Chromebooks are slowly creeping into the mainstream and starting to take on the PC market share and for good reason. They’re cheap, fairly well built and they’re cheap. For the most part Chromebooks have stayed in the under 13″ screen size range and a lot of them ran slow processors. Acer aimed to change my mind about Chromebooks with their Acer Chromebook 15. Let’s see if they did, this is the Acer Chromebook 15 review.
- Chrome OS™
- Intel Core i3-5005U Dual-core 2 GHz
- 15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 Active Matrix TFT Color LCD/LED Backlit
- Intel HD 5500 with Shared Memory
- 4 GB, DDR3L SDRAM
- 32 GB SSD
- Webcam and microphone
- IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
- 1 USB 2.0 and 1 USB 3.0, HDMI
The Chromebook 15 design is nothing to write home about, it’s pretty standard plain Jane laptop design. The white model that I was provided has a textured body so it’s pretty easy to grip and gives it a little personality. So let’s just get this out of the way, this Chromebook is large! It’s larger than my 15″ MacBook Pro Retina and larger than every laptop I have in the house. It’s not slim but it’s not overbearingly thick either. The plastic it’s made up of doesn’t exude high end construction but it’s also not cheap junk. There’s a good reason why this Chromebook is large, it’s sporting a 15.6″ screen with a 1920×1080 resolution, one of the largest Chromebook screens out there. The speakers are one of the better design points of the Chromebook 15, built in next to the keyboard they really do give a great sound. There not super rich or full of bass mind you, but they’re very capable and I really liked their placement.
The keyboard is another great thing here, many manufactures are following along in Apple’s wake with the chiclet style keyboard and the Chromebook 15 has a great one. One of the things I did miss on this device though is having the keyboard backlit, that would have been a great bonus. One area of concern for me was the flexing of the screen where it meets the body at the hinges. It’s very easily flexed with your finger which might be an issue. Overall the design is a good one for a Chromebook, it’s not high end but it’s also not a K-Mart special.
The 1920×1080 15.6″ display on the Chromebook 15 is pretty amazing given the price for this thing is around $449. It’s a flat matte finish so it does fairly well with glare and has a nice wide viewing angle. One of the issues I had with Chromebook’s in the past were their small screens and low resolutions, Acer fixes those issues with a massive screen and HD resolution. Video and movies look excellent on the device, colors are decent, blacks and whites are acceptable. It’s by no means a high end super display but it is one of the better displays you’ll find on a Chromebook.
Running Chrome OS there really isn’t too much to talk about here. Chrome OS continues to become more and more capable and the idea behind it is storing files in the cloud and using online applications instead of native applications. Google has managed to make it work pretty seamlessly, especially if you’re cued into their ecosystem. The small SSD (32GB) shouldn’t be an issue with 100GB of Google Drive included with this machine.
In the past I have tried to make Chromebooks my main machine but never could get it to work for my needs. The biggest obstacle was the small screens and low resolutions. The Acer Chromebook 15 has that licked and with an Intel Core i3 processor and HD 5500 graphics, this machine is more than capable for what it is intended for. I’ve been using it for over a week now as my main machine and it’s performed perfectly. It used to be I would say that you couldn’t run Photoshop and other programs of the sort on a Chromebook but with Adobe putting their applications in the cloud (currently for education users only), you should be just fine with this machine.
Battery life on the Chromebook 15 is also a winner winner chicken dinner. Acer says you should be good to go with 8 hours of battery life and they’re right. I was able to pull just over 8 hours of constant use with screen brightness at max. Of course results may vary but it’s a solid battery performer.
Coming in at $449 the Chromebook 15 is pretty fairly priced for the size screen you get and its resolution. Add to that the Intel Core i3 and overall performance of the machine and you’ll have a machine that should be good for the next 4-5 years. Google also does an amazing job of keeping Chrome OS updated and their update times are quick and fast, nothing like the Windows Update experience.
If you’re in the market for a Chromebook with a nice big beautiful screen and a good price tag, look no further than the Acer Chromebook 15, it changed my mind about Chromebooks.