Choosing between two similar Chromebooks
There are seemingly endless possibilities if you are in the market for a new Chromebook. A Chromebook is a laptop that uses Google’s ChromeOS operating system.
These devices have most of the components that traditional laptops have, but there is one big difference: where data is stored. Chromebooks are cloud-based. This means built-in apps like Gmail, Google Docs and Meet automatically sync whenever you are online. These two Chromebooks are both great, but it’s important to consider the differences to make sure you pick the best one for your needs.
Acer Chromebook 315 Touch
The 315 Touch from Acer has been designed for people who work on the go. It has a large enough screen to see everything and is powerful enough to handle whatever it is you need to do. The addition of a touch screen will also make this a favorite among creative workers who need to get into the finer details for their craft with precision. It retails for $329.99 at Acer and $319.99 at Amazon.
Acer Chromebook 315 Touch pros
This Chromebook features a 15.6-inch LCD display with anti-glare and uses In-plane Switching (IPS) technology. It has a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080, making it a Full HD Chromebook. The bezels around the display aren’t as thin as you might like, but there are definitely thicker ones out there.
This display is also touch screen capable, which is a bonus for creative workers who might draw or design. The visuals on the display are powered by a GeForce MX330 graphics card with LPDDR4 RAM. This inclusion gives the 315 Touch a bit of extra graphical power when it comes to video editing or creative rendering.
Driving the Chromebook 315 Touch is an Intel Celeron N4000 1.10GHz processor. The CPU can be overclocked to a maximum of 2.60GHz. It’s not as fast as a desktop computer, but still powerful enough to get you through the day. It comes standard with 4GB of RAM, which can be upgraded.
For connectivity, it has Wi-Fi, an Ethernet port, and Bluetooth. There are also two USB 3.1 ports, two USB-C ports, an audio line-in connection and a headphone jack. The included three-cell battery will give you about 12 hours of working time.
Acer Chromebook 315 Touch cons
The most striking disadvantage of the 315 Touch is the thickness of the casing around the keyboard area. The design is tapered toward the edge, which gives it a wedgelike appearance. While that isn’t a negative in itself, it just looks much thicker than what it needs to be. There is a reason though: This is where the USB port and the headphones jack are located.
Acer Chromebook 315 Touch is also a bit on the hefty side. With a weight just over 4 pounds, the Chromebook could be uncomfortable to carry in a shoulder bag with all the accessories.
And for those that work on large files or projects, the included 32GB of flash memory could be a deal-breaker. But with that said, every Chromebook comes with additional online storage from Google, so having tons of storage isn’t that necessary.
Samsung Chromebook 4+
The Chromebook 4+ from Samsung is the company’s midtier offering in their Google-powered laptop series. With lots of connectivity options and a good amount of RAM, this slim Chromebook is an excellent choice for commuters or travelers. It is available for $279.99 from Samsung and $269.99 from Amazon.
Samsung Chromebook 4+ pros
Similar to the Acer 315 Touch, this Chromebook ships with an Intel Celeron N4000 1.10GHz processor. It can also be boosted to a maximum clock speed of 2.6GHz. It uses 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, and depending on the configuration it can come with 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of storage.
In terms of the monitor, it has a Full HD 15.6-inch LED display with a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080. It is also coated in an anti-glare film to make working in bright conditions easier. The visuals are provided through an Intel UHD Graphics 600 graphics card.
Where the Chromebook 4+ really shines is in the design of the overall casing. It is made from durable materials, and the bezel around the display is rather thin. There are thinner bezels on other models, but it succeeds in providing an almost edge-to-edge display. The bezel at the top of the display is slightly thicker than around the edges though.
As with most Chromebooks, the 4+ also comes with Google Assistant fully integrated into the ChromeOS system. By just using your voice, you can activate the assistant to give you helpful tips and information.
For connectivity, it has Wi-Fi, one USB 3.0 port, two USB-C ports, and a microSD card reader. There is also a headphone jack that is also used for the microphone connection. The included battery is good for around 10.5 hours of operation.
Samsung Chromebook 4+ cons
If you are going to make the Chromebook 4+ your primary working machine, then you’ll probably do some online meetings as well. For that, it only has a 720p webcam. It’s not the worst thing a Chromebook can have, but a 1080p would be much clearer.
The keyboard, while housed in a sturdy casing, isn’t a full board. It only has 74 keys, as it is missing the numeric pad and the Function keys that many other laptops have. Again, if it’s for a working scenario, you’re probably not going to miss them anyway.
Should you get Chromebook 315 Touch or Samsung Chromebook 4+?
At first glance, the Acer Chromebook 315 Touch and Samsung Chromebook 4+ are strikingly similar in their specifications. Both have a 15.6-inch full HD display, they both use the same processor and have the same 720p webcam.
But the Samsung Chromebook 4+ just edges out over the Acer Chromebook 315 Touch by the slightest of margins. The Chromebook 4+ is available with three different built-in storage options, while the 315 Touch is locked in with only 32GB.
It is great that Acer’s model uses the GeForce MX330 graphics card, which is definitely a bonus. But the Chromebook 4+’s reduced weight, better battery life span, and thin bezels on the sides of the display push it ahead.
The Chromebook 4+ is also more affordable than the Acer 315 Touch, even if you opt to go for the 128GB storage.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.