Acer Chromebook Spin 15 CP 315-1H Review

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Editors' rating:
The Pros

Long battery life; Decent performance for the price; Stylish look; USB Type-C and Type-A ports; Comfortable typing experience

The Cons

Heavy; Thick bezels, Tinny audio; Dull screen

Verdict

The Acer Chromebook Spin 15 is a long-lasting budget laptop that isn't short on speed.

Do you want the simplicity of a Chromebook without sacrificing a big screen or a convertible 2-in-1 design? The Acer Chromebook Spin 15 CP315 looks to meld all of the above into a big, shiny package.

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With a strong selection of ports, good-for-the-price performance and a lot of battery life, the Spin 15 gives big laptops a good name. Unfortunately, its hefty weight cuts into its portability and its display has a tendency to mute colors. But if you're looking for one of the faster budget Chromebooks, you should definitely consider the Spin 15.

Acer Chromebook Spin 15 Price and Configuration options

There are three Acer Chromebook Spin 15 models available online. Most of them, including the version we tested (which has a model number ending in P1K8), feature the same 15.6-inch, 1080p touch screen, an Intel Pentium N4200 processor and 4GB of memory.

The $449 P1K8 and P4VG models both pack 64GB of eMMC storage. They differ only in that the former features an 802.11ac modem, and the latter has an 802.11 a/g/b/n/ac modem. The $399 model ending in P8QY has only 32GB of internal storage.

Design

Large convertible laptops are a rare breed, and I understood why as I moved the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 between modes. Sure, the data shows that consumers love 15-inch laptops, but rotating this mammoth's screen from the laptop mode to the tent and display positions felt ungainly.

The silver Chromebook Spin 15 sure looks nice, with the linen-like textured lid and a deck that offers a shiny, beveled edge. Its underside has a slight grippiness that helps you carry it around, while not feeling too plasticky.

The silver Chromebook Spin 15 sure looks nice, with the linen-like textured lid and a deck that offers a shiny, beveled edge.

Measuring 15.2 x 10.3 x 0.8 inches and weighing 4.6 pounds, the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 is thicker and heavier than the Asus Chromebook C523NA (14.1 x 9.8 x 0.6 inches, 3.8 pounds). The 14-inch HP Chromebook 14 (13.3 x 8.9 x 0.7 inches, 3.4 pounds) is lighter.

Ports

For a cheap laptop, the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 packs a surprisingly decent array of ports.

On the left side, you'll find its power-drawing USB Type-C port, a boxy traditional USB 3.1 port, a microSD port and a headphone jack.

On the right, you get a second USB Type-C port, a second USB 3.1 port and a security lock slot.

Display

The Acer Chromebook Spin 15's screen is brighter than most budget models, but its color quality is below average. Watching the spoilerific Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer, I noticed that the reds and golds of Spidey's outfit were rendered dull by the Chromebook 15's screen. Mysterio's green blasts, though, came out in a correct hue. The 1080p screen did allow for crisp, clear details, including the minutiae of random police officer Bristow's outfit.

According to our colorimeter, the Chromebook Spin 15 produces 68 percent of the sRGB spectrum, which is less than the 80 percent category average. Although the HP Chromebook 14 hit a slightly lower 64 percent, a slightly higher score came from the Asus Chromebook C523NA (76 percent).

Emitting 247 nits of brightness, the Spin 15 is brighter than the 232 Chromebook average. The Asus Chromebook C523NA (231 nits) and the HP Chromebook 14 (235 nits) are a smidge brighter.

The reds and golds of Spider-Man's outfit were rendered dull by the Chromebook 15's screen.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 15's touch-screen display responsively tracked my input as I navigated the desktop. But when it came to smooth scrolling, I saw mixed results. As I swiped up and down on the screen in Chrome, heavier web pages, those with more content loading, stuttered a bit.

Keyboard and Touchpad

As someone frustrated with the too-shallow, failure-prone keyboards on Apple's far-more expensive MacBooks, I'm always pleasantly surprised by how budget laptops -- such as the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 - can offer decent typing experiences.

On the 10FastFingers typing test, I clicked my way to 73 words per minute on the Spin 15. Its keys feature 1.22 millimeters of vertical travel and require 69 grams of actuation force, with the former being a bit short (we look for 1.5 to 2.0 millimeters) and the latter being just right (we prefer at least 60 grams).

As someone frustrated with the MacBook's keyboard, I was pleasantly surprised by the Chromebook Spin 15's typing experience.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 15's 4.1 x 3-inch Gorilla Glass touchpad accurately recognized my input as I tapped around the desktop, navigating Chrome OS. It also provided smooth scrolling, provided pages weren't too heavy.

Audio

Even though it can get loud, the Acer Chromebook 15's sound is nothing to be proud of. As it filled a medium-size conference room with Lizzo's "Juice," I noticed a tinny distortion in her voice, where it sounded a little faint and far away. Also, while synths hit close to what they should sound, the percussive güiro instrument sounded like someone scraping a cheese grater against a microphone.

Performance

The Acer Chromebook Spin 15 (which packs a Intel Pentium N4200 CPU and 4GB of RAM) features enough performance muscle for a restrained amount of multitasking. After splitting the Chromebook 15's screen between a 1080p YouTube video and seven Chrome tabs (including Gmail, Giphy and Tweetdeck), I saw minor clipping in the video and pages took seconds to refresh when I moved between tabs.

On the Geekbench 4 general performance benchmark (via Google Play/Android emulation), the Chromebook Spin 15 earned a score of 4,752, similar to the 4,663 budget laptop average. We saw a similar score of 4,698 from the Asus Chromebook C523NA (Intel Pentium N4200 CPU, 4GB of RAM), and lower marks of 1,283 from the AMD version of the HP Chromebook 14 (AMD A4-9120C CPU, 4GB of RAM) and the 2,733 from the Intel version of the HP Chromebook 14 (Intel Celeron N3350, 4GB of RAM).

On the Jetstream 2 benchmark, which tracks JavaScript performance, the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 earned a score of 40.3, below the 65.6 from the Asus Chromebook C523NA and close to the scores from the HP Chromebook 14 (39.64 from the AMD model and 38.6 from the Intel model).

MORE: Best and Worst Laptop Brands

The Acer Chromebook Spin 15 ran the WebGL Aquarium test (rendering 500 fish at once) at 45 frames per second, a rate that's lower than the score from the Asus Chromebook C523NA (57 fps) and the Intel HP Chromebook 14 (48 fps) and above that of the AMD HP Chromebook 14 (43 fps).

Battery Life

The Acer Chromebook Spin 15 lasts and lasts. The Laptop Mag Battery Test (web browsing at 150 nits) took 9 hours and 37 minutes to drain the Spin 15 of its charge, which is about half an hour longer than the 9:08 Chromebook average and similar to the 9:18 from the Intel version of the HP Chromebook 14. The Asus Chromebook C523NA (6:30) and the AMD-based HP Chromebook 14 (6:23) posted shorter times.

Webcam

Selfies I shot around our offices showed that the 0.9 megapixel webcam in the Chromebook Spin 15 has all the hallmarks of the bad webcams we find in most laptops.

Our overhead fluorescent lights appeared washed out, and my hair and button-up shirt were nearly without detail. The one saving grace was that my skin tones looked at least somewhat accurate.

Heat

The Acer Chromebook Spin 15 stays relatively cool. After we streamed 15 minutes of video on this laptop, our heat gun captured ratings on its touchpad (73.5 degrees Fahrenheit), G and H keys (76.5 degrees) and underside (77.5 degrees) that fell below our 95-degree comfort threshold. One small patch on the left-center area of the underside hit 93.5 degrees, though most of the bottom was cool to the touch.

Software

One of my favorite little things about Chromebooks is the complete lack of bloatware. Google's also announced that Chromebooks will now support Linux apps out of the box.

Check out our Should I Buy a Chromebook? guide to learn more about Chrome OS and the perks of a Google laptop.

Bottom Line

When it comes to budget notebooks, the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 provides all-day battery life, a strong set of ports and a relatively bright display. Unfortunately, that screen's color output isn't great and this machine's 4.6-pound weight is a high price to pay for a 15-inch panel.

If you could accept a smaller screen and slightly less speed, the $299 Intel HP Chromebook 14 gives you similar battery life in a laptop that's 26 percent lighter and $150 cheaper. If you don't mind carrying around a little more weight, though, the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 provides a respectable mix of performance and endurance.

Credit: Laptop Mag

CPU Pentium N4200
Operating System
RAM 4GB
RAM Upgradable to
Hard Drive Size 64GB
Hard Drive Speed
Hard Drive Type eMMC
Secondary Hard Drive Size
Secondary Hard Drive Speed
Secondary Hard Drive Type
Display Size 15.6
Highest Available Resolution 1920 x 1080
Native Resolution 1920 x 1280
Optical Drive
Optical Drive Speed
Graphics Card
Video Memory
Wi-Fi 802.11ac
Wi-Fi Model 802.11ac 2x2
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.2
Mobile Broadband
Touchpad Size 4.1 x 3 inches
Ports (excluding USB) USB Type-C
Ports (excluding USB) USB 3.1
Ports (excluding USB) Headphone
USB Ports 3
Card Slots microSD
Warranty/Support
Size 15.2 x 10.3 x 0.8 in
Weight 4.6 lbs
Company Website https://us-store.acer.com/acer-spin-15-laptop-cp315-1h-p1k8