Acer’s New and Large Chromebook: A Laptop Done Right – Forbes
It’s already been a year since my 20-inch iMac died — may it rest in peace. Instead of replacing it with another large desktop computer, however, I opted for a 13.3-inch Toshiba Toshiba Chromebook laptop. Random screen glitches aside, it’s been phenomenal. Lightning fast. Portable. Virus-free. And of course, inexpensive — as Chromebooks tend to be.
But I do miss the larger screen. So when I saw that Acer Acer recently debuted its Chromebook 15 series of what it bills as the “industry’s first Chromebook with a 15.6-inch display,” I had to try one. My demo model — the C910-54M1 — ran on an Intel Intel Core i5-5200U Dual-Core Processor (2.2GHz).
Once you use any Chromebook for an hour, you’re ultimately familiar with every model. In this case, I opened up the sturdy black laptop with its nicely textured cover, hit the power button, and was looking at a gorgeous silky matte screen with a bright, rich colorful full-HD 1080 display within two seconds. Maybe even quicker. I loaded up my Google Google account, and almost instantly was up and running on a desktop screen identical to that of my Toshiba. All of my bookmarks and files were right there. I love that well-thought-out consistency of Google’s Chrome operating system.
Although this specific model is aimed at education and commercial customers, it’s also sold to consumers through the likes of Best Buy Best Buy and Amazon. It lists at $500, but the Chromebook 15 line models start at $300, depending on how they’re loaded.
At 4.85 pounds, this model has some heft. While not as easy to tote around as my lighter Toshiba, it’s still not difficult. Acer officials tell me it’s meant to be large, as it’s designed primarily for families who won’t travel much with it but want a large display while sharing the device. Besides, the majority of laptop sales reportedly remain at the 15.6-inch form factor. Perhaps because of its size, it also has a substantial feel — more so than many of the plastic-like Chromebooks on the market.
This model is fast, loading web pages and videos in the bat of an eye. Netflix movies and live TV streamed without any hesitation. And I loved the vibrant, glare-free screen. One thing I did find funky was that its keyboard size is seemingly identical to the smaller Toshiba’s — despite the larger front panel. The trackpad is also similarly sized. Acer took the rest of the real estate and installed nice-sounding, upward-facing speakers to the right and left of the keyboard. When my tween daughter initially set her eyes on it, she immediately asked why they didn’t make the keyboard larger and then let the speakers flank the very front of the laptop for more-direct sound. Leave it to a kid to point out what now seems obvious.
Battery life extended beyond Acer’s eight-hour benchmark, in my testing. And both USB ports — a 3.0 and 2.0 — worked nice and fast.
I’m bummed to return the demo model, and will especially miss the screen size that all on its own truly positions this Chromebook as a mainstream laptop.