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The Acer R11 is a low end chromebook targeting a specific audience: users who want a cheap web browsing device that doubles as a somewhat usable tablet. It’s a device held back by both its age and its price; at nearly $400, it’s outclassed by better, newer offerings from other companies, but its small size and practical use as a tablet make it a niche contender for the best chromebook for writers on a budget.
The Acer Chromebook R11 Convertible is a compact chromebook with okay performance, a decent 11 inch display, and great versatility when in tablet mode thanks to supporting the Google Play Store, which allows it to run Android apps. For basic use like Google Docs and using the in-built Google Chrome browser, it’s a solid buy. However, just like the Acer Chromebook R 11, it offers limited storage.
The display on the Acer Chromebook R11 Convertible is, by every definition of the word, average (if you need a chromebook with better display, then you should read our Acer Chromebook Spin 13 Review). You’re looking at a basic 11.6” 1366×768 IPS panel with chunky bezels and touch support, which could be better, though it could also be far worse. Its use of IPS technology is interesting for this screen size and resolution; most 768p panels are garbage TN panels with terrible viewing angles, colors, etcetera, while the panel on this is decent. Its contrast ratio is very low, but colors are solid enough for the price, and its resolution is sufficient when used as a laptop. That said, if display quality matters, you’re better off with an Acer Chromebook 514 or Asus Chromebook Flip C302; both have better screens and better hardware at a similar price point, though they cost a bit more.
Battery life is pretty great on the Acer Chromebook R11 Convertible. Its small screen and aging processor seem like they would suggest poor battery, but that’s far from the truth; at half brightness, it lasts just over 9 hours on a charge, which is excellent for such a small screen. It should last through extended writing sessions with ease, with juice to spare.
At 2.76 pounds, the Acer Chromebook R11 Convertible toes the line between usable and clunky as far as tablets go. For a laptop, it’s more than light; you’ll be able to chuck it in a bag and carry it around with ease, and its weight is fairly average for its size class. As a tablet though, it’s on the chunkier side; holding a nearly-three pound 11” slate like a tablet for extended periods of time would not make for a fun experience.
Durability is decent but unexceptional on the Acer Chromebook R11 Convertible. It employs a mostly-plastic chassis at a price point where aluminum is nearly standard, though it at least has an aluminum lid. The laptop is textured to improve grip, making it easy to carry around, and build quality is overall adequate. It’s a cheap-looking but functional machine that should hold up reasonably well over time, though aluminum would have really been nice to see.
Input selection is a bit lacking on the Acer Chromebook R11 Convertible. It has 1 USB 2.0 Type A port, 1 USB 3.0 Type A port, an HDMI port, an audio jack, full-sized SD card slot, and an HDMI port. The exclusion of USB C is unfortunate, as is the gimped USB 2.0 port, but HDMI is very nice to see; chromebooks rarely employ it. Its keyboard is mediocre, with awkward spacing and a soft, spongy feel.
The Acer Chromebook R11 Convertible is an aggressively mediocre machine. Outside of its light weight and small screen size, nothing about it sticks out in any way. Its screen is mediocre, its performance is sluggish, its design and build material are mediocre, and it’s heavily outclassed by other similarly priced machines. I’m not expecting anything close to Google Pixelbook i7 levels of quality, but when infinitely-better-in-every-way machines like the Acer Chromebook 514 exist at very similar prices, it’s very difficult to recommend the Acer Chromebook R11 to anyone. If you absolutely need its smaller frame and its somewhat usable tablet mode, it’s a passable buy, but most users are better served with a larger, better machine.