Acer Chromebook 15 review: This Chromebook lets you see the big picture

Performance and battery life

The Acer Chromebook 15 has a starting price of $249.99 (about £170, AU$330). The version reviewed here sells for $349.99 (about £240, AU$460) and has the 1,920x1,080 IPS display; a dual-core 1.6GHz Intel Celeron 3205U processor: 4GB of memory; and a 32GB solid-state drive (SSD). (Also, included for that price are 100GB of Google Drive storage, a dozen in-air passes for GoGo Inflight Wi-Fi and 60 days of Google Play Music.) Pricing and configuration availability varies by region.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

That's the largest storage capacity Acer is offering with this model. However, it is a removable M.2 SSD, so if you are capable of removing 18 screws to get this thing open, you could potentially swap in a larger drive. The battery, too, is easily replaced for when the battery life isn't lasting as long as it once did.

How long is that? In our wireless video streaming test, the Chromebook 15 kept provided viewing pleasure for 7 hours and four minutes. With less demanding use, say straight-up word processing in Google Docs, you could probably hit much closer to the 9-hour mark Acer claims.

The Chromebook 15 and its fifth-generation Intel Celeron processor performed as expected: better than older Chromebooks running last-generation Celeron processors, but not as good as new Core i-series CPUs. What is a bit of a surprise is that it wasn't too far behind Dell's Core i3 Chromebook.

In anecdotal testing, I didn't notice any slowdowns or stuttering when running with a dozen tabs open while simultaneously streaming video and playing back a local 1080p video file in the background and editing a 15MB JPEG in Polarr. Open another dozen or more tabs and you could run into problems, but as long as you're not purposely trying to overload it, this configuration will stand up to more than casual Web browsing.

Conclusion

Having the Acer Chromebook 15's larger screen certainly helps when you're trying to get work done and it's nicer for kicking back to watch a movie, and it might make for a more appealing candidate for a straight Linux install, too.

Futuremark Peacekeeper

Toshiba CB35-B3340 Chromebook 2
1,694
Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C09S
2,908
Dell Chromebook 11
3,342
Google Chromebook Pixel
4,477

Note:

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Sunspider Javascript

Toshiba CB35-B3340 Chromebook 2
514
Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C09S
327
Dell Chromebook 11
296
Google Chromebook Pixel
200

Note:

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Google Octane

Toshiba CB35-B3340 Chromebook 2
7,500
Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C09S
13,738
Dell Chromebook 11
15,381
Google Chromebook Pixel
24,307

Note:

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Hulu streaming battery test

Toshiba CB35-B3340 Chromebook 2
357
Dell Chromebook 11
471
Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C09S
424
Google Chromebook Pixel
483

Note:

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

System configurations

Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C09S
Chrome OS; 1.6GHz Intel Celeron 3205U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM ; 32GB SSD

Toshiba CB35-B3340 Chromebook 2
Chrome OS; 2.16GHz Intel Celeron N2840; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM; 16GB SSD

Google Chromebook Pixel
Chrome OS, 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-5200U; 8GB RAM, 32GB SSD

Dell Chromebook 11
Chrome OS; 1.7GHz Intel Core i3 4005U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM; 16GB SSD