- Solid build quality
- Speedy internals
- Diverse I/O
- 250 nit screen
- No touch input
- No keyboard backlight
- MSRP is too high
With Chromebook Plus, one of the things I’ve really enjoyed so far is the fact that these devices deliver a solid, steady experience almost without fail, regardless of their price. Sure, the more expensive ones have some nicer perks, but the core Chromebook experience is pretty great across the board, and I think that’s what Google was after. And nowhere is this reality more true than with one of the least expensive Chromebook Plus models of the pack – the Acer Chromebook Plus 515. Let’s talk about it.
The Chromebook Experience
What makes a great Chromebook experience? Is it processor speed, screen clarity, build quality, or some other factor that really sets one device apart from the next? I’d argue that its a combination of all the pieces that make up a Chromebook and how those pieces come together. You don’t need perfection in every area and reaching for that lofty goal only drives up price: yet another one of those pieces that factor in to the actual experience of using any laptop.
So, what does a Chromebook need to get right, then? A little bit of all of it, I suppose, and that means solid performance, a screen that isn’t a hindrance, a keyboard/trackpad that doesn’t get in the way, the ports you need to get connected, and a chassis that doesn’t feel like it will bend under its own weight. While you don’t have to get all of those all perfect, you do have to be sure not to cut the corners too hard.
The Acer Chromebook Plus 515 Experience
And that’s what I see in the Acer Chromebook Plus 515. This is a device that absolutely cuts corners, and for the most part, it gets away with it. The spec sheet is pretty simple: it’s a 15.6-inch Chromebook with a 1080p non-touch anti-glare screen, a solid port selection, a usable keyboard, nice upward facing speakers, a smooth Ocean Glass trackpad, and enough speed inside that you never have to think about it. A 12th-gen Core i3-1215U, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage is a proven combo for that.
But the cut corners are here, too. The screen only hits 250 nits, the keyboard is fine but lacks backlighting, and the lack of a touchscreen stinks sometimes. But for a device that hits prices as low as $220 or $250 with good regularity, those trade-offs are completely fine. I think $399 feels a bit steep for this one considering the other models available, but as we all know, the “S” in MSRP is for “suggested.” And this one dips below that suggested number a lot.
Using the Acer Chromebook Plus 515 for the past few weeks, I’ve not missed a step. The inputs are great, the I/O is solid enough that I don’t have to have a dock, it’s light at only 3.7 pounds for a 15.6-inch device, and I don’t have to worry at all about speed. Oh, and the camera – like it is on all Chromebook Plus models – does a great job handling various lighting situations when I need to hop in a video chat.
Like other Chromebook Plus models, this device does a great job using the assets it has to deliver a solid, usable experience that doesn’t break the bank and really doesn’t trade too much to get the price down. And with updates scheduled until June of 2032, you’ll be able to get every bit of use you could want out of this great – if not remarkable – Chromebook Plus.