their simple availability has increased the usefulness of Chromebooks beyond education and basic web browsing. 

Acer’s Chromebook 11 is so mainstream you might overlook it. This year, with Android app support and especially USB-C, it’s a sign that the average computing experience is moving forward—but gently, so you’re not shut out of your precious USB-A peripherals  just yet. 

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