Bigger Chromebooks appear to be making a little bit of a comeback just lately. Whereas many of the ChromeOS gadgets you should buy are inclined to favour small codecs, normally constructed round a 13in show, with many individuals now utilizing them as a workhorse within the dwelling, an even bigger panel could be a actual profit.
Acer has recognised this new development and its response is the Chromebook 515, full with a 15.6in show. However, does greater all the time imply higher?
Design & Construct
Plastic and steel development
358 x 241 x 24.9mm dimensions
These used to the light-weight, compact nature of Chromebooks may be a little bit bowled over after they first encounter the 515.
It’s a big gadget on this class, with its sizable dimensions making it one thing of a surfboard when in comparison with the likes of the HP Chromebook x360 14c, however across the similar as the opposite latest huge ChromeOS machine, the Asus Chromebook Flip CX5.
The supplies used within the development do hold the load to manageable degree, with 1.7kg feeling nearly snug to lug round. Plastic is deployed for the bottom part, whereas the vast majority of the lid is made out of steel with a matte end that appears sensible and paying homage to many different Chromebooks I’ve reviewed these days.
You received’t discover any of the flamboyant 2-in-1 fashion hinges on the 515, because it thinks of itself as a laptop computer moderately than hybrid, presumably as a result of lack of a touchscreen. You may push the show down flat on a desk although, if that’s the kind of factor you love to do though I am unsure who does and what for.
For essentially the most half, it’s a secure setup, however jiggling the gadget a little bit bit did see the show tilt again, so the hinges aren’t fairly as tight as they may very well be. That being mentioned, I didn’t expertise any issues with the angle altering by itself throughout my time with the gadget.
On the underside of the 515, there’s a big air flow grill to maintain issues cool, plus twin downward-firing audio system. Every little thing is stored secure and in place on a desk because of the 2 rubber ft on the entrance and a protracted rubber bar on the again.
Keyboard & Trackpad
Full keyboard together with quantity pad
Gorilla Glass TouchPad
After I reviewed the Asus Chromebook Flip CX5 I commented on how the addition of a quantity pad to a Chromebook simply felt mistaken, because it offsets the keyboard from the centre of the show and complicates the simplicity that makes Chromebooks so good to make use of.
Acer has taken the identical method with the 515 and it nonetheless leaves me with the identical impression. Private gripe apart, the primary keyboard took a little bit little bit of getting used to, because it’s a bit spongy and naturally not central. However after about half an hour I reorientated myself and located that I might fairly fortunately kind away at close to my common speeds.
I did make extra errors than regular although, so except you actually need a quantity pad in your laptop computer, I’d counsel testing an Acer Chromebook 515 before you purchase one (the identical goes for the Asus).
The quantity pad itself is completely usable, albeit with slim keys that may really feel a little bit cramped at instances. However, in case you enter figures into Google Sheets or different workplace software program regularly, you’ll discover it a really helpful possibility to make use of. A backlight additionally makes typing on the Chromebook 515 doable at the hours of darkness.
Beneath the keyboard, you’ll discover a pill-shaped indentation that’s dwelling to the fingerprint sensor. That is turning into extra of a daily function on Chromebooks these days, though I’ve by no means seen one this slim but it surely appears to work okay though extra floor space could be preferable.
The touchpad is a strong one, because of the Corning Gorilla Glass panel on prime. Cursor actions are swift and correct, with the pad itself a great measurement for shifting it round. Multi-touch gestures are supported and all work effectively, with easy responses to the fingers.
Display, Audio system & Webcam
15.6in Full HD IPS show
Stereo Audio system
Clearly, one of many main promoting factors of this gadget is the show. With the Chromebook 515 you get a 15.6in Full HD IPS panel, which presents loads of house for displaying internet pages, streaming leisure content material and dealing on workplace paperwork.
As talked about earlier, there aren’t any touchscreen capabilities on this laptop computer within the UK which is a little bit of a disgrace, however this does imply you get a much less shiny display which doesn’t endure from reflections as a lot as these with touch-enabled panels.
A Core i3 mannequin with a touchscreen is on the market within the US for an additional $50.
The standard of the show is nice, with sharp definition and color, though the latter can really feel barely muted at instances. Whereas the matte display avoids glare and reflections, making it good to make use of exterior, the 320 nit most brightness counterbalances this because it actually isn’t a powerful sufficient backlight to deal with very sunny days.
Acer appears to be positioning this gadget as one for ‘hybrid’ staff (those that work from home and the workplace), so there’s a great likelihood that it would spend its life on a desk within the again bed room, the place it could fare very effectively certainly.
Above the show, there’s the usual webcam for video-calling, one other important function for the trendy hybrid employee. Acer doesn’t state the standard of the digicam, however Google Chat supplied 720p as the very best setting obtainable, so I feel it’s protected to imagine that that is the correct most high quality.
With sufficient mild, you get a good picture on the calls, but it surely’s fairly straightforward to overpower the digicam with robust mild sources, which in flip blows out the surfaces it touches.
Principally, in case you sit subsequent to a window whereas on a name, it’ll appear like there’s a brilliant highlight shining in your face. If you wish to shield your privateness when not utilizing the digicam, there’s a bodily lens cap which you can slide over to cowl the digicam. Easy, however efficient.
The dual audio system can generate a stunning quantity of quantity, with no noticeable distortion when on its loudest setting because of the DTS Audio and Sensible amplifier options.
Greater frequencies are undoubtedly essentially the most outstanding, with bass fairly missing as is common for a laptop computer, however for streaming video content material and a bit of sunshine listening to music, it should serve its objective.
Specs & Efficiency
11th-gen Intel Core i3/i5
Acer opts for a 3GHz Intel 11th Gen (Tiger Lake) Core i3 processor within the Chromebook 515, which is a good little bit of silicon that copes effectively with the calls for of ChromeOS.
And not using a touchscreen, there’s little level in utilizing the Chromebook 515 for video games as they continue to be primarily touch-focussed. However in relation to engaged on Google’s workplace software program, streaming Netflix content material, or having plenty of tabs open whereas utilizing Chrome, I didn’t discover any slow-downs or different hitches.
The processor is aided by 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM and a 128GB PCI-Specific SSD for storage. This entire mixture may very well be deemed a little bit overkill for a Chromebook, as ChromeOS is a light-weight working system, however I am not complaining and if you wish to open up the gadget to make use of Linux apps, then this further oomph will certainly be helpful for desktop-class software program.
Within the US, each Core i3 and i5 fashions can be found now with the latter arriving within the UK in Q3. Acer’s web site mentions a Core i7 possibility too however I am advised that will not be launched within the UK.
Right here’s how the Acer Chromebook 515 fared in our commonplace set of benchmark assessments so you may see the way it compares to a few of its rivals:
Ports & Connectivity
2x USB-C (3.2 Gen 2)
With its bigger body, the Chromebook 515 has room for some ports that you just don’t all the time see on Chromebooks. These embody a full-size HDMI port and a microSD card slot.
Becoming a member of these are two USB-C (3.2 Gen 1) and one USB-A (3.2 Gen 1) port in addition to a 3.5mm headphone jack. There’s additionally a Kensington Lock if you wish to safe the gadget to a desk whereas out and about.
When it comes to connectivity, the 515 has some respectable appointments. Wi-Fi 6 will hold issues sprightly on-line (as long as you have got a Wi-Fi 6 suitable router after all), plus there’s Bluetooth 5 for connecting to audio system and different peripherals.
Battery Life & Charging
3-Cell Lithium-Ion battery
65W most cost ranking
45W charger included
Acer doesn’t state the dimensions of the battery within the Chromebook 515, but it surely does reveal that it’s 3-cell, Lithium Ion selection and has a most cost provide of 65W. You received’t get this out of the field although, because the charger included within the field is rated at 45W.
The corporate states a 10-hour lifespan on a single cost, however in our looped HD video check I noticed the battery drain from 100% to zero in just about bang on Eight hours.
This can be a bit disappointing, because the Asus Flip Chromebook CX5 managed an hour and forty minutes extra. You’ll nonetheless get by way of a working day, however possibly have to recharge if you wish to use the gadget within the night.
That provided charger will get you from 0- to an inexpensive 39% in our common 30-minute check.
Software program & Apps
Loads of offline apps
Can run Linux
For those who’re unsure what a Chromebook runs by way of software program, it isn’t Home windows or macOS, however Google’s personal ChromeOS.
For those who’ve ever used the Chrome browser then it should seem instantly acquainted. Due to the simplified nature of the OS, it’s straightforward to familiarize yourself with and is usually a sensible choice when recommending gadgets to relations that don’t know a lot about computer systems.
It’s additionally straightforward to offer tech assist remotely because of a number of the built-in options comparable to Chrome Distant Desktop.
Google has a great vary of free software program that runs on Chromebooks, comparable to its workplace suite (Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides), plus different private productiveness apps like Google Hold, Google Duties and Google Calendar.
After all, you’re not restricted to those, and also you’ll discover loads of options within the Chrome Internet Retailer. You may as well run many Android apps on a Chromebook, plus as we talked about earlier than there’s the choice of establishing Linux.
Add these collectively and you need to have just about all bases coated, and it received’t price you any further.
Worth & Availability
You should purchase the Acer Chromebook 515 (CB515-1W) at £499 within the UK from Currys (it is unique for now) or from $649 within the USA direct from Acer.
Alongside the model I’ve examined right here, you may choose to maneuver as much as extra highly effective processors, with the highest possibility being an Intel Core i5, in addition to extra storage and RAM.
Core i3, 8/128GB – $649/£499
Core i3, 8/128GB, touchscreen – $699
Core i5, 8/128 – $799
Core i5, 16/256GB – $999
The primary contender to the 515 is the Asus Chromebook Flip CX5 which has dropped from its preliminary £650/US$869.99 price ticket to across the similar record value because the 515.
Though, in case you don’t require an enormous show, you then’ll discover loads of respectable choices in our roundup of the most effective Chromebooks.
The Acer Chromebook 515 is a good providing for many who need a big show and loads of energy for common ChromeOS duties.
The omission of a touchscreen within the UK (and solely on i5 fashions within the US) will probably be a draw back for some, however the lack of glare on the show might effectively make up for this.
Acer is positioning the 515 because the Chromebook for hybrid staff, and I can see how this may very well be a really helpful gadget to have in your desk at dwelling, albeit one that may battle exterior as a result of dim show.
Acer Chromebook 515: Specs
15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS show (16:9 facet ratio)
3GHz Intel 11th Gen (Tiger Lake) Core i3 processor
8GB of LPDDR4X RAM
128GB PCI-Specific SSD
2 x USB-C (3.2 Gen 1)
1 x USB-A (3.2 Gen 1)
Micro SD card reader
3.5mm headphone enter
357.9 x 240.5 x 24.86mm