Acer Chromebook 315, 15.6 HD, Intel Celeron N4000, 4GB LPDDR4, 32GB eMMC, Chrome OS – CB315-3H-C2C3
This is a pretty amazing Chromebook laptop. I’d seen some reviews for the Acer 315 before, but the specs on this one are higher this year, and so is my rating for it. This is GREAT. First, the screen is big and wide with lush visuals. It’s like a regular-sized monitor. It is big enough that my eyes dart around the screen while I’m working and I can see everything clearly. No visual issues, like darkening from a certain angle. The screen resolution I have mine set to is 1518 x 853, which is… BIG. Enough space for everything. The screen doesn’t reflect light back so it’s easy to see and work in just about any kind of lighting. Which is such a relief.
It’s comfortable to use, too. The keys have a nice shape, size, height, and feel to them. The keyboard is nearly full-sized. It includes a numerical keypad to the right of the regular keyboard for all of us number-crunchers. It’s all really easy to type on, even if you have larger hands, like me. I can type as fast on this Chromebook as I do on my PC keyboard. There is a generous touchpad area (no mouse needed) and a wide wrist-rest area, too.
And yet, all that size doesn’t make it heavy. It’s about three-and-a-half pounds is all. The case is some kind of heavy-duty plastic, which looks very upscale, with a fancy metallic look. Nice. At its thickest, it’s three-quarters of an inch. On the thinner edge, only half an inch. And yet, they found enough room for several ports, including two of the faster, blue-colored USB ports, two superfast USB-C ports (so I can charge it with the included USB-C power cord on either side!), a Kensington Security Lock slot, and a microSD card slot to enlarge storage and save/access files. Note that it has no HDMI slot, so this may not be ideal for an entertainment center (if you don’t have a USB-C to HDMI converter).
It also has a regular 3.5mm/micro-stereo plug for earphones, which is more than I can say for my phone. Which cost more BTW. I usually use my wireless ear pods, though, since the Bluetooth on this Chromebook pairs and connects almost instantly. Perfect sound. The on-board speakers aren’t bad, either — very clear audio making it easy to talk back-and-forth via video chat or online conferencing. Zero problems with the microphone, which has great sound according to those I’ve chatted with. And the camera is every bit as good as my high-end office camera — or better — even in less-than-ideal lighting.
Also, I gotta say, I used to have a laptop where the fan would start up during video chats, ruining the audio (it sounded like an old biplane taking off). This Chromebook has a special powerful-yet-cool Intel processor that runs cool and has NO FAN. OMG, what a lifesaver. There is some kind of power-saving efficiency thing going on, too, so a charge lasts over 12 hours, IRL. Excellent! I don’t even bring the power cord with me, which is super convenient, making it even easier to carry!
I wasn’t sure if all they said about the super-fast Wi-Fi is true, but was pleasantly surprised; I ran multiple speedtests and got download speeds over 200 Mbps, and nearly the same for uploads. To be clear: That’s 200 megabits per second for wireless Wi-Fi, not plugged-in ethernet. Unreal!
I was a little unsure about relying on the Chrome OS so much, as I’ve used Windows my whole life. But it is super easy and intuitive. Setting it up was ridiculously simple. I plugged it in, turned it on (boots up in seconds, for real), and logged into the Chrome browser, which is what I always use anyway. And… that’s it. Done. No more setup, no adware, all good, all done.
Moments later, there was my browser, set up the just the way I like it, with all my bookmarks and everything. Awesome. There are two icons on the bottom-screen menu bar. The one on the left accesses files, the Chrome browser, and such. The one on the right, which also displays the time, battery, and Wi-Fi strength, has all the settings right there — volume, screen brightness, and everything else. Suuuuuper easy.
I tried to overload it for this review, to see if I could get it to crash with lots and lots of tabs open and videos playing and what-not, but it just ran smoothly. Perfectly. This is a great machine.
So, in short, this Chromebook is the real deal, totally legit, works fantastic, looks good, lightweight, yet powerful enough that I couldn’t figure out how to slow it down. It does everything I need, and — like with that superfast Wi-Fi speed — does it better than ever I thought it could. I am really, really happy about it.