Now that you can buy a decent Windows laptop for $US200, does anyone need a Chromebook? That's an existential question we hope to answer soon. But if you want a big, honking 15-inch Chromebook, it looks like Acer's got just the Chromebook for you.
We just got hands on the Acer Chromebook 15 here at CES, and not only is it honkin' huge, it feels extremely solid for a machine that costs just $US250.
Contrary to our expectations, even the 1366 x 768 standard-res screen on this Chromebook looks surprisingly good. Sure, I can make out individual pixels at that resolution, and the colours are a little wacky at off-angles, but it resists glare pretty well and is nowhere near terrible.
The chassis, meanwhile, feels like I could throw it clear across a room without damaging the device. It's hefty, solid, Tonka-tough toy-grade plastic with a diamond texture that makes it feel more rugged than stylish. There's barely any flex when I twist the chassis or press down.
The touchpad's silky smooth for single-finger tracking (didn't have time to test two-finger scrolling or pinch to zoom) and the keyboard is reasonably nice too. Keypresses feel a little shallow, but they're super easy to press and don't stiffly bottom out when you push down.
The speakers sounded a little muted and awkward the moment I threw some Taylor Swift up on the screen, but what do you expect for $US250?
It's big, and thick, and it's hard to tell how fast the new Intel Broadwell chip is without a longer test, but as far as cheap Chromebook are concerned it looks like a possible winner. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how it stacks up against our current Best Chromebook picks as soon as possible.