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Acer Chromebook 15: a first look at the biggest Chromebook on Earth

Acer kicked off its CES yesterday by announcing the $249 Chromebook 15, a new Chromebook laptop that — for now at least — is the biggest one you can buy. We just got our hands on it here in Las Vegas, and even at a glance it looks like there's fierce new competitor in the Chromebook market.

First and foremost, it's built really well. The laptop has a very solid feel but is still light enough to comfortably carry in one hand, even lighter than other, smaller Chromebooks. The black plastic doesn't feel as cheap as the plastic found making up competing models, either. There's a nice mesh-style pattern on the back of it, which helps it stand out without being as aggressive as what's found on the Toshiba Chromebook 2 or flashy as on Samsung's Chromebook 2.

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The keyboard's chiclet keys are responsive and have a good action to them, and the trackpad was similarly impressive. There's room to navigate both comfortably — it's not as cramped as Acer's 13- and 11-inch competitors tend to be. The model we got to look at had a 1360x768 screen that is good but not great (the company will be offering a 1080p version), and Acer takes advantage of the extra real estate afforded by the 15-inch build by lining the keyboard with stereo speakers.

The Chromebook 15 is reminiscent of Apple's black MacBooks

All told, Acer's actually made something very reminiscent of the black MacBooks that many people often opine fondly about, and together these things appear to make the Chromebook 15 feel like one of the most well-rounded Chromebooks made yet.

Available in February for $249, it sits right in the comfortable middle ground as far as Chromebook pricing goes. But Chromebooks aren't just competing with other Chromebooks anymore, because laptop makers are coming up with ways to make full-featured laptops cheaper and cheaper. It won't be long until price is as persuasive a selling point for Chromebooks as it is right now. Until then, consider Acer's Chromebook 15 one of the best new options around.

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