In May 2019, HP did it with its Chromebook 14, and now Acer has done it with its Chromebook 315 ($299.99 as tested): it has ditched Intel hardware in favor of the AMD A4-9120C, a dual-core, 1.6GHz CPU with Radeon R4 integrated graphics that we evaluated in May.
Its performance is unremarkable, but it allows the 15.6-inch machine to be priced $200 cheaper than our Editors’ Choice consumer Chromebook, the Acer Chromebook 514, which is 14-inches in size. It’s worth taking a look at the new Acer laptop if you’ve been dreaming of a big-screen, touch-screen laptop on even the tightest of budgets.
The promise of smooth performance and high-end design at a low price has been made by Chromebook makers for years, but few have truly delivered on their promises. With the Acer Chromebook 315, such is no longer the case.
It’s true that the Acer Chromebook 315 is an extremely inexpensive gadget – but it feels and looks like a laptop that’s three times its price.
There are, of course, certain restrictions, such as the Chrome OS, which is more restricted than Windows, and the Intel Pentium Silver CPU, which is much behind the performance of premium laptops. However, Acer has managed to strike a balance between all of these capabilities, resulting in a laptop that is capable of doing fundamental day-to-day work without issue.
- 15.6-inch Full HD touchscreen
- Intel Pentium Silver N500 CPU
- 4GB RAM
- 64GB eMMC storage
- Google Chrome Operating System
- Dimensions: 381 x 256 x 19.95 mm
- Weight: 1.8 kg
The Acer Chromebook 315 has a straightforward appearance. It’s nowhere near as stunning as more expensive Chromebooks such as the PixelBook Go, but it looks and feels considerably superior to the plastic clamshells that used to predominate the Chromebook market in the early 2000s.
The thin aluminum shell has a smooth and solid feel to it. There is some perceptible flex when you push the chassis down, and some screen wobbling when you shake the device, but none of these issues are very concerning to me. The 15.6-inch model has a weight of 1.8kg. With one hand, you can just about raise it with one arm, but you will experience some wrist pain in the process.
The Chromebook 315 has a hefty black plastic bezel around the screen, but not to the point where it is unsightly. The screen is surrounded by a thin black plastic bezel. It is not possible to use this as a tablet replacement since, although having a touchscreen, the Chromebook’s hinge can only be folded back to an angle of 180 degrees.
The speakers on the Acer Chromebook are located on the bottom of the laptop, which regrettably results in audio that is a little muted when blasted into your desk. In spite of the tinny sound quality and weak bass, the speakers proved to be acceptable for listening to Spotify playlists and watching videos, especially considering that the volume can be turned up to an extremely loud decibel level.
The gadget has great connectivity, with two USB-C ports (one of which is for power transmission), two USB-A ports, a headphone input, and a microSD card slot. There are a few current exclusions, such as the lack of a fingerprint scanner and the lack of compatibility for Thunderbolt 3, but these are understandable given the low price.
A webcam can be located above the screen, and while it is operational, a green light will illuminate to let you know. Although the video quality is poor, it is still enough for business meetings and casual video calls with friends.
When making a cheap laptop, manufacturers typically aim to reduce the prices of the screen, and although this has definitely been done with the Acer Chromebook 315, the screen quality is still high enough to comfortably watch Netflix and YouTube videos.
In the case of the Acer Chromebook 315, the screen is a massive 15.6-inch LCD with a Full HD resolution. Chromebooks aren’t normally this large, but having the extra screen area is really convenient in this situation. With a 1102:1 contrast ratio, the contrast is adequate. The Acer Chromebook performed admirably in games such as The Witcher, especially during dark sequences where other budget laptops would struggle.
The most apparent flaw in the Chromebook 315’s screen is a significant red tint that results from a color temperature that is below standard. Only white backgrounds are affected, however, because I spend a lot of time using Google Documents, it was difficult to ignore.
The maximum brightness is also rather low, at 261 nits, which means that glare from the sun might make it difficult to view the screen when used in bright conditions.
Colors aren’t particularly precise – they’re nowhere near the level of accuracy necessary for professional creative work – but that isn’t a big deal for casual use. The screen on this Chromebook is as nice as you could wish for a device at this price.
The Acer Chromebook 315 CPU is available in two different configurations: AMD and Intel. A short check on the internet revealed that the former is far more popular, but it costs approximately the same as the Intel configuration that I have for evaluation, which means that I don’t expect the two to perform very differently in terms of performance.
No matter how you look at it, the Acer Chromebook 315 is not a powerful laptop, as seen by its performance in our Geekbench 5 benchmark testing. It’s crucial to note that this is an extremely inexpensive laptop and that it should only be used for simple activities like online surfing and video streaming, rather than anything else.
When I used the Acer Chromebook 315 as my primary work computer, it performed word processing and web browsing with ease and without any noticeable lag. Afterward, I decided to test it even further by streaming music from Spotify while simultaneously opening ten Google Chrome tabs — there was still no lag, except from a few graphics that took an additional second or two to load, but this was not a major issue.
I also had no problems streaming videos from YouTube and Netflix, demonstrating that this Chromebook is an excellent choice for video streaming. The Google Play Store is likely to have certain applications, such as games or photo-editing software, that may cause it to struggle, but if you keep to the essentials, this laptop should perform well.
A number of popular titles, like Minecraft and Fortnite, are also excluded from this list. Google Stadia is a nice workaround for gaming, but it only has a limited catalog of games at the moment, and you’ll need a fast internet connection to have a good performance.. Without that, your options are restricted to games like Angry Birds and Clash of Clans.
A Windows-based alternative laptop, on the other hand, will cost you twice as much as the Apple laptop mentioned above. In the event that you have no plans to use your laptop for anything more than simple web surfing and video streaming, the Acer Chromebook 315 is an excellent choice.
The Chromebook 315, according to Acer, has a battery life of up to 12.5 hours, which is much more than the 10-hour threshold that most laptops and Chromebooks aim for. Our own battery benchmark tests, on the other hand, provide quite different findings.
The Acer Chromebook barely lasted 5 and a half hours after we put it through our own routine battery test (which included setting the brightness down to 150 nits and looping a film). With that kind of performance, you won’t be able to get it through the workday without having to connect it into the wall socket at some point.
When combined with its ungainly size and weight, this isn’t a Chromebook that’s perfect for work-on-the-go situations. However, if you want to use it at home or at the office, where a power outlet is constantly within reach, the short battery life should not be an issue.
The Acer Chromebook 315 is one of the best cheap Chromebooks available today, and it’s a fantastic choice for schoolchildren, students, and basically, anybody who wants to get some work done on the internet!
Don’t get us wrong: this is not a high-end product in any way shape or form. There’s no fingerprint reader, no optical drive, and no stylus on this device, either. And the keyboard, webcam, video playback, and audio quality are all below-average in terms of quality, as well. A sleek and beautiful laptop, complete with a large touchscreen, long battery life, and a CPU powerful enough to handle many tabs simultaneously, can be had for less than £300, which is nothing short of a miracle.
Of course, it is not suitable for everyone. The more powerful and costly a laptop you wish to use for work, the better the deal you’ll get. If you’re a dedicated gamer, you’ll have to rely on web-based services like Google Stadia if you want to keep playing. Furthermore, like with any Chromebook, you will not be able to run resource-intensive creative applications such as Photoshop or After Effects on this device.
Most individuals, on the other hand, will not want to do any of that. For easier chores such as web surfing, listening to music, watching movies, and all of the other things we now need to accomplish online, such as sending emails and making Zoom calls, they only want a laptop. This Chromebook is ideal for such activities since it performs well on a gorgeous large screen and comes at a very reasonable price.
- Two USB Type-C and two USB Type-A
- Big screen supports touch input.
- Chassis is heavy
- Lackluster performance
- Mediocre panel quality.