Hands-on Gear Review

Acer 15 Review

Price:   $350 List
Pros:  Large screen, nice typing experience, large trackpad
Cons:  Heavy, no tablet mode
Bottom line:  Great for productivity and movie watching, but not for travelling
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
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  • 5
Weight:  4.3 lb
Dimensions:  14.88" x 10.08" x 0.75"
Touchscreen:  Yes
Manufacturer:   Acer

Our Verdict

The Acer 15 is a serious workhorse that offers a phenomenal user experience. It starts with a solid aluminum body that makes it feel like a legitimate productivity tool. The large 15.6" inch screen means no squinting required, and its full 1080p resolution provides a borderline cinematic experience if you want to throw your feet up and stream some Netflix for a while. The full sized keyboard and large, responsive trackpad are pleasant to use and allow you to focus on the task at hand. On the inside, 4GB of RAM provides fast, glitch free browsing, even if you're vying for the all time record for number of tabs open at once. The Acer 15 only has a couple of downsides, the first being portability. It is the same size as most traditional laptops, so you're not getting the ultra small and slim form factor of some other Chromebooks. Also, it is not our top choice for using Android apps, as it can't be folded into a tablet mode, and using a touchscreen on a traditional 90˚ hinge laptop feels a bit odd.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Chromebooks of 2018


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

Last Updated:
Monday
April 9, 2018

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The Acer 15 offers decent performance and a great screen in what is a fairly large package for a Chromebook. If you're willing to sacrifice a bit of portability for more screen real estate, it is a great choice.


Performance Comparison


The Acer 15 wasn't a particular standout in our testing, as you can see in the table above, but it performed well enough that we feel comfortable recommending it to large screen aficionados. Below we take a deep dive into how the Acer 15 did in all of our tests.

Performance


With 4GB of RAM and an Intel Celeron Quad-Core processor, the Acer 15 was able to deliver good web browsing performance in our testing. It even multitasked quite well. In fact, right as I type this I'm using the Acer 15 to write and peruse our Chromebooks scoring spreadsheets, all whilst being serenaded by the dulcet tones of a full HD Justin Timberlake music video, and not noticing even an ounce of lag. If I keep doing that and push the tab count into the double digits I can start to notice a little bit of lag. This doesn't feel limiting at all, as I really don't need all these tabs open at once, but it is something higher performing models like the Samsung Pro and Google Pixelbook can handle.

Ports


The Acer 15 has a 2 in 1 memory card reader, 2 USB ports, and an HDMI port.

The Acer 15's ports
The Acer 15's ports

Interface/Features


This is where the Acer 15 is in a category of its own. Owing to its large size and correspondingly large keyboard and trackpad, it offered the best typing and clicking experience of any of the models we tested. If we had to spend hours typing and dragging cells around spreadsheets, we'd want to be doing it on the Acer 15.

The Acer 15 has a large keyboard and trackpad. The touchscreen is responsive but can be odd to use as it does not offer a tablet mode.
The Acer 15 has a large keyboard and trackpad. The touchscreen is responsive but can be odd to use as it does not offer a tablet mode.

This machine also has a nice, responsive touchscreen. However, the screen can't fold all the way around into a tablet mode like many of the other models we tested. That's ok for simple Android apps like Instagram, but if you want to play a game or use any app that requires a lot of input, doing so in a traditional laptop configuration is less than ideal. If you're looking for a better balance between a good typing experience and a true table mode, the Samsung Pro is likely the way to go.

Display Quality


Here the Acer 15 was dominate in our testing, sharing the top score with a couple of other models. At 15.6 inches the Acer 15 has the biggest screen of all the models we tested. That alone makes it a nice screen to look at, especially for extended periods of time. On top of that it offeres full 1080p high definition resolution. Additionally, we were incredibly impressed with the accuracy and quality of the colors it produced. Movies looked as rich and vibrant as on the oft-heralded display of the Macbook Pro. This made watching movies on the Acer 15 an absolute delight. Throw in a pair of nice headphones, dim the lights, and it's a borderline cinematic experience. We can vouch that watching Goose tragically die in Top Gun on the Acer 15 elicited just as many emotions as watching it happen on a big screen (spoiler alert).

The 15.3" offers a lot of real estate.
The 15.3" offers a lot of real estate.

The only models that could match the display quality of the Acer 15 were the Google Pixelbook and the Samsung Pro. However, both of their screens are significantly smaller at 12.3".

Battery Life


The Acer 15 lasted 7.5 hours in our battery life testing, putting it at the front of the pack. We tested battery life by streaming a video at full brightness, so this means you can easily watch 3 movies on the Acer 15, even with the screen cranked up to super bright, before it konks out.


Portability


Portability is the only place the Acer 15 asks you to make some sacrifices. Due to its large size it was the least portable model we tested by a long shot. This certainly is not a cumbersome machine to carry around. But it is the same size and, at 4.3 pounds, about the same weight as an average traditional laptop. If you plan on toting this machine along on a plane or to a coffee shop, you would probably appreciate having a backpack or bag with a dedicated laptop sleeve. On the plus side the Acer 15's solid metal body lent confidence that it wouldn't be damaged when shoved into an overstuffed bag, or dropped into a TSA bin. While the larger size is a clear drawback when compared to some of the smaller, super portable Chromebooks, it is the price you inevitably must pay for a big screen, full sized keyboard, and a large trackpad (which ended up being some of our favorite attributes of this machine).

The Acer 15 is quite large and heavy.
The Acer 15 is quite large and heavy.

Value


At a list price of $400, the Acer 15 is slightly less expensive than other new Chromebooks on the market. If you don't mind sacrificing portability and a true tablet mode for a big screen and keyboard, this is a great value. If you want something a bit more versatile and portable the Samsung Pro, which is $100 more, is likely a better buy.

Conclusion


The Acer 15 is great for Chrome OS fans that need to type a lot and want a large screen. If you're looking for a true laptop/tablet hybrid, the Samsung Pro is a much better choice.
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

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