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Acer 15 Chromebook Reviews: Release Date, Specs, Price, Hands-On Opinions

( [email protected] ) Jan 14, 2015 05:45 PM EST
Acer's newest Chromebook 15 is the largest of the popular Chromebook laptop computers, but does the 15.6-inch display defeat the purpose of the low-powered and low-priced cloud-based machine? We take a look at opinions and hands-on reviews from across the internet.
Acer's Chromebook 15 is a favorite among hands-on reviewers. Photo: The Verge

Acer's newest Chromebook 15 is the largest of the popular Chromebook laptop computers, but does the 15.6-inch display defeat the purpose of the low-powered and low-priced cloud-based machine? We take a look at opinions and hands-on reviews from across the internet.

The Chromebook 15 was first announced on January 3 of this year as an improvement over the previous 13-inch design. The larger model offers true 1080p resolution, the fifth generation Intel Broadwell processor, and only a slightly larger and heavier build considering the added display size.

The price starts at $249 for the low-end 2 GB version with a reduced screen resolution of 1366 x 768, but the specs top out at 4 GB of RAM and the Intel Core i3 processor for even more power.

"The screen is also dramatically improved, dumping the lower-end TN panel type for an IPS-style display with much better colors and viewing angles all around," Android Central said in their hands-on review. "The model we used was 1080p and looked really good, particularly for the price."

What really sets the Chromebook apart from a normal laptop is its dependence on the cloud for most software, meaning it needs to be connected to the internet for most functionality. This allows the "thin client" laptops to be extremely inexpensive, yet still stylish and technologically advanced enough to perform complex tasks. They rely on the use of the unobtrusive and lightweight web browser Chrome as the main interface.

"That idea works well enough in a small 11-inch laptop, where your expectations may be more in line with the limited power and capabilities of a Chromebook, but it's a risk for a machine with a 15-inch display, where users may expect more mainstream performance and features," CNET points out in its review.

But Acer has it figured out. "To thread the needle between small cloud-based Chromebooks and mainstream laptops, Acer is outfitting the Chromebook 15 with more powerful processors than most," CNET continues.

"A white fabric cover adorns the outer shell on the display," Small Biz Trends adds in its site review. "This is a unique feature that you won't find on too many other devices. And it's also designed to add some extra grip when transporting the Chromebook 15."

The Verge has similar kudos for the new Chromebook, speaking well of a black version that they got to play around with at this year's CES. "All told, Acer's actually made something very reminiscent of the black MacBooks that many people often opine fondly about, and together these things appear to make the Chromebook 15 feel like one of the most well-rounded Chromebooks made yet."

The Chromebook 15 will be available in February for $249. The higher-speced models have yet to be priced at this time, but the company is also beefing up its 13-inch model with a touchscreen and offering it for $329.