Chromebooks are tremendously successful in the US education system, and Acer in particular is among the more prominent players in this market. Thus it comes as no surprise that the company has announced a brand-new device geared to this segment, the Chromebook 712 (going as "817" for commercial customers). Its durable, hardened exterior is paired with the latest Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies on the inside while the laptop also offers a decent selection of ports.

Since the Chromebook is geared towards the education market and might go through clumsy fingers, Acer was quick to highlight the laptop's spill-resistant keyboard and its child safety certifications. This doesn't seem to affect the 712's looks, though, as its all-black, understated plastic design could as well find a spot in a business environment.

Specs

Display 12-inch LED-backlit TFT IPS LCD, 1366x912, 3:2 aspect ratio, touch screen option
Software Chrome OS
CPU Intel Core i3-10110U (2.1 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 4.1 GHz, 15 W)
Intel Pentium Gold 6405U (2.4 GHz)
Intel Celeron 5205U (1.9 GHz)
RAM 4GB single-channel DDR4, 8GB dual-channel DDR4
Storage 32GB or 64GB eMMC
Battery 48Wh Li-ion battery
Webcam 1280x720p webcam
Connectivity 2x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 (USB charging 5V, 3A; DC-in up to 20V, 45W)
1x USB 3.0 port
3.5mm headphone jack
microSD card reader
Wireless connectivity Intel Wireless Wi-Fi 6 AX201
802.11/a/b/g/n/acR2+ax wireless LAN
Dual Band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz)
2x2 MU-MIMO technology
Bluetooth 5.0
Measurements 296 (W) x 229 (D) x 21.5 (H) mm
Color Shale Black
Price Starting at $329 / €299

The 1366x912 IPS screen is fairly small at 12 inches, but its 3:2 aspect ratio is a welcome move away from the 16:9 format many competitors still use. It should help you see more website content at a glance and make it easier to work with Word or Google Docs. The Chromebook 712 is powered by either a 10th-gen Intel Core i3, a Pentium Gold 6405U, or a Celeron 5205U. These processors can be supported by 4 or 8GB of RAM, and the laptop offers storage configurations of 32GB and 64GB. The integrated microSD card reader will help you expand that meager file depot. A 48Wh battery should provide you ample screen-on time away from sockets, but Acer hasn't shared how many hours we can expect yet.

On the sides, you'll find two USB-C connectors supporting USB 3.2 Gen 1. USB-A 3.0 and a headphone jack aren't missing, either. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 support should make the laptop pretty future-proof, too.

The Chromebook C712/871 will first be available to education and commercial customers in North America, starting at $329 in March. Europe, the Middle East, and Africa will see the Chromebook starting at about €299 in May. Exact pricing and available configurations will differ by region.

Clarification: Two USB-C ports, not three

This post previously stated the Chromebook came with three, not two USB-C ports. It has been updated to correct that. Thanks, everyone who pointed it out!