Despite starting out as a device with the most modest of specs, the Chromebook has continued to get bigger and more powerful, even if it's still fairly humble compared to most Windows laptops. By adding Intel processors and bigger screens, Acer has reaped the rewards of beefing up Chromebooks, claiming around a third of the market.
Back at CES in January, the computer company rolled out the first Chromebook with a 15.6-inch screen, a common size for Windows notebooks but a jump in viewing area for laptops running the Chrome OS. Now Acer is back with a second Chromebook with the larger screen size, but this time with an even lower price point.
The Chromebook 15 CB5-571 series has a starting price of $249.99, though its optional 1080p display and Core i3 processor can push the cost up. With the new CB3-531, Acer drops the starting price by $50 but retains the same roomier 1,366x768 display.
To meet that lower price point, the CB3-531 had to sacrifice somewhere -- and that somewhere appears to be in the processor. While the CB5-571 offers fifth-generation Core CPUs (a.k.a. Haswell), the CB3-531 comes with an older Intel Celeron N2830 dual-core chip. It also includes 2GB of RAM and 16GB of solid-state storage, typical for the humble requirements of the Chrome OS, though the CB5-571 offers the option of 4GB of RAM and a 32GB SSD.
One area where the CB3-531 didn't have to sacrifice was batter life, which Acer claims will last up to 11.5 hours between charges. You also get 802.11ac Wi-Fi for speedy wireless connections, and the largest trackpad on a Chromebook, according to the company.
The CB3-531 retains the same durability features of its older Chromebook 15 sibling, able to withstand forces of up to 130 pounds and featuring fortified corners that can handle drops of up to 18 inches. Rounding out the specs are Bluetooth 4.0 support, USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports, an HDMI connection, and an SD card reader.
The CB3-531 will start shipping in July. Does $200 for a 15.6-inch Chromebook sound like a good deal to you? Let us know in the discussion section below.