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Customer ratings & reviews
Never thought I needed this in my life!Posted
I received this Acer Chromebook and thought I'd check it out. I wanted to give it a solid 5+ days or so of use, so I can judge it properly from a performance aspect. I've always been an avid PS4 and PC gamer and I also own an iPhone X and iPad Pro 10.5". So, I've never really needed anything more as far as web browsers or anything else goes. Setup out of the box was incredibly simple. I want to say up-front that I am overall, VERY impressed with this little machine. The box only includes the Chromebook, power supply cable and the power-brick/cable. That's it, aside from a few small booklets (warranty, quick set-up, etc). Plugged it up to power, turned it on and went through a few quick settings. The first thing it asked me for was the WiFi password, Got that entered and logged into my Google account, answered a few other quick questions and I was immediate on the desktop. Wow. This couldn't have been simpler. I've never desired to have a laptop, as like I said above, it's kind of redundant to what I already use. So, needless to say, having a Chromebook was a very different experience for me. I didn't really know what to expect. I obviously didn't expect to be able to play games on it. This is basically a super beefed-up Chrome Web Browser, built into a basic hardware laptop, just powerful enough for some productivity and really good web use. Really, this is all I could ask for! I didn't know if this was a Windows 10 machine or what. Come to find out, it uses a dedicated Chrome OS (Operating System). So, it took me a bit to learn. Now, one thing for me is on my PC, I use Firefox. Always have, always will. Yeah, I do have Chrome installed as I tried it at one point when I was having issues with Firefox. But once Firefox got updated to Firefox Quantum, I immediately went back to it and have not had any other issues. So, my Chrome bookmarks were out of date. I need to find an easy way to where I can keep my bookmarks synced between Firefox and Chrome. As I was playing around on the Chromebook, experimenting and trying to figure things out, it automatically updated itself. The first time was just a basic update, requiring a restart. But the second time - WOW. I was totally not expecting this! It updated and I restarted and I had access to the Google Play store and all the apps there! Woohoo!!! Now, I'm excited. The first thing I did was go in and download the Twitch app. I do a lot of Twitch TV watching and also plan to get back to streaming soon. So, my primary use of this Chromebook is to use it for my Twitch Chat screen. I'm a little disappointed in the Twitch app though, as I can't figure out if it's an issue with the Chromebook itself not having the resources to run the app properly, or just a compatability issue with the app. But when I start up a Broadcaster stream, the video stalls out immediately, but I still get the audio. However, when I use twitch from the Chrome browser, it works perfectly. So, I just linked the website to the toolbar and had it set to open in a non-web browser screen, it so looks almost like the app from the Google Play store, but much better. Can't even tell it's the web version! Also, I tested the Prodigy Chrome App extension, as our 8 year old got a free account from school. When I went to the Prodigy Game website, it immediately told me there was a plug-in that made it easier to use. Installed that and she was glued to it! The overall build quality of the Chromebook is awesome. The top of it (back of the screen) is a brushed-looking aluminum and super-sleek. The keys are nice and tactile and have had no issues with the keyboard. I am a videophile, so the first thing I do when I get any type of new "screen", be it a monitor, a TV, laptop, WHATEVER...I immediately start checking for defects. Dead Pixels, banding, clouding and any other screen issues you can think of. I've not found ANY defects on the screen of this Chromebook. I helped my mother-in-law set up an $1,100.00 laptop late last year and she had to have it replaced once due to white streak marks across the screen. The replacement had it as well, but in a different spot, so it wasn't so bad. She decided to keep it. So, it shocked my that the screen on this little Chromebook was so flawless! The ONLY issue I've seen is the side-angle viewing. But this is normal for most laptops due to the panels they are made with (TN or VA, I believe. I'm pretty sure this is a standard TN panel). I'm giving this little sucker a flat 5/5 rating. I've not had any issues at all with it, performs like a champ, the screen is perfect, as is the keyboard part of it. If you need something for minor productivity and fast web-browsing, but don't want to clean out your wallet/pocketbook, get this. It does all the basic stuff EXTREMELY well. I also found the battery does last about on par as advertised (12 hours). I find I can get about 10-ish, but I keep the screen brightness up a bit, so that takes some extra juice. The only negative I can say, really, is the Google Play store; While a nice and unexpected feature (after an update), you may have some issues with certain apps. Again, I'm not sure if it's a hardware-load issue or the app just needs to be updated later for compatibility. HIGHLY recommended for the price. GET IT. Especially if you already use Google Chrome as your primary web browser.
I would recommend this to a friend
Affordable computer for browsing the webPosted
Pros Simple to use Large screen Good screen brightness Screen has decent colors from good angle Large keyboard Keys have good travel Loud speakers are good for listening to speech Excellent trackpad Good number of ports for low price point Long battery life Feels sturdy Cons Keys have imprecise typing response Speakers lack any range and sound poor for music Heavy for how low specs are Screen is visibly grainy from normal viewing distance Screen has very narrow optimal viewing angle No finger slot and tight hinge makes opening difficult Proprietary charger and charging plug Web browsing can be slow Wireless AC doesn’t seem to improve speed Chassis is warped causing laptop to not sit flat The Acer Chromebook 15 is a no nonsense, affordable 15-inch Chromebook laptop. Overall, the first impression is the device has a nice appearance and feels reasonably well made. When you first open the Chromebook, the first thing you will notice is that the hinge for the screen is very stiff and there is no slot to place your fingers to wedge open the device. This means you will likely find yourself placing it vertical in your lap and wedging your fingers in the gap to force it open. Although manageable, a simple finger slot would have been greatly appreciated. Once open, you will appreciate the stiffness of the hinge as it will stay where it is placed. The screen is a large 15.6 inches giving you plenty of workspace. Resolution is nothing spectacular but gets the job done. Those with better eyes will notice text and pictures look grainier than on today’s modern, ultra-high-resolution devices. Brightness and colors good as but off angle viewing is very poor. To get good clarity, you must look at the screen at a very narrow angle. Any other angle and the screen will appear washed out and dim. This is where the rigid screen hinge comes in handy. At the top is an included webcam. It is stated as an HDR webcam but in use it looks a lot like the quality of old VGA cameras budget laptops have had for years. The keyboard and trackpad combination does quite well. The full-sized keyboard has reasonable travel although keystrokes are ended with a thump and a clatter. For fast typers it will require some adapting as you will need to press hard when typing fast to ensure keystrokes are registered but then be ready to feel a less than satisfying bottoming out of the keys. For the price point of this device, this is normal and acceptable. You also must adapt to the fact that, disappointingly, the caps lock button has been replaced with a search button. If only there was a way to remap it back as seasoned typers will find themselves endlessly launching search in the middle of typing causing temporary confusion. If you were hoping for typing in the dark, the keyboard is not backlit. The trackpad performs better than expected. It registers movement precisely, quickly, and is very good at rejecting your palm. Speakers flank the left and right of the keyboard with very large speaker grills. With the look, you would think this Chromebook has some of the best sound out there. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. The speakers get very loud and reproduce speech great. This is perfect for those who need to watch lectures or training videos online and words will come across very clear and easy to understand. When it comes to music or other sounds is where the speakers fall flat. They reproduce an almost auditorium sound with a slight echo. No matter the volume, music just sounds lifeless and tinny with no mids or lows. Turning up the volume in this case just leads to certain frequencies becoming uncomfortably loud and more unpleasant. Of course, excellent sound is hard even in high end laptops. Just be aware the sound reproduction out of this Chromebook is noticeably budget orientated. There is good news though. Included is a stereo jack and the poor sound can be easily remedied with a decent set of headphones. A student would probably never have an issue as they would likely listen to lectures using the speakers, where the speakers perform well, and listen to music with headphones when studying in private. Overall, the Acer Chromebook 15 is a well-made, affordable Chromebook. It takes a lot of the complexity out of owning a computer that a lot of people don’t need. It isn't particularly fast or feature packed but if you keep your expectations in check with price point you should not be disappointed. Just be careful of the extremely small, fragile looking proprietary charger plug.
I would recommend this to a friend
Budget Chromebook with SacrificesPosted
I never owned a Chromebook before, but am heavily invested in the Android/Google ecosystem. So it's an easy jump for me. I primarily use a 15 inch Acer Aspire R laptop for work, which runs Windows 10. I have always been intrigued by Chromebooks, I like the idea of having all day battery life (although my Aspire R has pretty good battery life itself) and having a cheap device to surf the web, stream to my Chromecasts, and watch videos on the go. I've also previously owned a Surface Pro, and while they are fascinating and cool, I just need a bigger screen. So my Acer Aspire R is 15 inches and one of the reasons I chose the Acer Chromebook was the 15 inch size. To me the larger size matters, I would rather sacrifice portability for a bigger screen. This Acer Chromebook looks good and has a nice build quality, but it's too big. It's too thick and there's a lot of wasted space due to the bezels surrounding the screen. This is even more apparent when you look at the keyboard, which is centered in the computer with a lot of open space to the left and right. In my aforementioned Acer Aspire, there's enough room for a 9 digit number pad to the right. And when you take into account the features this Chromebook lacks, the poor use of space is even more confounding. The biggest drawbacks in my mind, are the lack of an HD screen (no HD on a bigger than 11 inch screen is noticeable, if this were a smaller screen, you could get away without HD), no backlit keyboard (a shame) and no touch screen. This omissions surely allowed to meet the pricepoint, but to me, it seems like too much given up. 'm so used to touch screens, it's actually weird not having one. And as I said, with a screen this big, and given that Chromebooks are primarily consumption devices, the no HD is a big loss. The size of the Chromebook also makes it less portable. It's not heavy per se, but it's just bulky. My 15 inch Acer Aspire R is a bit smaller and it hits the upper limits in portability. Carrying this Chromebook around is no easy task. The specs for this Chromebook are also on the bottom edge. But that is no issue. Chromebooks are not meant for resource intensive tasks, so if you plan on doing so, you should find a different operating system/machine. The big issue is 16 GB of HDD space, but that's not an issue to me, my photos and music are through Google Music and Photos, so I don't need HDD space. I'm also not managing documents. And if I needed more space, I would use an SD card. This Chromebook as a full size card slot for SD cards, and the best thing is that if you put one in, the entire card fits inside the computer so it's "hidden." Onto Chrome OS. I haven't spent a ton of time with it, but I like it so far. I use the Chromebook to surf the web, watch YouTube, stream Netflix and email. Logging in with your Google Account and having instant access to all of Google's services is great. But I must say, you can get a lot of the same functionality on a Mac or Windows machine if you utilize Chrome Web Browser. So far, I can't find value in Chrome OS that I can't get using Chrome Browser on Windows. I'm not saying the value and difference isn't there, but for what I do, I can accomplish the same tasks on Chromebook as I can Chrome on Windows. I have this Chromebook because I wanted a dedicated machine to use at home to act as a hub for my Chromecasts, Google Home speakers, etc. For what I use it for it's great. This is a good Chromebook, but it's average. If you want a big screen, this could be an option. But if you can spring a few more bucks, I'd look for a model with a better screen that has touch input. And one that has a bit more portability (without sacrificing too much in screen real estate). Assuming you don't have to lug this baby around everyday and it mostly stays in the home, the size and portability shouldn't matter. I do want to caution those who are just looking for a cheap laptop... If you aren't invested in the Google Ecosystem (i.e. don't have Gmail or don't subscribe to their services) and you are just wanting a cheap laptop, I would make sure you do your homework. A Chromebook might not fit your needs.
I would recommend this to a friend
OK for basic tasks, but a bit bulkyPosted
I would recommend this to a friend
A lot right with one surprising shortcomingPosted
I’ve been curious about Chromebooks for quite some time. I do tech support and finally got this one to get some hands on experience with them so I can better help friends, family, and coworkers who have trouble with them. After a week with this my advice is this: If you pickup a Chromebook thinking it’ll just take the place of your laptop 1:1 you’ll likely be disappointed, But if you are ready to accept and use a Chromebook for what it is, rather than fight against it for what it isn’t, then you’re in for a treat. The primary draw of a Chromebook is that it’s a lower-cost and lightweight operating system that boots fast and can run on lesser hardware and still perform pretty well, and in some regards (battery) can perform even better than a traditional laptop running a heavy-weight OS like Windows, Linux, or MacOS. Another draw is that recent Chromebooks can also install and run most Android apps which means you are not limited to just what you can access in the browser or install from the Chrome apps. This gives a modest Chromebook like this Acer CB3-532-C8DF some respectable application flexibility that can outweigh matters of raw performance -- for example, I found I preferred to access Netflix directly through the browser rather than the Netflix app, but that I preferred to use the TuneIn Radio app over their website -- It’s an interesting if sometimes awkward blend of Android-meets-laptop. Powered by a Celeron N3060, it’s never lightning fast but is “fast enough” that I rarely waited very long. The battery life is crazy -- I easily made it through a full work day on a single charge while doing web work and listening to Internet radio. So no, it’s not the fastest, and it’s not a 4K HD display, but when it comes to simplicity and longevity it leaves traditional laptops in the dust. It’s not perfect however -- budget specs means there were times when it obviously struggled to keep up with what I asked, even just pretty basic multi-tasking. For example, audio and/or video streams would often stutter if I toggled away from them momentarily to work on an e-mail reply or to look up something in Chrome while the audio/video continued in the background. My main “negative” though is that I have 4 Google accounts that I have to be logged into regularly -- 1 personal, 1 for work, and 2 accounts for businesses that I consult for. On a traditional Windows/Linux/Mac computer the Chrome browser easily accommodates having 4 separate Chrome user profiles running simultaneously side-by-side on one desktop space. On a Chromebook however -- built around the very same Chrome browser at its core -- It’s considerably more awkward. With some work and setup you can be logged into all 4 accounts simultaneously and switch between them easily enough, but each one is essentially its own desktop space so it’s more like user-switching than the side-by-side multiple profiles that is so easy with Chrome on the other platforms. With a few more gyrations you can get all 4 instances of Chrome onto one Chromebook desktop, but doing so is quite clunky compared to doing the very same thing on a traditional PC. While it’s true that I wouldn’t normally encourage a direct comparison between a Chromebook and a traditional PC, this is one direct comparison that I think SHOULD be made because “running Chrome” is what a Chromebook is all about -- it’s their namesake and centerpiece of what they are supposed to be good at. So it’s odd that Chrome, on a platform specifically designed to showcase it, falls noticeably and awkwardly short of its own multi-profile capabilities on the other platforms. Not everyone will need this simultaneous multi-user/profile functionality, but for me it’s a critical part of my workflow and I expected Chrome on a Chromebook to handle this at least as well as Chrome on other platforms, but surprisingly it doesn’t. For what it is I’d still recommend this Acer Chromebook for the basic use case it is intended for, just be realistic in your expectations -- It’s not a powerhouse, and at this price point it never pretends to be one so don’t hold it to that standard. But it is simple, functional, and with access to most apps from the Google Play Store it has some truly impressive application flexibility.
I would recommend this to a friend
An incredible laptop value.Posted
Acer - 15.6" Chromebook - Intel Celeron - 4GB Ram Memory - 16GB eMMC Flash Memory Storage (CB3-532) I’m new to Chromebooks so I’m going to be cautious, separating opinions about the Acer computer from those about the Chrome computing environment. I currently operate in the world of Mac Powerbooks, so you already know I prefer uncomplicated, supportive, interconnected and fun. I don’t have legacy business applications to accommodate. This bargain laptop has me curious because it makes many of those same “simplicity” promises. SETUP: Stopwatch go! Yep, I put a stopwatch to this specimen of computing simplicity. Slipping it out of the box the Acer reveals a reasonable 4.5 lb heft and opens up to a 15.6” screen. Plugged in, it begins the setup routine. The screen is very easy to use, even if it lacks the crisp, deep color of more expensive laptops . . . . and it’s fully ready to go in UNDER 3 minutes!!! And that includes typing in my Google Account, my wireless password, taking the mini-tour. . . . and calling up Youtube to watch a music video. Yikes. Simplicity for sure. After about an hour of play, an “Update Available” message appeared. I guessed it was time for a lunch break if my typical experience with computers held true. Nope. 45 seconds. Updated. Gotta love the Chrome approach. INTEROPERABILITY: I’m not on an island, right? Exchanging data, pictures, videos, with other devices is important to me. So, I took the easy way out for this first test and sent my new Acer Chromebook a series of attachments: TEXT (RTF), WORD, EXCEL, PDF, .MP4 video, and JPG. The first one, oddly, offered to get me an application from the google store to open and edit the file. EVERY other file type was handled without pause. Yes. video of my grandson sent from my MacBook opened and played in the Chrome browser. PDFs and JPEGS opened without fuss. My Word document was opened without hiccup by a Google Doc, and my simple EXCEL file was opened by Google Sheet. Both were ready to edit.. . . on this Chromebook! This, of course, is not the suggested way to share files. You should be using Google Drive and setting up a share folder. Macs, PCs, phones can all access the shared Google Drive. I’m thinking this Chromebook stuff makes some sense. EVERYDAY USABILITY: Simple and fast is nice. Much about the Acer and the Chromebook experience is inviting. The keyboard has a solid feel, with keys and trackpad being sensitive and responsive. The speakers are face up, alongside of the keyboard, and can get loud for personal listening. That headphone port makes it easy to connect to an external (not included) system, which you’ll want to add for some better bass. The screen itself required more fussing than I’m used to show its best color and contrast. In your lap, it naturally leans back for a nice image. However, it’s a design that quickly loses its optimal readability and accuracy as you move off center. Great for working in public spaces, I suppose, ‘cause no one to your side can see what you’re doing. I don’t want to minimize the screen quality; please check it out for yourself. FEATURES: The Acer Chrome has 4Gb of memory and 16Gb of flash storage, but that ignores the Google Drive storage provided by Google. [I’m not sure how much is free.] An HDMI port is included, which I tried with a monitor I had on my desk. If my experience is an indication, you can achieve viewing perfection with an outboard monitor or TV. There are two USB 3.0 ports and a built-in media reader. With the built-in Wi-Fi, I achieved speeds of 160Mb/sec up and down on my Google Fiber connection, matching my MacBook Pro in the same location. Your speeds are determined by your Internet provider. There’s also thousands of Android Apps. SUMMARY: It’s tempting to get crazy over specifications because that’s been important with computers working with ever more complex software and larger and larger media files. The Chromebook approach, with simpler programs and almost total dependence on online storage challenges that notion. Transitioning between my newest MacBook pro with i7 and flash drive and this Acer Chromebook created no concerns. Speed is NOT an issue. In fact, those instances where I’m sitting and waiting often favored the Acer’s simpler demands. In other ways, the Acer showed its price point. If I was to look for a place for improvement, I’d spend more on a screen upgrade. Even with an improved screen, I would not suggest intensive graphics or photography work on this laptop. I liked this Acer Chromebook for its incredible value. For presentations, it’s very easy to connect to a projector or a modern TV. I can easily recommend this Acer.
I would recommend this to a friend
Great little machine when used as it was intendedPosted
I’ve worked in software development for most of my professional life. All those 30+ years were spent using computers running DOS, Windows, or a number of different flavors of Unix/Linux operating systems. This Acer Chromebook offering from Best Buy’s Tech Insider Network gave me my first opportunity to use Google’s Chrome OS, which is a Web-centric or cloud oriented operating system. Meaning its software apps and user data are normally run from and stored on web servers somewhere out there in Internetland. The first and most difficult thing I learned after a few frustrating sessions with this Chromebook is you cannot will the Chrome OS into acting like a drive-based operating system such as Windows. Once I stopped doing that I began to enjoy using it more. In fact, I actually came to like it. I guess it really doesn’t matter all that much where your apps and data live as long as they’re safe and secure. All the apps I installed and played with ran fast and none ever crashed. I haven’t done anything serious with the Chromebook yet. Mostly light duty stuff like trying different apps, Web surfing, email, streaming videos and music, word processing, and so on. Of course, that’s the very stuff Chromebooks were designed to excel at. My wife has already laid claim to this Chromebook 15 as a second device with a larger monitor to supplement her tablet when she’s doing genealogy research. My favorite use of this Chromebook 15 is reading my morning newspaper on it while all my paper newspapers pile up on a kitchen chair unopened. It’s the perfect size for that task and I only have to manipulate four arrow keys with my right hand to read it while my left hand hand runs my morning coffee cup. Now, let’s look at the Acer hardware. Overall, it looks and feels like a well-made notebook computer. The hinges are solid and will stiffly hold the monitor/lid in any position from about 5 degrees open through to its maximum of about 160 degrees open. That’s very wide by the way. The initial 802.11ac wi-fi setup and connection went flawlessly and has been fast and rock solid ever since no matter where I take the Chromebook in our 4,100 sq ft, two-floor home. Because there is no hard drive, there is no noise and no heat build-up. In an unscientific test, I ran the Chromebook for several hours sitting on a hard surface. Then I closed the Chromebook, flipped it over and began measuring its underside with a laser-style thermometer. The bottom of the Chromebook case measured about 73 degrees F everywhere except the air vents. I’m pleased to report that the case measured only 79 degrees F in and around the air vents. That’s only a 6 degree increase! Oh, and the entire underside of the case has a cross-hatch texture that helps keep the Chromebook from slipping off your lap or from your grip. Kudos to the Acer design team for that brilliant little idea. The speakers on this Acer Chromebook 15 are pretty decent to. Especially for a $199 laptop. At that low MSRP, I wasn’t expecting much in the way of sound quality, but I was pleasantly surprised. We’ve listened to a lot of streamed music through the built-in speakers and through a Bluetooth speaker and then a pair of Bluetooth headphones. All sounded good and the Bluetooth connections were solid with no Bluetooth stutter or skipping. Not much of anything to report on the negative side other than I wish it had an RJ-45 Ethernet port. But then I wish my iPad did to. Times change, I guess. Overall, I can recommend this Acer Chromebook 15 without any reservation.
I would recommend this to a friend
A decent alternative for a typical computerPosted
The Acer Chromebook with Chrome OS is a decent laptop with excellent battery life for those looking for a simpler approach to using a computer. No complicated menus, no difficulty accessing resources, and so on. But even then, you have a familiar interface that anyone who has used a Windows/Android device (even just a little bit) will get an idea of how to interact with Chrome OS. Even if someone has no experience using a computer, they will have an easy time using and interacting with the Acer Chromebook. The hardware specifications are considered decent for what this Acer Chromebook is trying to achieve and some of the specs are very similar to what a mid-range Android tablet would have. Onboard the Acer Chromebook, you get 4GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage (you won’t get access to the full 16GBs since the OS will require some of that space), Bluetooth connectivity, 802.11ac wireless LAN, various ports like an audio jack, two USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI port to connect your peripherals, a 15.6” Acer ComfyView LCD, and some great integrated speakers. The Acer Chromebook is great for doing one or two things at the same time. Such as writing a document up using Google Docs and performing online research or perhaps listening to some music or a YouTube video in a different tab. One of the best and most recent features of Chrome OS is the access to the Play Store, which was normally only available to Android OS powered devices such as Smartphones, Tablets, etc. What this means is that you can install and use applications from the Play Store on the Acer Chromebook, which greatly increases the variety and amount of software/applications that can be used on the Chromebook. Now, let’s get into my list of issues with the Acer Chromebook. I am a heavy multitasker and I’m constantly using a large number of applications at the same time (as well as having anywhere between 20 to 50+ tabs open in various Google Chrome windows). When you try to multitask on the Acer Chromebook, you will quickly realize where its limitations are. One simple test I tried was to open up four different websites in a single Google Chrome window at the same time and as each site loaded, you could instantly see a drop in performance. Both in how the browser was handling the request and how quickly the page could be loaded. The Acer Chromebook will work well when you are focused on one to two specific things, but the performance will soon drop as you try to perform more tasks at the same time. Furthermore, if you do not make use of the Play Store to download applications that can make use of the local storage, you’re pretty much required to be online at all time. Most if not all of the applications “installed” on the Acer Chromebook (Google Docs, Google Sheets, to name a few) are just hyperlinks that will open a new tab/window for Google Chrome to access the app online. And if for whatever reason, you cannot access a WiFi access point or there is no WiFi access point, you really have no other alternative. Unless you have and use an external USB to Ethernet adapter (which to my surprise Chrome OS was able to recognize and connect to the internet via this adapter with no prompts, you got to love Plug and Play) as there is no integrated Ethernet port. So long story short, the Acer Chromebook is great for simple tasks and a little bit of multitasking. The ability to download and install applications from the Play Store greatly expands what the Acer Chromebook can do. The battery life is amazing at giving you up to 12 hours of usage, which will definitely get you through the day, but the Acer Chromebook is not for everyone. If you are in the market for a device that can perform similar functions of an Android tablet, but provides you with a full sized keyboard, standard sized screen, with some extra ports that are normally not found on a tablet, then the Acer Chromebook might be a good fit for you.
I would recommend this to a friend
Nice for the pricePosted
Pros: - Good construction - Comfortable keyboard, good for typing - Speakers are clear at volume - Big screen - Shortcut keys at top of the keyboard - Minimal pre-installed software - Long battery life Cons: - No backlit keyboard - No touchscreen - Google Docs unresponsive sometimes - LCD poor viewing angles - No Caps lock or Delete key I purchased this laptop for the student in my family. Her school is standardized on Chromebook and the Google application ecosystem. Currently, she uses a seven-year old Asus laptop that I upgraded with an SSD and Windows 10 late in 2016. The computer still performs well but lacks a lot of the modern technology that this Chromebook does support. For instance, the Chromebook has an integrated HD camera for video conferencing or making recordings. The AC class wireless is much faster than her older laptops wireless G connection. The battery is newer and does last all day. It has an HDMI output, two USB 3 ports, sports a stereo jack for headphones, and it is super easy to get started with all Google apps. Unlike Windows, setup takes about 5 minutes. This makes sense since you are almost exclusively plugging into Google’s online services. There is nothing special about the physical characteristics of this Chromebook. You get a basic laptop at this price point. The unit feels well-built and doesn’t have that cheap look or feel to it. The top cover is attractive with the brushed aluminum look and Acer’s and Chrome’s logos. The keyboard keys have a textured surface, the keys have good travel when depressed, the spacing is good for someone who touch types, and the keyboard is also quiet to type on. I could comfortably type a paper in a public library without worry of disturbing anyone around me. The LCD screen is good. It will be easy to share documents and black and white content between multiple viewers through multiple angles. However, images and video are a different matter. The best angle for this content is straight on. The colors and images do not survive well at any other angle than straight at the screen. I discovered this with images, video, and while I was working with my daughter on a paper in Google Docs. The issue with Google Docs presented itself when we tried to highlight text in her document. She could see the highlight around her text. I, a few degrees off center, could not see the highlight. There is no backlighting for the keyboard. If you are using the laptop in a well-lit environment, then backlit keys are not an issue. The keyboard is different from your standard Windows keyboard layout. The traditional F-function keys at the top of the keyboard are replaced with specific Chromebook keys. They keys are: forward, back, reload, full screen toggle, open app toggle, screen darker, screen brighter, mute, volume controls, and a soft power off button. There are also a few other differences from a standard keyboard. The caps lock key does not exist. In its place is a google search button. There is also no delete key. I do find this annoying because I do use both keys regularly as I work on my documents. Probably the most defining feature of this laptop are the overly large speaker grills to either side of the keyboard. I did play a few YouTube videos and music from Spotify as a test. The speakers were able to maintain a clear sound at all volume levels. However, there was very little base. I did not find anything on this system that gave me access to equalize the sound for my source material. However, connecting an external speaker system or high-quality headphones will most likely solve any issues you have with frequency range. Next, the software experience. As I mentioned earlier, Chrome is a lightweight interface that relies heavily on its own cloud infrastructure to supply the computing muscle. I decided to use Google Docs to write this review as my first official foray into Google’s world. My first impression is that Google Docs is good as a free platform, but Office 365 has nothing to worry about in terms of functionality and ease of use. During the writing of this review, the web page hosting my document froze, then crashed, and forced me to restart my browser and re-enter Google Docs. The good news is that Google Docs does commit the document to memory as I type. The downside is that I had to wait five minutes after reloading the document before the page would register any of my keystrokes. Second, highlighting content using the touch pad was challenging. My intent was to move a sentence from one location to another in my document. What I got was five failed attempts that included highlighting the wrong text and moving it, moving partial text, move a whole paragraph other than my chosen text, and so on and so forth. Free is good but I’ll pay for Office 365 any day of the week! And to drive the point home further, I got so frustrated with Google Docs, that I copied the whole document into MS Word to finish and edit this review. For the most part, I will not be ditching my Windows 10 laptop for this Chromebook. The Chromebook is a nice device to have if you basic needs are education and you are on a tight budget. From that perspective, I think the features, the build quality, and how my daughter will interact with her school’s educational infrastructure is well worth the cost of this entry level laptop. I would hand this system off to a high school or college student. I would not recommend this system for business or for an enterprise environment. It is a nice system, but not a daily workhorse that requires integration into a business network. Also, I found the shortcomings of leveraging web-based office applications, such as Google Docs, disruptive. This may be ok for a use case such as education on a slim budget. But Google has some work ahead of them if they want this type of ecosystem to integrate with an enterprise environment. At this time I can only recommend this budget device as an educational tool.
I would recommend this to a friend
Great Chromebook Ruined by a Terrible ScreenPosted
I have a lot of good things to say about the Chromebook 15. It’s a really solid computer that can do a lot more than you should reasonably expect from something in this price range. A Chromebook in this price range inevitably has to make compromises, but for me it comprised too much on the screen and I can’t fully recommend it for that reason. I’ll start with what I like about the Chromebook 15, which is a lot. It’s 15.6” laptop in a body to match. It’s got a very 2012 look and you’re not going to fool anybody into thinking this is some high end $1000+ machine, but overall I like the the look even if it’s pretty mundane. It’s plastic throughout, but it fe