When we think about “Chromebook,” the image that comes to our mind is a small and cheap computer with basic hardware. And to be honest, that’s exactly what most Chromebooks are. However, things have changed.
Acer Chromebook 15 is the world’s first Chromebook with a 15.6 inch display. So far, this laptop is not only the largest Chrome OS powered laptop to ever exist; it’s also the first Chromebook with Intel’s fifth generation processor. The Acer Chromebook 15 has a lot more than just a big display. A latest and powerful Intel processor, 4GB of RAM, a 1080p display along with a durable battery, these surely worth the $350 price. After all, if you like the Chrome OS and looking for a cheap desktop replacement, this could be the best choice for you.
- Decent performance
- Good battery life
- Strong build
- Powerful speakers
- Full size keyboard
- Large touchpad
- Big display
- Full HD IPS screen
- Affordable price
- Relatively large
- Plastic body
- Software incompatibility
- Lack of connectivity ports
- Often crashes
- Brand: Acer
- Series: Chromebook 15
- Model: CB5-571-C09S
- Processor: Intel Celeron 3205U 1.5 GHz
- Graphics: Integrated Intel HD graphics
- Memory: 4GB DDR3L SDRAM
- SSD: 32GB
- HDD: none
- Optical Drive: none
- Display Type: IPS TFT screen with LED backlight
- Screen Size: 15.6 inch
- Screen Resolution: 1920×1080 (16:9)
- Audio: 2x upward facing speakers
- Keyboard: Island style full size keyboard with numeric keys
- Navigation: 4.2 x 3 inch touchpad
- Webcam: 720p
- Video Ports: HDMI port
- Audio Ports: Combo headphone/microphone jack
- Total USB Ports: 2
- USB 2.0 Ports: 1
- USB 3.0 Ports: 1
- Media Ports: SD Card reader
- Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
- Network: none
- Bluetooth: 4.0
- Ethernet: none
- Battery: 4 cell 3220 mAh Lithium Ion battery
- Battery Life: 9 Hours
- Width: 15.09 inch / 38.3 cm
- Depth: 9.65 inch / 24.5 cm
- Height: 0.95 inch / 2.4 cm
- Weight: 4.8 pounds / 2.17 kg
- Operating System: Chrome OS
- Warranty: 1 year Limited
- Base Price: $349.99 on Amazon
Build and Design
Like the previous Chromebook of Acer, this one is also made of plastic. But somehow Acer managed to build a strong body. The build feels quite solid and sturdy. The whole exterior part of the laptop is texture wrapped with Chrome and Acer logo on the top left side. The texture provides good grip, so it will be easy to carry this laptop around.
Now, if you open the laptop, there is a big 15.6 inch screen and a black island style keyboard on the deck. There are two upward facing speakers beside the keyboard as well. Just below the keyboard, there is a big palm rest along with well spaced touchpad.
With the battery, the laptop weighs 4.8 pounds and has a 0.95 inch thickness. As we can see, it’s not the thinnest or the lightest laptop on the market. On top of that, with its 15.09 x 9.65 inch profile, it’s probably the biggest Chromebook as well.
So far I’ve seen, the island style keyboards are quiet and comfortable to type on and keyboard of the Chromebook 15 is not an exception. The keys are black, so the white lettering gives decent contrast. The keys are spaced, comfortable and provide good feedback. Besides, the keys have good travel time with a depth of 1.3mm.
The keyboard followed the standard Chrome layout. So, the top row has keys for functions such as back, forward, refresh, full screen, window switcher, brightness, volume and power. However, the keyboard missing Home, Page Up, Page Down, and Delete keys, and as a Windows user, it really bothers me.
For a $350 laptop, the touchpad is really amazing. Its spacious (4.2 x 3 inch), accurate and provides a good response.
Though there is a lot of space on the side, portability feature of the Chromebook 15 is not that much rich.
On the left side, there are the power input, a USB 3.0 port, a 3.5 mm combo headphone/microphone jack and an HDMI port.
While on the right, there is the SD card reader, a USB 2.0 port along with a Kensington lock slot.
As I see, these ports are enough for a Chromebook. However, a couple more of USB ports could be better.
To most of the people, the display of the Acer Chromebook 15 is the main attraction. 15.6 inches IPS screen, 1080p resolution, 141 ppi pixel density, what more do you expect from a $350 laptop.
The screen is quite bright (230 nits) and has a good viewing angle. However, the color quality of the screen is not much appealing. As seen from the test, the Chromebook 15 can display 60% percent of the sRGB color gamut at best. It’s kind of low, as the average laptops have an 82.8% rate.
The upward facing speakers of the Chromebook 15 are just beside the keyboard. As I’ve tested, they are really loud, powerful and sharp. When tested, I was able to get a maximum of 86 dB from the speakers. To enjoy music and movies at home, you won’t really need any external speakers.
The model I tested had a fifth Gen dual core Intel Celeron 3205U processor, 4GB of RAM and 32 GB of SSD. As I see, these are perfect for a Chromebook, when it comes to performance. Even under heavy pressure, the laptop hasn’t once stuttered or shown any signs of lag. That’s really something, if you compare with previous generation Chromebooks in this price range.
However, when tested, I ran into some crashes. On more than one occasion, the laptop came to a hanging stop and hard reset was my only option. Personally, I believe it’s because of some mismatch between the OS and the processor. It probably will be fixed by Google and Intel in no time.
Heat and Noise
When it comes to generating heat, the fifth Gen Broadwell processors are quite good. Even under medium to heavy pressure the laptop runs cool and quiet. After watching videos on YouTube for half an hour, the temperature of the bottom of the laptop was 31 degree Celsius which is almost same as room temperature.
Considering the hardware and screen size, the battery life of the Chromebook 15 is over the top. When I tested the battery life, by watching videos, browsing the internet and listening to the music, its 4 cell 3220 mAh battery lasted exactly 8 hours 25 minutes. To be honest, for a $350 laptop, it’s really amazing.
The fifth Gen processors are new and there isn’t much to customize. However, Acer made 4 different models of Chromebook 15 with price range $250 – $350. Check the specs and see which one suit you better.
Moreover, for power users, Acer is going to release 2 more versions of this laptop with fifth generation (Broadwell) Intel Core i3 and i5 processor.
To be honest, with the Chromebook 15, Acer takes Chrome OS where it’s never been before; mainstream computing. Anyway, considering all the aspects, the Acer Chromebook 15 is a good investment. Its large display is good for Web surfing, light graphics work and home entertainment. If you love multi tasking, and were disappointed by the performances of previous Chromebooks, trust me… its performance won’t disappoint you.
After all, if you need an everyday laptop within affordable price, if you love the Chrome operating system, if you don’t mind the size… there’s nothing better than the Acer Chromebook 15!