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Acer Chromebook 15 (2017) review: A big Chromebook that's a big bargain

This big-screen alternative to tiny Chromebooks is a big bargain.

Xiomara Blanco Associate Editor / Reviews - Tablets and monitors
Xiomara Blanco is an associate editor for CNET Reviews. She's a Bay Area native with a knack for tech that makes life easier and more enjoyable. So, don't expect her to review printers anytime soon.
Xiomara Blanco
4 min read

If you believe "bigger is better," allow me to introduce the Acer Chromebook 15. For $399 (£249), and currently on sale at Best Buy for $349, the laptop packs a 15.6-inch touchscreen, making it one of the biggest Chromebook models you can buy. 


Acer Chromebook 15 (2017)

The Good

The Acer Chromebook 15 is a stylish notebook with a large 15.6-inch screen. It has a backlit keyboard, touchscreen and loud speakers. Battery life is long-lasting.

The Bad

The screen is dull. Chromebooks have inherent OS limitations you need to be aware of. Low-end CPU hampers performance.

The Bottom Line

As one of the biggest Chromebooks, the Acer laptop is perfectly priced for anyone interested in a big laptop for basic online use.

Aside from its super-sized screen, it has great battery life, loud speakers, a backlit keyboard and solid performance. One or two of these features on a budget laptop is good, but all of them combined makes for an excellent value.

The large Acer laptop is a solid alternative to the bevy of 13-inch and smaller Chromebook models out there. Since it's not that much more expensive than compact Chromebooks, anyone interested in an affordable laptop with a big screen shouldn't hesitate to check it out.


Acer's 15-inch Chromebook is back and better than ever.

James Martin/CNET

A metal makeover

Unlike last year's all-plastic model, this new CB515-1HT version in the has an aluminum and plastic build, featuring an on-trend metal lid and cool chamfered edges. Combined with its slim dimensions and silver MacBook-like bezels, the Acer resembles a more expensive laptop.

James Martin/CNET

Weighing 4.85 pounds (2.1kg), it's not extremely heavy to carry around, despite its large dimensions. Size-wise, it's more comparable to the 15-inch Apple MacBook Pro or the Microsoft Surface Book 2 than it is to other Chromebooks.

The full-size, all-black keyboard is flanked by two speakers. It's backlit (a treat for a budget laptop), and the keys travel and respond well. I didn't find them stiff to type on, though they're not as comfortable and fluid as a Lenovo ThinkPad laptop's keyboard. If a superior typing experience is required, I'd recommend taking a look at the Lenovo ThinkPad 13 instead.

Chrome OS, now with apps

This budget-friendly notebook runs Chrome OS, of course. It's built for checking Gmail, working on Google Docs or browsing the web using Chrome. It also has the Google Play store, which allows the downloading of apps previously limited to Android devices.

The Google Play Store gives the laptop a bit more utility. Instead of just using it for browsing the web, checking email and streaming video, you can additionally post to Instagram, download video for offline watching using the Netflix app, or download games to play when there isn't a Wi-Fi network available.


Apps give Chromebooks extra utility that isn't cloud-based.

James Martin/CNET

Support for Google Play is in beta, and, unfortunately, most apps haven't been optimized for laptop use. Instead of launching in full screen, apps look as small as a phone screen on the Acer's 15.6-inch display.  

Big screen problems

The Acer's most appealing feature is its big screen, however it's also one of the laptop's weak spots.

  • 15.6-inch LED-backlit display
  • 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution

While the full 1080p HD resolution is pleasingly sharp, the screen's color saturation is dull. The fantastic imagery in the "Black Panther" trailer lacked a vibrant punch that's easily visible on high-end laptops . It was serviceable, but nothing great.

Viewing angles are decent, and the laptop's 180-degree hinge helps achieve an optimal viewing angle thanks to the ability to tilt back and forth.  I think a 360-degree hinge would've been better instead. The added functionality would allow the laptop to be folded into tablet for easy reading, or propped into tent mode for a better movie viewing experience.


The big screen lacks a punch of color.

Xiomara Blanco/CNET

Up to snuff

The Acer Chromebook 15 performed smoothly and swiftly for basic tasks, like surfing the web, checking emails and streaming HD video. Its performance limits were made obvious when multitasking. Lag usually occurred if a handful of Chrome tabs and apps were open at the same time. For optimal performance, I chose to do one task at a time and tried to keep open tabs to a minimum.



This budget-friendly notebook runs Chrome OS, of course.

James Martin/CNET
  • Intel Pentium N4200 CPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32GB SSD internal storage
  • USB 3.0, USB 2.0 and HDMI ports
  • SD card reader

The Acer's speakers were a pleasant and unexpected surprise. Located on the left and right edges of the keyboard, they're impressively loud and crisp. They easily fill a room with sound,  however, like most laptop speakers, they lack bass.

Battery life was impressive, lasting an entire work day on a full charge. In battery testing, looping a 720p video on Airplane Mode, it ran for 13 hours and 45 minutes.

A huge Chromebook with great battery life and a low price

See all photos

A big no-brainer

The Acer Chromebook 15 is a horse of a different color. Chromebooks with screens larger than 14-inches are few and far between. The Acer laptop slightly fills the void in a fashionable and affordable manner. Even though its big screen isn't perfect, it's a small sacrifice for the rest of the laptop's great features. Anyone interested in an affordable laptop with a big screen should put the Acer towards the top of their list.

Google Octane

Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook 30415HP Chromebook 13 27178Samsung Chromebook Pro 22586Acer Chromebook 15 (2017) 11214Lenovo Flex 11 10121Acer Chromebook 14 8474
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance


Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook 179.72HP Chromebook 13 154.68Samsung Chromebook Pro 120.79Acer Chromebook 15 (2017) 64.651Lenovo Flex 11 56.059Acer Chromebook 14 47.171
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Streaming video playback (in minutes)

Acer Chromebook 15 (2017) 825Lenovo Flex 11 719Acer Chromebook 14 570Samsung Chromebook Pro 537Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook 495
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance


Acer Chromebook 15 (2017)Lenovo ThinkPad 13 ChromebookAcer Chromebook 14HP Chromebook 13Samsung Chromebook ProLenovo Flex 11
Price as reviewed $399 $845 $355 $819 $549 $269
Display size 15.613.31413.312.311.6
PC CPU Intel Pentium N4200Intel Core i5-6300U Intel Celeron Quad-core N3160 Intel Core m5-6y57Intel Core m3-6y30MTK 8173C Processor (2.10GHz)
Storage 32GB32GB32GB32GB32GB32GB
Operating system Chrome OSChrome OSChrome OSChrome OSChrome OSChrome OS

Acer Chromebook 15 (2017)

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 8Performance 8Battery 8