The first wave of Chrome powered laptops already happened some years ago. It looked like a successful venture, so manufacturers (and Google) decided to create some more. Acer Chromebook 15 C910-C37P is one of those latest Chromebooks, with an irresistibly low price tag and a nice 15.6″ Full HD display. Let’s see how this Chrome laptop fits in the Windows-dominated world.
Processor has never been the strongest part of Chromebooks. Indeed, there’s Intel Celeron 3205U CPU in this model, and Celerons are not known for high performance. This processor runs on two cores and a low 1.5GHz clock frequency, making it perform far worse than common Core i3 CPUs in many Windows notebooks. But since the Chrome OS isn’t meant for demanding use at all, this entry-level Celeron should do a good job running your browser and video streaming activities without problems.
There’s 4GB memory in total, which for a Chromebook is enough. It allows keeping multiple tabs open and contributes to a smooth user experience in general. I don’t know if the RAM is soldered to mainboard – but that shouldn’t be an issue since 4 gigabytes is plenty for this kind of machine anyway.
Acer Chromebook 15 C910-C37P has a 32GB solid-state drive as its storage engine. Its size is nothing compared to conventional hard drives, but a very understandable choice given that everything is done in the cloud with the Chrome OS. The transfer rates of such SSDs are excellent, and you should get very fast booting and program loading times on this system.
Display and graphics
Screen-wise, Acer seemed to put in some effort. There’s a 15.6″ anti-glare display in this one, enjoying a nice 1920×1080 resolution – as opposed to most, if not all, similar priced laptops having the basic 1366×768. In addition, the panel type is IPS (In-Plane Switching), which professionals consider better compared to regular Twisted Nematics screens, thanks to good viewing angles and accurate colors of IPS displays.
The screen of Acer Chromebook 15 C910-C37P might be good, but graphics engine isn’t. But that’s not a surprise for Chrome-powered laptop to begin with. They’re not meant for gaming like Windows laptops are. The graphics chip is called Intel HD (Broadwell), and it’s a new release with performance close to the well-known HD 4000 model. Many new games would run only on low details if the system was Windows, but because it’s Chromebook the playability of games is largely irrelevant. You can’t install Windows games on this system unless you do some hacking. And I bet most won’t.
Acer Chromebook 15 C910-C37P features one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 each. In addition, HDMI out is available for HDTV connection. SD card reader is good for transferring some files to the computer, although DVD drive is missing (again, a logical choice for this system, since Chrome has a lots of limitations on what it can do with optical media).
Networking is wireless only, with an AC WiFi adapter and Bluetooth 4.0 support. There’s also a webcam on top of the screen, good for video chats – although probably on some other software than Skype, since its video features are not (yet) officially supported by Chrome.
What other things to keep in mind?
Chrome powered laptops have traditionally been small and portable. But obviously, a big laptop like Acer Chromebook 15 C910-C37P weighs more, this one precisely 4.8 pounds. It’s still a bit less than its competitors, but far from what the tiny 11″ Chromebooks weight. Alas, its usefulness for road warriors or students can be questioned. A counter argument for that is the long battery life of ~8 hours which should be good for a full work/school day.
The keyboard features no backlight or numeric keypad. The latter is rare thing since most 15.6″ laptops indeed have a 10-key pad.
Acer Chromebook 15 C910-C37P is a laptop for certain kind of people. For the kind that doesn’t require all the bells and whistles a Windows-based rig can offer. You can’t, for example, do very demanding work or play most games on this system. Furthermore, many familiar software from Windows won’t directly run on it.
So what’s it good for? Well, for web surfing, text editing, some video streaming also. In addition, most Windows programs have their Chrome equivalent. It’s said these Chrome laptops are good for students because of the cheap price. I can agree, and Chromebooks are often found in classrooms and at the hands of students doing their homework. For a power user I wouldn’t recommend this due to limitations the Chrome OS has, but if you’re not planning to run fancy Windows programs this affordable Acer should be worth every penny.