Acer Chromebook 715 review: A great, big Chromebook for at-home school and work

Josh Goldman/CNET

The Acer Chromebook 715 started life as a premium model targeted at a growing business market for Chrome OS devices. Along with its smaller sibling, the Chromebook 714, the 715 has a premium all-aluminum chassis built to survive drops from up to 48 inches (122 cm) and downward force up to 132 pounds (60 kg). You could also get the Chromebook 715 with a fingerprint reader, a backlit keyboard, an Intel Core i5 processor and 16GB of memory for around $750. Or, you can get a much more affordable version that dials back on the specs and extras but keeps the premium build quality, making it a fantastic choice for a home office or student Chromebook. 

LikePremium lightweight design with spacious 15.6-inch displayBattery life longer than a workdayGood everyday performance

Don’t LikeNo backlit keyboard, fingerprint reader like higher-end versionsMemory, storage soldered on

By dropping things like the backlight on the keyboard and the fingerprint reader as well as going with a lower-end processor and less memory, Acer brought the price down to $330. The price is now higher with the increased demand for inexpensive Chromebooks for remote learning and working coming in at $419 with a touchscreen or $399 without. Those are both still really good prices all things considered and an easy recommendation if you don’t need something ultraportable. (The Acer Chromebook 715 isn’t currently available in the UK or Australia, but the price of my configuration converts to £260 and AU$470.)

Acer Chromebook 715 (CB715-1WT-39HZ)

Price as reviewed

$330

Display size/resolution

15.6-inch 1,920×1,080-pixel matte touch display

Processor

2.2GHz Intel Core i3-8130U

Memory

4GB DDR4 (dual-channel)

Graphics

Integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620

Storage

128GB eMMC

Ports

2x USB-C (3.1 Gen 1), 1x USB-A, audio/mic jack, MicroSD card slot

Networking

802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2

Operating system

Chrome OS

Weight

4.3 pounds (1.9 kg)

The 715 is big because of its display, but it’s still thin and light. 

Josh Goldman/CNET
A mobile home office or classroom

My kids are currently in remote learning full-time for seventh, fifth and third grades. They change where in our house they take their classes nearly every day. They’re on Google Meet most of the day while doing work in between and then stay on their Chromebooks after school is done to wrap up any “homework.” They’re also not the best at charging their devices. The Chromebook 715 is what I would buy them. 

The 15.6-inch display gives them room to see what they’re working on without constantly scrolling. And the touchscreen is a plus since they’ve never known a time without them and are used to poking at screens. The display is reasonably bright, but reflections are less of an issue with its matte finish. 

The 715 dwarfs the 11.6-inch Chromebooks my kids use but because the Acer is relatively light and thin for its size, it’s still manageable for them to take around the house. Also, since it’s built for durability, I would be less concerned about them dropping it. 

The hinge lets you lay the display flat on a desk. 

Josh Goldman/CNET

The Core i3 processor and 4GB of memory are more than enough to handle their schoolwork and then some. That’s good since the memory and storage can’t be upgraded. The 715 also has amazing battery life. On our streaming video test, it ran for 16 hours, 18 minutes. With more typical use, they’ll be able to get through the school day without needing to plug it in. It charges through its USB-C ports and with one on each side, it’s less of an issue how close they are to an outlet.  

The Chromebook 715 has a serviceable 720p webcam; you’ll need a lot of light to get a picture that’s not soft and noisy. The mic quality is fine, too, so you should have no trouble being seen and heard on your next Google Meet. Virtually no Chromebooks, Windows laptops or MacBooks have decent full-HD-or-better webcams, which is a shame now that everyone’s using them nonstop.

The keyboard is spacious.

Josh Goldman/CNET

The keyboard is comfortable and the keys are well spaced. And, for those who need one, there’s a full number pad. It’s disappointing the backlit was one of the things removed to lower the price, though. Acer did leave in the Gorilla Glass-covered touchpad, however, which is smooth and responsive.  

At its original $330 price, the Acer Chromebook 715 was a steal. But even at its slightly higher price of $399 it’s a good deal. If you need or want a smaller, lighter Chromebook to slip in your backpack, the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 or others like it will be a better fit. For those who just need a good, durable Chromebook for around the house, though, you might want to scoop up a Chromebook 715.  

Josh Goldman/CNET


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