Google’s Chromebook initiative continues to roll on, with the low-cost, primarily online-only system making inroads into places like education where low cost and easy maintenance make a difference. Acer has made Chromebook notebooks since the very beginning, garnering a 33-percent market share in the meantime, and they’re releasing an update to the Chromebook 15 line addressing at least one key attribute.
The Chromebook 15 refresh is aimed primarily at increasing battery life, and extends the machine’s endurance to up to 12 hours of useful life before a recharge is required. The first model is available starting today exclusively at Walmart for the decidedly entry-level price of $199, making it an attractive option for holiday shoppers. According to Acer, “The new Acer Chromebook 15 is going to be a big hit with holiday shoppers this year. It combines the most sought-after features — a large display and incredibly long battery life — at a price that makes it a desirable and affordable gift.”
The model now on sale at Walmart is of low specifications, which is to be expected given the price. It uses an Intel Celeron N3060 dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB internal storage. Users will therefore be relying primarily on cloud storage to manage their documents. Walmart currently has the Chromebook 15 in stock both online and in some of its physical locations.
Acer’s Chromebook 15 was already a solid low-cost notebook prior to the refresh, with a relatively sharp HD (1,366 x 768 pixel) screen, a good keyboard and touchpad, and decent performance. The chassis is made of plastic, and the overall look and feel is solid but not particularly exciting. Connectivity is somewhat limited, with only two USB 3.0 ports, although HDMI-out is an added value along with an SD card reader, 801.11ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0. The HD web cam supports high dynamic range (HDR) for crisp video and image viewing.
Ultimately, the Chromebook 15 is like an economy sedan — an entry-level price matched with boring but reliable performance making for a solid value proposition. Its buyers will be looking for the best machine they can get for the price, and while that’s debatable given Windows 10 machines are around the same price point, the Chromebook 15 nevertheless offers a decent entry into the Chromebook world.