Acer Chromebook 315 assessment: Massive, however unhealthy
A while in the past, I keep in mind telling a colleague that I used to be fairly eager on the concept of a big-screened Chromebook. My considering was one thing low-cost with loads of display screen for a number of home windows on the go.
The 15.6in Acer Chromebook 315 has properly and really overwhelmed that ambition out of me. Perhaps you possibly can have a sub-£300 large laptop computer that ticks all my primary necessities, however sadly the 315 ain’t it.
Acer Chromebook 315 assessment: What you have to know
As a rule of thumb, the larger the display screen on a laptop computer, the extra you’ll pay but when something can beat that ‘demise and taxes’ inevitability, it’s a Chromebook the place the watchwords have at all times been “low-cost and cheerful”.
So, you’re a 15.6in, 1,366×768 display screen and a giant chunky footprint to permit it. Inside that base is a dual-core, 1.6GHz AMD A4-9120C processor backed by 4GB RAM. Fairly wimpy for a Home windows laptop computer, however fantastic for ChromeOS. If you need slightly extra, Acer additionally has a model with a 1.8GHz AMD A6 processor and a 1080p show.
Acer Chromebook 315 assessment: Value and competitors
And the magic quantity for that’s £280. Or £300 for the model with the sharper display screen and barely snappier A6 processor.
Our record of the most effective low-cost laptops doesn’t embrace something that’s 15.6in, and there’s a cause for that: bluntly, if you happen to’re getting one thing for £300 with a display screen that large, it seemingly isn’t excellent.
However from a fast dig round, there are some Home windows 10 choices that match the transient. There’s the Lenovo IdeaPad 330S, with its 2.5GHz Ryzen R3 processor, at present promoting for £300 at John Lewis. Or the Asus VivoBook F407MA with a Pentium N5000 processor for £300 at Currys PC World. So there are alternatives, however you’ll seemingly be making some sort of sacrifices for that display screen measurement – most likely within the show high quality or the efficiency.
Plus-sized laptops with ChromeOS are equally scarce, and there’s nothing above 13in in our information to the most effective Chromebooks. So a transparent run for the Acer Chromebook 315 then…
Acer Chromebook 315 assessment: Design
When closed, the Acer Chromebook 315 appears to be like fairly good. It’s product of plastic, however may move for steel at a look, till you decide it as much as discover that your sense of contact isn’t so simply fooled.
Open it up, and it appears like a throwback to laptops of a decade in the past, with 1.5cm bezels both facet of the display screen and 2cm ones prime and tailing it. Regardless of all this further house, the keyboard, weirdly, is definitely smaller than that on my 13.3in Floor Laptop computer 2, with no numpad to talk of. Which means the audio system can reside on prime of the laptop computer, however fairly frankly I’d slightly have more room for keys, as I can’t see this ever changing into anybody’s go-to Netflix participant.
The (comparatively) tiny keyboard implies that a lot of the base of the laptop computer is a sea of plain silver, with solely the 5in trackpad drawing the attention in any respect.
Given the large expanse of house, you’d hope that Acer would go nuts on the connectivity, and it’s really fairly good, even when there may be house for extra. There are two USB-C ports (one for charging, nevertheless it additionally works with a dongle I plugged in), two USB-A ports, a microSD card slot, a Kensington lock and a three.5mm headphone jack.
Acer Chromebook 315 assessment: Keyboard and touchpad
I’m penning this assessment on the Chromebook 315’s dinky keyboard, and it’s not a cheerful expertise. In addition to being extra cramped than you’d think about a 15.6in laptop computer ought to be, it’s simply not vastly good.
The keys really feel fairly low-cost to the contact, and I might say that for each ten or so presses of the spacebar, one merely doesn’t register. There’s no rhyme or cause to this: it simply means I’m doing quite a lot of leaping forwards and backwards correcting typos. That final sentence was particularly unhealthy, with 4 presses not registered. And there’s one other one, now.
This might simply be a defective unit, nevertheless it leaves a nasty style within the mouth, and even when it weren’t for the lacking areas, this wouldn’t be a keyboard I’d be gushing about. I maintain urgent the ChromeOS ‘search’ button by mistake, for one factor, which actually disrupts the circulate.
The touchpad fares a bit higher, with good easy scrolling, and loads of house on your fingers to roam. It requires slightly pressure to click on in, so that you’ll nonetheless seemingly be desirous to get your arms on an excellent exterior mouse, nevertheless it does the job properly sufficient when required.
Acer Chromebook 315 assessment: Show
The display screen isn’t as unhealthy because the keyboard, nevertheless it’s a great distance from being good. Whereas it’s good to have a 15.6in show, the colors are weak, it’s not very vivid and, because of a really low distinction ratio, all the things appears to be like extraordinarily washed out.
That is all confirmed with slightly assist from our trusty colourimeter. Peak brightness was measured at 230cd/m2, and the distinction reached a really low 341:1. The show solely manages to cowl 59.1% of the sRGB spectrum, too.
To be clear, these figures are poor, however I don’t wish to overdo my criticism right here. It’s, in spite of everything, a funds laptop computer, and if you happen to’re lifeless set on getting a giant display screen at this worth, then it’s unlikely you’re going to get a world-beater. Simply be ready for the truth and when you have the chance, do try to use one in-store earlier than handing over any cash.
Acer Chromebook 315 assessment: Efficiency and battery life
One factor you possibly can say in regards to the Chromebook 315 – and certainly, all Chromebooks – is that it punches above its weight when it comes to efficiency. ChromeOS is suitably light-weight that the machine’s budget-level dual-core 1.6GHz AMD A4 processor and 4GB RAM aren’t an excessive amount of of a drag. It boots up shortly, and is sort of joyful leaping between tabs in Chrome.
However, to be clear, that’s seemingly all you’ll be doing with it. The trade-off anybody has to deal with after they purchase a Chromebook is that they’re changing into a part of a web-first ecosystem. You’d finest be pleased with Google Docs and Gmail, in different phrases.
This additionally applies to video games, which makes really benchmarking the factor difficult. We now have a helpful instrument that work round ChromeOS’s limitations, so can reveal it managed 23fps within the WebGL Aquarium benchmark. That places it in a greater place than Acer’s 2018 14in Chromebook, the CB3-431, which managed simply 9fps in the identical problem. The bigger 2019 mannequin additionally bests it on Mozilla’s Kraken 1.1 benchmark with four,092ms – a giant enchancment on final 12 months’s 5,235ms. However to be clear, a seventh-generation Intel Core i7 does the identical activity in 622ms, so we’re sort of splitting hairs.
Acer says the four,670mAh battery life will final ten hours, however in our battery check – a looped locally-stored video at 170cd/m2 brightness – it solely managed 5 hours and 33 minutes. That’s removed from the weakest battery we’ve ever seen, and also you’ll do rather a lot higher simply by noodling across the internet, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a contact dispiriting for those who want their machine to final a protracted day, particularly given its weak most display screen brightness.
Acer Chromebook 315 assessment: Verdict
A 15.6in laptop computer for beneath £300 was at all times going to have strings connected, and for my cash, those that figuratively cling off the Acer Chromebook 315 don’t make up for its low-cost worth.
The largest downside is the keyboard, which feels too cramped and unreliable for a productivity-focused machine. However even when it had been fantastic, the washed-out, ropey display screen is admittedly not one thing that advantages from being stretched to 15.6in.
My suggestion can be to avoid wasting slightly longer and spend a bit extra on one thing much better, or chunk the bullet and accept one thing smaller however extra completely fashioned.