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Acer Chromebook 715 review

Acer’s powerful, premium Chromebook comes at a serious price

Acer Chromebook 715
(Image: © Future)
Benchmarks

Here’s how theAcer Chromebook 715 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

Mozilla Kraken: 1,010ms
Octane: 41,287
JetStream: 111.5
Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 13 hours, 38 minutes

There’s an argument for viewing this Chromebook’s Intel Core i7-8650U CPU as overkill. If you want high performance, you’ll get a Windows laptop. More than any other single component, it’s responsible for pushing the 715’s pricetag so high. But there’s no doubting it delivers the goods. It’s a very fast CPU given the thin-and-light laptop remit.

The 16GB of RAM is likewise all you’re ever going to need in this type of PC. Actually, it’s probably more than you’re ever going to need. That’s not necessarily true of the 128GB eMMC SSD. 

It’s not normally part of our laptop test routine, but we extracted some synthetic numbers from the drive and found read speeds of around 250MB/s and writes of 190MB/s. That’s pretty poor when the latests M.2 SSD are knocking out multiple GB/s of performance.

Acer Chromebook 715

(Image credit: Future)

But the biggest disappointment is the Acer Chromebook 715’s screen. If the core specs are merely OK, the reality isn’t even that good. The backlighting is weak, the colors dull, the pixel density relatively coarse. It’s not nearly good enough at this price point.

Indeed, it was the Google Pixelbook’s high-res, high quality screen complete with an unusual but arguably more ergonomic 3:2 aspect ratio that helped smooth acceptance of what was then a new proposition - the premium Chromebook.

Battery life

Still, there’s better news when it comes to battery life, with the 715 delivering over 13 hours of video playback. 

The caveat to that is that our testing is completed at 50% screen brightness, at level that’s probably unrealistically low given this laptop’s dingy screen. But even with a few hours shaved off, this laptop offers true all-day battery life.

Acer Chromebook 715

(Image credit: Future)

Verdict

Justifying a near four-figure price tag is a tough ask with any Chromebook. And we’re not convinced Acer has entirely pulled it off.

There’s lots to like from the strong CPU performance and oodles of memory to the robust metal chassis and tireless battery life. But other aspects undermine its appeal.

The biggest problem is the disappointing screen. It’s just not good enough at this price point. Arguably corporate users won’t be too worried by that, but will appreciate the excellent CPU performance in certain apps along with the heightened security provided by the fingerprint reader. But even in that context, the screen is off putting.

The weak storage performance and rather conservative, dated design hardly sweeten the deal, either. Again, there will be a niche of buyers for whom that doesn’t matter. But the appeal of this portable is narrowing by the moment.

All of which means the Acer Chromebook 715 is tough to recommend. Objectively, it performs well in many areas. But at this price point, there are a lot of both gorgeous and capable machines available and it’s hard to imagine choosing this Acer over all of them.

That said, Acer offers alternative configurations with a slightly less powerful Intel CPU and 8GB of memory rather than 16GB at a significant savings. In value terms, that makes much more sense. We’d steer you in that direction if the Acer Chromebook 715 is on your shopping list.