Review: Acer Chromebook 15
Highlight – The Chromebook 15 strikes a perfect balance between affordability and quality
When it comes to Chromebooks Acer is perhaps one of the most prominent brands in the market, as they have released more models than any other brand. Acer’s constant releases of various Chromebooks is not necessarily just a means to corner the market, but more to offer a laptop that is capable of suiting everyone’s needs. To do this Acer has Chromebooks in varying sizes and with a range of different features and designs. Their latest offering is the brand-new Acer Chromebook 15, set at a $199 price tag, making it a fairly affordable laptop for just about anyone.
What’s In The Box
As is typical with Chromebooks, there’s nothing special inside of the box that comes along with the Chromebook 15. You’ll find the laptop itself, along with the charging brick and the power cable that plugs into a wall outlet. Other than that there’s nothing else to find, which is standard.
From Chromebook to Chromebook the specifications and hardware tend to be pretty similar, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t vary. Acer has equipped the Chromebook 15 with a familiar crop of specs, beginning with the size of the display. As the name suggests, Acer has fitted this Chromebook with an HD 15.6-inch screen, carrying a resolution of 1366 x 768 with LED backlighting and 16:9 aspect ratio. The processor inside is powering the laptop is an Intel Celeron Dual-Core N3060 CPU, clocked at 1.2GHz, which is also paired with 2GB of LPDDR3 SDRAM. The Acer Chromebook 15 is fitted with an integrated Intel HD 400 graphics card. It has 16GB of internal storage, a standard across many Chromebooks in the market. There’s also a an SD card reader on board for expandable storage beyond the 16GB, with support for up to 128GB if you happen to need more room.
The Chromebook 15 supports Wi-Fi 802.11ac with 2×2 mimo technology and Bluetooth 4.2 for connectivity. There’s an HD webcam integrated for use with video chat which also supports High Dynamic Range, and according to Acer the battery life should be able to give about up to 12 hours on a single charge with the 3,950mAh battery that’s inside the laptop. It should be noted that milage here will vary user to user, but this is mostly in line with what we experienced during our time using the device, however we’ll get into that a bit later. Weight wise it comes in at about 4.3 Lbs. and for ports the Chromebook 15 has two USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI out port, one 3.5mm audio port for plugging in headphones, and one port for the ac adapter.
Hardware & Design
Design wise the Acer Chromebook 15 doesn’t look too much different from other models in Acer’s camp or other Chromebooks for that matter. That said, this is still a great looking Chromebook and especially considering that the unit will cost just $199. For that price, Acer has used a plastic shell for the body of the Chromebook, although it certainly looks to have a metal design with the backside of the lid having a smooth brushed metal finish to it. True to form with just about any other Chromebook to date, the new Acer Chromebook 15 comes sporting the familiar Chrome logo in the top left corner of the lid, along with Acer’s logo below it, although it isn’t raised like it is on Acer’s recently launched Chromebook 14 that was released earlier this year in June.
On the bottom you’ll find five rubber feet which help to keep the Chromebook in place when sat on a desk or tabletop, and the underside of the Chromebook 15 has more of a rigid look to it when compared to the lid and inside of the laptop, as well as a slight textured feel which seems to give it some grip, at least that’s the impression I got personally when carrying the Chromebook around. Other than the feet on the bottom side, you’ll find vents for the airflow that Acer has put in place to keep the laptop cool when being used. On the sides is where you’ll find all of the ports that you can utilize and connect to. On the left side of the Chromebook there’s one USB 3.0 port, the single HDMI out port that was built in, and power and audio ports for plugging in the ad adapter and a pair of headphones.
On the right side you’ll find the second USB 3.0 port as well as the digital media card reader. By all accounts, the Acer Chromebook 15 is designed with a minimalist style that is not flashy in any way, and that’s just fine if you’re looking for something with a simple look to it that is meant more for helping you get things done than looking good sitting on a table at a coffee shop. Having said that, simple doesn’t mean the Chromebook 15 isn’t good looking, as mentioned above Acer have made a good looking laptop here.
Acer has given the Chromebook 15 a dual speaker design and you’ll find these on either side of the keyboard when you flip up the lid to reveal the screen and keyboard. Both speakers span the height of the keyboard, leaving a fairly large area for resting your hands when typing, and directly in the middle is the decently sized trackpad, which, has a very tactile and responsive feel to it. Just clicking it a few times is all that’s needed to see that Acer have put some thought into this particular area, although it’s still a ways off from the trackpads on some more premium laptops. Speaking of responsiveness, this continues with the keys on the keyboard which are very clearly easy to type on and big enough for anyone who is used to typing on a larger sized keyboard. The keys look and feel evenly spaced as well, and although there is no backlighting for the keys which will ultimately make it more challenging when trying to use the Chromebook in more dimly lit situations, the keys seem to feel and function quite nicely which should be the main concern. Essentially, they don’t feel cheap in any way which is actually impressive given that it is on the lower end of the pricing scale of all the available Chromebooks out there. Acer have also used a dual-hinge design for this Chromebook model which is something you’ll see from more than a few Chromebooks that are on the market.
Overall, the design of the Chromebook 15 is certainly understated, but it still looks good and feels good when using it. Everything seems to be thoughtfully considered to the point where anyone could enjoy using this laptop, although if I had one complaint from a personal standpoint it’s that the keyboard took a little getting used to as it is a bit different from my day to day computing machine, and by different I mean slightly larger. That said, Acer has designed an all around quality looking Chromebook for the cost.
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