Chromebooks have been traditionally known as small laptops. Well, Acer thought that people might want something else. Hence they released a new set of Chrome powered laptops, this time with bigger 15″ displays. One of those is Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C4T3, and in this review we’ll let you know if it’s worthy of spending your money on.
Even though the screen is upgraded these new Chromebooks aren’t still up for very demanding tasks. On one hand, it’s because of the OS limitations. On the other hand, the low end components dictate what you can do with them. Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C4T3 contains Celeron 3205U processor which is a 2015 release with two cores and a 1.5GHz clock frequency. It hasn’t been featured in benchmarks yet, but the general consensus is that these Celerons are meant for lightweight use. They’re excellent for tasks like web surfing – including everything you can do with browser, like YouTube and some games. No heavy software would run on them, but that’s not what Chromebooks were designed for in the first place.
The memory amount is 2GB. It’s decent for a Chromebook, that OS has significantly lesser system requirements than Windows. However, some argue that 4GB is still better for Chrome laptops: everything is done with a browser and people have tendency to open up a lot of tabs which requires memory. If that’s you, there’s another version with 4GB RAM that costs 50 bucks extra.
The storage capacity is 16GB. That is, of course, a solid-state drive with speeds much better than on hard drives found in Windows laptops. Booting up the system and browser takes only some seconds. The space itself might become a problem for some, but Google (the developer of Chrome OS) has come up with a solution: they offer 100GB free storage from their cloud for two years. There’s also another, local way: the built-in SD card slot that supports up to 128GB memory cards.
Screen and graphics
The screen is 15.6 inches diagonal, that’s the biggest new thing (pun intended) in Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C4T3. It might make the Chrome notebook attractive also for home users, when previously these laptops were seen as small toys for techies and perhaps students. The resolution on this model is 1366×768 which undoubtedly makes the price cheaper. Acer has also considered those wishing a Full HD display.
Graphics are powered by Intel HD Graphics (Broadwell) chip. Despite of being a new release it’s just an integrated engine. It should be similar to Intel HD 4000, so only older titles would only run well on this laptop. But that’s not all: you must also remember that playing Windows games on Chromebook is impossible without installing Linux and Windows emulator. So unless you’re ready to do that you are limited to play browser games.
Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C4T3 comes with two USB ports in total. One is USB 2.0, the other is USB 3.0. HDTV is also supported thanks to the full-size HDMI output.
The laptop offers excellent wireless connectivity: there’s a dual-band 802.11ac WiFi adapter installed. Bluetooth 4.0 is available for connecting headsets and other peripherals (although no file transfer from mobile phones at least for now).
Built-in optical drive is unknown for Chromebooks. The OS doesn’t support discs very well. Burning them is not possible at all, although reading simple data discs is. If you want that, an external DVD drive has to be used.
Another thing Chrome does differently is video chats. The laptop features a 1280×720 webcam and microphone, yes, but because Skype video doesn’t work on Chromebook there is a problem. The workaround is to use and also convince your friends to use Google Hangouts for video meetings.
What else to keep in mind?
Chrome notebooks were always known as good choices for on-the-go computing. Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C4T3 changed that because of the big screen size. The weight is 4.85 pounds, almost like a normal Windows-based notebook, so portability is not great. However, if you can stand the weight on your travels the battery life is still wonderful 9 hours. I’ve seen people getting consistent eight hours of use, so the advertised battery life is pretty close to truth indeed.
Even though this laptop is bigger than previous Chromebooks, the keyboard doesn’t take up the whole surface. In other words, the keyboard is rather small, so there’s no numpad on the right. No backlight is available either, so you must type in the light of a candle in dark rooms.
Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C4T3 combines the big display of a Windows-based laptop with the smooth user experience of a Chrome notebook. Performance-wise, everything you can do on the Chrome browser you can also do with this Acer. In addition, the large display probably makes the computer tempting for homes and even offices. Rightfully so, although I can’t help recommending the other new Acer over this one. That one costs just a bit more but has a professional Full HD IPS display and 4GB RAM. It is much better value for your money, while this model I’d characterize as just another Chromebook with a regular 15.6 inches display.