- Attractive and durable build
- FHD display
- Excellent sound quality
- Long-lasting battery life
- Great performance for a Chromebook
- Bulky for a Chromebook
- Color reproduction is a mixed bag
With a well-built and attractive design, strong performance and a 1080p IPS display the Acer Chromebook 15 offers a whole lot of value for its $350 price tag.
The Acer Chromebook 15 is a big beefy monster, and it’s beautiful. Most Chromebooks bank on being lean, lightweight travel devices, but the 15.6-inch Acer Chromebook 15 is big enough to be a desktop replacement notebook. Aimed at home users this laptop sports a beautiful FHD IPS display panel and considerable performance with a fifth generation Intel Celeron CPU. At $350 the Acer Chrome 15 feels like a great deal, but the limitations of Google’s OS may deter some users.
Build and Design
The Acer Chromebook 15 features a bright white plastic chassis. The brilliant white protective cover has a woven texture that feels great to the touch and provides extra grip when the screen is closed. A chrome logo sits along the top left corner of the lid with “acer” chrome lettering underneath.
The matching deck is outfitted in a slick white plastic. The black island-style keyboard contrasts nicely against the white plastic tray. Two white speaker grills sit on either side of the keyboard and the laptop’s power button is tucked neatly at the top-right of the keyboard.
The Acer Chromebook 15 feels exceptionally sturdy for a budget device. The display hinge allows for easy travel, but doesn’t wobble. The base of the chassis holds firm under pressure, and while there is slight give to the cover, the display doesn’t show any ripples when pressure is applied to the back of the device.
Measuring 15.1 x 9.7 x 0.95 inches and weighing 4.4 pounds is about what you’d expect from a 15.6-inch device, but it isn’t exactly portable. The Acer Chromebook 15 matches up well the 14-inch Chromebook which weighs in at around 4 pounds, but the 13-inch Toshiba Chromebook is considerably lighter at 2.95 pounds. The added weight of the Acer Chromebook 15 is understandable given the larger screen size, but it may not be the best option for those that want a Chromebook as a “take everywhere” laptop.
The Chromebook 15 offers decent connectivity for a budget device. The left side features a standard HDMI connector, a USB 3.0 port, and a combo mic/headphone jack. The right side offers a Kensington lock slot, a USB 2.0 port and a full-size SD card reader. An Ethernet connector would have been a nice addition considering this is a Chromebook and relies on being constantly connected to the Internet to access all of the laptop’s features.
Display and Sound
A lot of budget devices use cheap, low-resolution displays in order keep production costs low, so it’s nice to see the Acer Chromebook 15 offer a 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS display. With a brightness rating of 228 nits, the Chreombook 15 falls well below most mid-range devices, but the anti-glare panel still offers solid viewing angles. Images hold up well past 130 degrees without any color loss. The dimmer screen does make the display somewhat susceptible to lighting, as the screen produced a reflective sheen despite the anti-glare surface and colors appeared washed out in direct and heavy lighting.
Images appeared sharp and the screen offers excellent readability, making it ideal for browsing the web. Color reproduction on the other hand was a mixed bag. When watching a trailer for The Witcher 3:Wild Hunt the display did a fantastic job capturing the bright blues of the skyline and the bushy green foliage of the landscape. However, the screen struggled to capture the bright orange hue of the flames, the colors appeared dull and faded. Criticisms aside this is still one of the best displays we’ve seen from a Chromebook.
One of the bright spots for the Acer Chromebook 15 is its speakers. The Chromebook 15’s speaker placement makes the device surprisingly boisterous, as it’s easily capable of filling a modest size room with audio. Admittedly the bass is flat, but Notebook Review was still impressed by the laptop’s ability to accurately depict an orchestral track at max volume without any noticeable distortion.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Acer Chromebook 15 features a black island-style keyboard. The black square plastic keys are rounded at the corners and have a slick feel to them. Travel distance is decent and the keys quickly pop up after being compressed. Feedback isn’t exactly forceful, but it is consistent. The editors at Notebook Review found it easy to quickly and accurately type on the Chromebook 15, and for a budget device that’s all you can really ask for.
Located to the bottom right of the space bar is the generously sized touchpad. The white plastic pad is devoid of buttons, and the slick surface allows for easy travel. The entire pad acts like a giant button and is compressed when clicked. Clicks, swipes and multi-finger gestures all read incredibly well with no delay.