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Chromebook for Work, liquid-cooled 2-in-1 steal the show at Acer’s New York PC refresh

Acer has struggled as of late, but that hasn’t kept the company from giving every category its best shot. On April 21, a conference in New York City revealed a massive computer line-up aimed at attracting consumer attention in North America, especially in the high-end and gaming markets.

Interestingly, Acer heaped attention on its Chromebook 14 for Work. This is a new version of the Chromebook 14 that is designed for serious enterprise use, as part of Google’s “Chrome for Work” program.

As an enterprise-oriented product, it’s designed to be durable, with a Corning Gorilla Glass case that can be customized to a business’ spec (to show a corporate logo, for example), spill-resistant keyboard, drop-testing from up to 48 inches, and full adherence to the MIL-STND 810G spec. Battery life is quoted at 12 hours. The system is also powered by a standard Intel Core processor, instead of Core M or Pentium.

Acer brought the heat to IFA 2015 with the unveil of its redesigned Predator gaming notebook line, and the Predator 17 is our favorite mobile gaming rig. Now, the company plans to offer even better performance with the Predator 17X, a huge system with triple-fan cooling that intakes through the front and exhausts out the rear, like a desktop tower. The laptop also supports overclocking, and Acer says test samples have hit a stable 4GHz overclock, an impressive improvement over the typical 2.6GHz clock speed of an Intel mobile quad.

In addition, Acer announced the G1 gaming desktop. It’s a high-end, yet mid-sized, desktop tower with up to GeForce GTX Titan X graphics, 6th generation quad-core processors, and up to 64GB of RAM. It fits in above the previous G6 and G3, which could at best equip a GTX 980, giving Acer a much-needed boost in the extreme gaming desktop category. The system includes LED lighting and can easily handle the minimum requirements of Oculus’ Rift and HTC’s Vive.

The gaming announcements wrapped up with the Z1 monitor, a 27-inch curved panel with G-Sync and 1440p resolution.

Two new convertibles were announced at the event. First is the Switch Alpha 12, Acer’s rumored high-end detachable 2-in-1 notebook. It’s a fanless system, yet it features an Intel Core processor rather than the less powerful Core M. It’s the first of its kind to squeeze that chip in. Acer says the Switch Alpha 12 manages this with a LiquidLoop cooling system inspired by gaming systems.

It includes a 12-inch display featuring 2,160 x 1,440 resolution and, as you might expect from a 2-in-1, has a “versatile kick-stand design” that make it possible to prop the system up at various angles.

Obviously, the Switch Alpha 12 is meant to compete with the Surface Pro 4. Compared to Microsoft’s device, the Acer has a faster processor, and is a better value (its keyboard is included, rather than an accessory).

That’s joined by the much larger, redesigned R 15, which uses glass fiber design to “improve rigidity while maintaining a thin profile.” It can be equipped with up to 6th-gen Intel Core processors, up to 12GB of DDR4 memory, up to Nvidia GeForce 940MX graphics, and a 15.6-inch 1080p display.

Finally, Acer announced a new traditional notebook, the Aspire S 13. Starting at $700, the device includes Intel Core 6th-gen processors, a 1080p display, and up to 13 hours of battery life. None of that sounds incredible exciting, but it seems clear this is meant to compete with the Asus Zenbook UX305, our favorite low-cost ultrabook. The Aspire S 13 might have a chance – at the least, its processor should prove more powerful than the similarly priced UX305 (Asus just announced a new version with a standard Core chip, but it’s $750).

The S 13 is joined by a substantial update to Acer’s more affordable notebooks. The F15 and E-Series notebooks have been updated with the full line of 6th-gen Intel Core chips, along with optional Nvidia GeForce GTX 950M graphics. The more affordable ES 15 has also been updated with the latest Intel hardware – along with several new color choices.

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