Acer Chromebook 15 (2016) review

Chrome OS comes to the big screen

Acer Chromebook 15 review

The Acer Chromebook 15 is a breath of fresh air in the Chromebook space. It takes this series of laptops to two new places, as the first with a 15.6-inch screen and the first packing a Broadwell processor. More importantly, this Chromebook gets so many things right out of the gate, helping me overlook the minor flaws that can be expected when breaking ground.

We liked

Acer has leveraged all it's past experience making Chromebooks to create a solid package, one that jumps over nearly all the hurdles early Chrome OS machines struggled with. First and foremost, it neither looks nor feels the least bit "budget".

The laptop also comes well equipped and is fully capable machine for multi-tasking. What's more, it has a positively radiant screen that's perfect for long Netflix binges.

We disliked

Sadly, the Acer Chromebook 15 isn't without its problems, and sudden crashes are a huge issue. In just a few days of testing, the laptop came to a screeching stop that required me to do a hard reset to bring it back. In each case, I was able to get back online in mere seconds. But imagine if your machine froze as you were working on an online Google Doc file during a long flight. You wouldn't be able to log back on and continue working until the plane landed.

The crashes came as a real surprise, because in my years working with these Chrome OS-powered machines, this is the first time any has ever outright crashed. Hopefully this is an issue Acer can address in the future with an update or software patch. (Plus, remember that your hard-earned cash also buys a one-year limited warranty.)

Final verdict

The Acer Chromebook 15 is a excellent Chrome OS laptop, but it asks you whether you need a machine this big just to run a Chrome browser?

For most people, that answer would be no, but I would easily pick this machine over any budget 15.6-inch Windows laptop. It's simply better built and comes at a better price to boot. The 15-inch display on this laptop itself would even be worth the $349 or £249 (about AU$458) price of admission.

Both the Acer Chromebook 13, and even more so, the Toshiba Chromebook 2 are excellent options in their own right. So, picking the right machine for you will come down to how much screen real estate you need. No matter what though, the Acer Chromebook 15 is on the cutting edge and first sign of where Chrome OS devices will end up this year.