Overall, it’s the world’s second best Chrome OS laptop, narrowly behind the much pricier second-gen Google Pixel.
There are a number of things people have found underwhelming at Apple’s highly anticipated 12-inch MacBook Retina, but everybody’s biggest gripe with the $1,299 machine seems to be the use of a meek, mobile-grade processor. Well, that, and just a lousy USB hub.
Proving premium construction, advanced connectivity capabilities and superior CPU specifications are possible at an even lower price point, Google’s Chromebook Pixel 2 has recently gone official with a slim profile, aluminum body, USB 3.1 Type-C and Intel Core i5/i7 Broadwell options.
Not very eager to drop a cool $1,000 on a PC with fairly limited, web-dependent productivity but still want raw power beyond the Core M mark? Enter Acer’s latest Chromebook 15, model number C910-54M1.
Slapped with a sensible $499.99 MSRP, this bad boy offers Core i5 Broadwell punch, Full HD screen resolution and 4 GB RAM worth of smooth multitasking in a large 15.6-inch package. Needless to point out it doesn’t quite fall into the ultraportable category, weighing a good pound and a half more than the 2015 Pixel.
Namely, 4.85 pounds (2.2 kg), with a chunky 24.2 mm (0.95 inches) waist. But hey, long battery life needs sacrifices in a fifth-gen Intel Core arrangement, and 8 hours is pretty good given the price range. Besides, the Chromebook 15 line chiefly targets education and business customers, so its main goal is to be robust and durable, not stylish and graceful.
You also get a full range of “standard” connectivity options for your five Benjamins, including Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0 and 3.0, HDMI and an SD card slot. No reversible USB Type-C, though, that would have cost extra.
Expected out stateside sometime next month, the i5 15-inch Chromebook isn’t exactly a digital hoarder’s wet dream, carrying a modest 32 GB solid state drive. Then again, these things are all about the cloud.
At the end of the day, it’s refreshing to see Google committed to expanding the reach of these once rudimentary, squarely ultra-low-cost, ultra-low-end notebooks. Even if Chromebooks are still no match for MacBooks or Windows machines as far as mainstream appeal goes.