I had thought Chromebooks would grow even more popular in 2020, but I could never have imagined that they'd become the hot ticket item of the year! Leave it to tens of millions of people having to work or learn from home to overwhelm the Chromebook market, I guess. While most enthusiasts and tech publications are more focused on premium Chromebooks like the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook and the ASUS Chromebook Flip C436, I've always drifted towards more affordable models. My daily driver is a $300 Chromebook, and it's perfectly suited to my needs, and it's more often what users like you are looking for.
The Acer Chromebook 715 isn't a head-turner for spec hounds, but it's exactly the kind of Chromebook that most people actually need before they get lured in by shiny shells and the premium marketing: a no-nonsense Chromebook with enough get-up and go to get your work done. It doesn't do everything right — the screen is big, but a bit dull — but if you just want a Chromebook for your kid to get their coursework done, this is affordable, available, and perfectly acceptable.
At a glance
Bottom line: With options for an i3 or i5 processor and up to 128GB of storage, this is a Chromebook that's made to get things done, especially with its 15.6 touchscreen — perfect for split-screening — and keyboard with a number pad for entering grades and other figures.
- Big touchscreen
- Powerful enough for business
- Design's a bit basic
- Dull screen
- Webcam sucks
Ready to work
Acer Chromebook 715 What's great about it
|Category||Acer Chromebook 715|
|Processor||Intel Pentium 4417U
Intel Core i3-8130U
Intel Core i5-8350U
|Ports||2x USB-C (USB 3.1 Gen 1)
1x USB-A (USB 3.1 Gen 1)
Audio combo jack
|Peripheral features||Full-size keyboard with number pad
|AUE Date||June 2025|
Under the large aluminum lid of the 715 sits a 15.6-inch screen and a full-size keyboard with a number pad, which is emphasized because, before last year, numpad Chromebooks were unheard of. The keyboard here is easy enough to use, and the glass trackpad is even easier to glide around on — I kinda wish it was centered on the laptop rather than centered on the spacebar — but I still used the touchscreen for a lot of my scrolling and navigation.
A touchscreen on a clamshell laptop may seem superfluous, but I'm happy it's here. The fold-flat hinge here is sturdy enough that while you can open it with one hand, I almost always took the precaution of using two. I'm grateful for that rigidity; the lid wouldn't flop flat or slam shut when I pick it up off my lap the way some 2-in-1s do.
Getting to the specs and performance, Chrome OS absolutely purrs on an i3, even with only paired with 4GB of RAM on my review unit (8GB models are available, but you'll pay significantly more for them), and the 128GB of storage gives you plenty of space for Android apps, offlines content, or just oodles and oodles of downloaded attachments because that's inevitably what the download folder on any Chromebook becomes. I didn't run into any stutters or lags on the 715 until I was north of 25 tabs, and Android apps ran as smoothly as they did on the ASUS C436, which is great considering this Chromebook is half the price.
Battery while using the 715 is about what I'd expect from a modern Chromebook: I usually got 8-10 hours on a charge. I did notice that if I left this Chromebook sitting unused on a table unplugged for days at a time, it eats a little more battery than other Chromebooks I've used recently, but it never left me hanging when I needed it. That said, as a 15-inch Chromebook, I usually left it plugged into my micro docking station because it's a bit big for couch-surfing.
Where's the pizzazz?
Acer Chromebook 715 What's not good
While it's nice to have a big screen, the 15.6-inch screen on the Acer 715 isn't exactly vibrant. It's good enough for research and number-crunching large Excel sheets, but I wouldn't want to watch movie marathons on it. It can get bright enough to use in the shade outdoors, but things start looking faded really easily once you take it out of the office. You'll find better 15.6-inch screens on the Lenovo C340-15 and some of HP's larger models, but the screen quality here matches what we've seen on other Acer Chromebooks in this price range.
Normally, I'm not too hard on Chromebook webcams, but on business-oriented models like the 715 — especially in 2020 where most of us are having video calls for work — it's worth more than a passing mention here. Especially because the webcam here is just bad. Even last year's $250 Lenovo C330 has a noticeably better webcam than the Acer 715. I understand that at $400, there had to be a compromise somewhere, but if you're going to be making a lot of web calls, I would either get a USB webcam or choose another laptop.
I've had this Chromebook for the better part of three months, but I kept getting lured away from it by other Chromebooks — like the $1000 ASUS Chromebook Flip C436 and the compact Lenovo Chromebook Duet — because while the Acer Chromebook 715 does most things right and does them all quickly, it does them in a boring shell. And if you're someone who values aesthetics in everything they own, you'll probably want something shinier and flashier than the 715, though you will undoubtedly pay more for it.
There's nothing wrong with boring laptops; even laptops twice this price can feel boring to some of us. If you need a Chromebook with a more powerful processor and a big screen for split-screening work as you work from home without breaking your budget — the way the $600 (or more) ASUS C434 can — the Acer Chromebook 715 can be a great laptop for you.
Acer Chromebook 715 Should you buy it?
Acer didn't really break the mold with the Acer Chromebook 715, but that's perfectly fine. For $400, a Chromebook with a 15.6-inch touchscreen and an i3 processor is about as good as it gets, especially once you add in 128GB of storage and the fact that it'll get Chrome OS updates until June 2025. For schoolwork or "real work," this Chromebook is all you need to keep connected and productive, so long as you can live with the webcam and a slightly dim screen.
If there's anything to be wary of when buying the Acer 715, it's this: there are some configurations that don't include a touchscreen, but I recommend steering clear of them. While touchscreens are necessary on 2-in-1s like the Lenovo C340-15, I really do advocate buying a touchscreen even on clamshell Chromebooks because they make it far easier to interact with Android apps, which are usually touch-optimized rather than geared towards mouse/trackpad.
Check the specs when you're buying to ensure that you're grabbing a touchscreen model; if you're not, it better be under $350 or you need to close the tab and walk away.
She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid.
While there are certainly Chromebooks out there with flashier chassis, I'd just as soon spend my money on a laptop with more power and a bigger screen. Available with an Intel i3 or i5, this understated Chromebook is ready to get down and dirty with a mess of multi-tab windows and Android apps.
Who it's for
- If you need a Chromebook with a big screen but not a big price
- If you don't need a 4K screen or Project Athena
- If you want a low-key laptop that can get it done
- If you want a touchscreen but don't need a 2-in-1
Who it isn't for
- If you do a lot of professional video calls
- If you absolutely need a killer screen
- If you want a compact/light Chromebook
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