Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C1DZ Review

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March 24, 2015
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Acer has combined a big screen and Chrome operating system in their latest laptop releases. Dubbed Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C1DZ, this model features a nice 15 inches Full HD display and Celeron-level performance. In addition, the price tag of 350 dollars makes the laptop look attractive to many. But the question lingers: Is it really worth the money? That’s something we’ll answer here!

Performance

Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C1DZ’s performance isn’t on par with many Windows laptops. That is, of course, explainable by the operating system. Chrome is not meant for heavyweight use, so the installed Intel Celeron 3205U is a very sufficient choice for this. It’s a dual core processor with 1.5GHz clock rate, beefy enough for everything you could do on a Chrome browser. The integrated graphics card will allow you to play all browser games, too (although not Windows titles, more on that below).

The memory amount is 4GB. I’d consider that the minimum for Windows rigs, but since this is Chrome four gigabytes is plenty. You have no worries with multitasking, like keeping dozens of tabs open simultaneously. As far as I know you can’t upgrade the memory yourself, but on a simple Chromebook you wouldn’t get much performance boost from that anyway.

A 16GB solid-state drive offers adequate storage for the Chrome OS. Better part of the drive is its transfer speed: a lot faster than hard drives, contributing to quick system start up times. Indeed, the Chrome should boot up in seconds. The storage size itself can’t hold too much data, but in my opinion an online based laptop is better with a fast than large drive. Besides, you can always use the SD card reader for up to 128GB impromptu local storage.

Screen and graphics

The best thing of Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C1DZ is the display. It’s been hyped in the tech media and probably rightfully so. To begin with, the diagonal is 15.6 inches, something not seen in Chrome laptops before. Also, it’s a Full HD screen, so even the pickiest users should find it sharp enough. The IPS panel type doesn’t hurt either, with wider viewing angles and higher image quality than on average TN screen found in the majority of cheap laptops.

Graphics card is Intel HD (Broadwell), a new 2015 model, although the fact it’s integrated isn’t good news for the gaming folk. All in all, the whole operating system isn’t the right choice for players because installing Windows games doesn’t work unless you’re willing to do some extensive hacking. So for a casual user, the selection of titles is limited to browser games, which however will run flawlessly on this rig.

Connections

The USB ports of Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C1DZ are two (one USB 2.0, one USB 3.0). Not a lot for this big laptop. HDMI output is also becoming more popular in Chrome notebooks – this model has one, so you can connect in a HDTV or monitor.

One thing this computer doesn’t have is an optical drive. That is because of Chrome OS’s very limited support for discs. You can’t for example burn DVDs at all, although reading data discs works. For that, you should get an external drive supporting Chrome. Another, perhaps handier way to transfer data locally is the built-in SD card slot.

There’s no dedicated RJ-45 port (you can use USB adapter for that), but there’s an excellent dual-band WiFi adapter allowing for wireless Internet connection. Bluetooth 4.0 also works.

On top of the screen a 1280×720 webcam is planted, giving you the possibility to fire up Google Hangouts and video chat with your friends.

Some other things to keep in mind?

Despite the big screen I’d still call Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C1DZ a portable laptop. It weighs 4.85 pounds while many similar notebooks are 5 pounds and more. A better thing however is the battery: it’s said to last for 9 hours, and some users commented they were getting a solid 8 hours on a single charge.

The keyboard is not illuminated. It doesn’t have a numeric keypad either which is quite rare for a 15.6″ laptop.

Summary

I would say Acer hit the nail on the head with its new wave of Chrome laptops. They fill the hungry niche of users wanting a Chromebook but disliking the small displays they come with. Well, that problem is now solved: Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C1DZ has not only a large display but also a high quality one with Full HD resolution and IPS panel. The laptop’s performance is adequate for all things you can do on a Chrome browser, including some gaming. Battery life and price are also excellent. I think getting this notebook is a no-brainer if you’ve been waiting for a Chromebook with bigger screen!


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