Premium Chromebooks are making somewhat of a resurgence because of the lead of Google’s Pixelbook. Acer has been prior to the game for a long time though, having first introduced the Chromebook 15 in 2015 with a more substantial screen, a high-quality build, and beefed-up internals. It had been always among the most significant Chromebooks available – and 2017, it returned with refreshed hardware for improved performance.
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Our Acer Chromebook 15 review unit was the CB515-1HT-P39B, a $400 thin and light notebook predicated on Google’s Chrome OS operating-system. In addition, it supports Google Play, meaning you can download and install Android software directly to the device while also enjoying web-based programs served up through Google’s Chrome ONLINE STORE. Backing the 15-inch 1080p display is Intel’s Pentium N4200 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage.
It originated from outer space
Save for the keyboard keycaps and underneath of these devices, Acer’s Chromebook sports a Pure Silver finish. It’s a stunning notebook and the metallic “spaceman” exterior does an excellent job covering your ugly fingerprints. A reflective metallic trim outlines the bottom and touchpad while a dull black strip borders the display frame and spills into a dark hinge.
This hinge turns a complete 180 degrees, enabling the Chromebook to lie completely flat and face up, in order to share the screen with anyone. But that does mean there’s no cool Tent or Stand mode just like the Google Pixelbook and Samsung’s Chromebook Pro. Aesthetically, the hinge’s dull-black color does an excellent job visually obscuring the gap between it and the bottom, if you don’t pull the Chromebook up near your eyeballs.
It’s a beautiful notebook computer and the “spaceman” metallic exterior does an excellent job concealing fingerprints.
Typically, we see laptops with screen borders in a dark color to supply the illusion of an edge-to-edge screen. Acer isn’t hiding anything here with the Chomebook 15: all bezels match the Pure Silver theme seen through the entire design. The bezels on the sides certainly are a decent 0.5 inches wide, so you’re mostly not seeing the framework. The Chromebook’s 0.9MP camera (720p) is a back “eye” surviving in the silver bezel right above the center of the screen.
Overall, the Chromebook measures 14.9 inches wide, 10.1 inches from front to back, and 0.75 inches high. In comparison, it’s thinner than Lenovo’s ThinkPad 13 Chromebook (0.78 inches) despite its larger screen, but thicker than Google’s Pixelbook (0.4 inches) and the Chromebook Flip C302CA created by Asus (0.54 inches).
The Acer Chromebook 15 remains the only option if you wish Chrome OS on a 15-inch laptop. HP and Acer make 14-inch models, and the others have 13-inch screens – or smaller.
Connectivity can be good. On the left side you’ll discover a USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 port that supports power input plus a USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 port. On the proper side you’ll discover a headphone/microphone combo jack, one microSD card reader, another USB-A port and yet another USB-C port that also supports power input.
Everything you won’t find here’s dedicated video output, such as for example HDMI or DisplayPort, but those could be piped through the USB-C ports with the right adapter. This isn’t anything new with Chromebooks, but given the bigger 15.6-inch form factor you may assume there’s enough room for Acer to set up dedicated video output. Maybe that is a concealed restriction for Chrome OS devices to push sales of Google’s Chromecast.
Everything you also won’t find can be an Ethernet port for wired networking. Instead, the Chromebook uses 2×2 Wireless AC component supporting Wi-Fi connections up to 867Mbps. In addition, it includes Bluetooth 4.2, in order to wirelessly hook up compatible headphones, peripherals, Android-based devices, and more.
In comparison to other Chromebooks, Acer’s port selection isn’t bad. For example, Lenovo’s ThinkPad 13 Chromebook provides two USB-C ports, two USB-A ports, and a microphone/headphone combo jack. This Acer supplies the same, but with yet another microSD card slot. In the event that you shrink right down to Google’s Pixelbook and Samsung’s Chromebook Pro, the port arsenal is reduced to just two USB-C ports and a microphone/headphone combo jack.
The night time the atomic keys arrived
As mentioned, Acer ripped out the quantity pad to install both facing speakers. But that also meant the keyboard would have to be compacted to a tiny degree, taking on around 11 inches of space from left to right. This doesn’t affect typing whatsoever regardless if you come off a broad mechanical keyboard, as our experience felt quite comfortable and natural. The main element caps felt plenty wide too, and each key press was firm and quiet. The keyboard carries a white backlighting that’s better observed in dark environments than in well-lit spaces.
Meanwhile, the touchpad felt super responsive, and it allowed us to go the curser at the lightest touch. It supports Chrome OS features such as for example scrolling with two fingers, swiping left and right using two fingers, right-click tapping with two fingers, and more. The touchpad itself matches the Pure Big screen while feeling glass-like to your fingertips.
A display from a not-so-another world
As mentioned, the screen is founded on IPS technology, which promises rich colors and wide viewing angles in comparison to older displays. However the viewing quality is determined by the content. For example, the backgrounds provided on the Chromebook are gorgeous, vibrant, and sharp. The Chrome OS interface is merely as pretty, with deep blacks and sharp, highly-colorful icons. However when we pulled up well known movies on Google Play, colors looked slightly beaten up.
Backing the visual clarity is a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, a seemingly new standard in Chromebooks. The Google Pixelbook and the Samsung Chromebook Pro actually break the two 2,400 x 1,600 barrier, but those two sacrifice physical screen size (12.3 inches) for the bigger resolution. A lot more, Acer’s Chromebook can increase than its default with a weird 2,160 x 1,215 resolution that’s not really a “recommended” setting.
The final little bit of the presentation is Acer’s brilliant speaker placement. Generally, when speakers are mounted on underneath of the notebook you can still hear the audio tracks bouncing off the top underneath the notebook or more through the keyboard. The effect could be metallic, muffled, and distant to a degree for the reason that audio tracks isn’t directed towards your ears.
However in this case, both speakers are pointed directly at that person. The sound is crisp and “holy cow it’s loud,” absolve to penetrate your ears without obstructions. But what’s missing this is a bass component for adding audible “depth” as Loki explodes through NEW YORK in The Avengers. Since it stands now, the sound is quite treble-centric as the bass-heavy explosions can sometimes cause a distorted mess. Still, you get big sound with this Chromebook, and we think it’s great.
Journey to the guts of the Chromebook
The Acer Chromebook 15 is powered by Intel’s Pentium N4200 processor. It involves four cores with a base speed of just one 1.10GHz, and a boost speed of 2.50GHz. The N4200 isn’t meant to be considered a powerhouse, but is quite a chip that delivers great performance while only eating six watts of power. It’s at best a sideways move from the Celeron 3205U processor in the last Chromebook 15. Though it has more cores, the architecture inside Pentium N4200 isn’t as modern as that in the Celeron 3205U, that is a barebones fifth-generation Intel Core in disguise.