Amazingly, it’s taken over a decade for the primary 17in Chromebook to reach available on the market. Perhaps it’s taken that lengthy for folks to understand that Chromebooks may very well be viable desktop replacements, or perhaps it’s solely now that there’s demand for something above the usual 15.6in dimension. Both manner, the Acer Chromebook 317 is right here, and it’s on a mission to dominate your desk or kitchen desk.
Acer Chromebook 317 evaluate: What you could know
Curiously, the primary 17in Chromebook doesn’t sit in certainly one of Acer’s high-end or mid-range Chromebook traces however within the cost-conscious 31x sequence. Which means it has a comparatively low-end Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM and barely lower-grade connectivity than you’ll discover on, say, the latest Chromebook 514 (CB514-1W).
Nonetheless, Acer hasn’t made one apparent mistake and settled for a low-res 1,600 x 900 17.3in panel. As a substitute, the 317 comes with a Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 show; the minimal you need on a display this dimension.
Acer Chromebook 317 evaluate: Value and competitors
There aren’t any different 17in Chromebooks so for competitors we have now to look to the 15.6in Chromebooks on the market. For my cash, the perfect is the 15.6in Asus Chromebook Flip CX5; a convertible mannequin with an eleventh gen Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM and a very good Full HD display.
Nonetheless, it’s comparatively costly at £599, the place the Chromebook 317 could be yours for simply £349. At that value, the closest alternate options are Acer’s personal 514– and 515-series of Chromebooks and the cheaper however moderately dated Asus Chromebook 523.
Acer Chromebook 317 evaluate: Design
Any 17in laptop computer will really feel large and cumbersome and the Chromebook 317 isn’t any exception. Whereas there’s some try to bevel away the majority across the edges and provides it a extra wedge-shaped profile, that is nonetheless a big, flat slab of a laptop computer, full with chunky bezels surrounding the display that measure between 9mm and 24mm.
As with most up-to-date Acer laptops it has a metallic lid however a silver-coloured plastic deck, with an enormous, flat wristrest surrounding the touchpad, a full-sized keyboard and up-firing audio system positioned to both facet of this.
It doesn’t really feel low cost and is, for essentially the most half, sturdy, with only a little bit of flex in case you assert some strain within the centre of the keyboard. The lid stays agency in case you twist it, and the hinge does a strong job of holding it in place at any smart angle. The worst factor you may say in regards to the design is that almost all of its 2.2kg feels set in direction of the rear, which could trigger some nervousness in case you’re utilizing it in your lap.
Connectivity is a bit disappointing given the scale of this beast, with a USB-C 3.2 port on both dimension accompanied by a USB-A 3.1 port, plus a microSD card slot and an audio jack on the left-hand facet.
It might have been nice to see an HDMI or Ethernet port right here someplace however you may hook up with a monitor through DisplayPort or HDMI from the USB-C port on the right-hand facet. What’s extra, the Acer shocked me by offering help for Bluetooth 5.1 and Wi-Fi 6 – it’s at all times nice to see the most recent wi-fi requirements in a finances machine like this.
Acer Chromebook 317 evaluate: Keyboard and touchpad
The Chromebook 317’s touchpad is an efficient match for the scale of the display, measuring a whopping 125 by 83mm. It’s plastic moderately than glass however clean and really responsive, dealing with scrolling gestures, double-fingered faucets and swipes with none faults.
The keyboard isn’t dangerous both. The motion isn’t as crisp as on the brand new Acer Chromebook 514 (CB514-1W) and it feels a bit inconsistent throughout the floor however it’s large and spacious with a full numeric keypad and separated cursor keys.
If I used to be being choosy, I’d level out that the numeric pad crowds the return and backspace keys however there’s nothing right here that you would be able to’t get used to and the scale of all the things, together with the wrist rests, implies that the ergonomics are higher than on most low-cost Chromebooks.
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Acer Chromebook 317 evaluate: Show and sound
The excessive factors of the Chromebook 317’s IPS display are that it’s a) actually large and b) surprisingly shiny. Certainly it’s appears brighter than the 249cd/m2 peak brightness we recorded throughout testing would possibly counsel.
The low factors are that it doesn’t look as crisp or sharp because the screens on smaller Chromebooks, whereas the color replica isn’t all that nice. The display covers a colorless 60% of the sRGB color gamut and the common Delta E color variance measure is an uninspiring 6. These aren’t horrible outcomes and are fairly typical of entry-level Chromebooks however the results are extra noticeable on such a giant show.
On the plus facet, once you’re working throughout a number of Docs paperwork, Chrome home windows and Sheets spreadsheets, that additional dimension actually turns out to be useful. You possibly can have a number of home windows open or flick between tabs and nonetheless see what’s occurring.
It’s onerous to not be underwhelmed by the 317’s sound, nevertheless. The large speaker grilles promise one thing weighty with good separation however, whereas there’s an honest stereo unfold, the output is tinny and missing in physique or low-end presence.
Acer Chromebook 317 evaluate: Efficiency and battery life
The most important indicator of the 317’s low-end value is within the spec. Right here, we’re trying on the Celeron N4500 CPU Intel launched in early 2021, with 4GB of RAM and a 64GB price of eMMC storage. The CPU is a dual-core, dual-thread effort working at 1.1 to 2.8GHz and, whereas its single core efficiency is best than the older Celeron and Pentium N processors, its multi-core efficiency nonetheless isn’t all that sizzling.
Within the cross-platform Geekbench 5 64-bit benchmark, for instance, the Chromebook 317 scores 585 for single-core efficiency – a giant enchancment on the 342 you’d get on the older Pentium N 4200-based Acer Chromebook 514 – however 1,088 for multi-core, which is worse than the 514’s 1,237. It’s additionally slower than the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 with its Qualcomm S7 chipset, which scored 534 and 1,581 throughout the identical checks.
Within the benchmarks that finest simulate web-based apps, BaseMark 3 and CRXprt 2, the 317 scored a way more credible 500.83 and 75 respectively, placing it forward of each the 514 and 513. It additionally trumped each in our multitasking check, reporting a Speedometer benchmark results of 72 whereas taking part in 4K video and working the MotionMark 1.0 within the background. Right here, the Chromebook 514 and Spin 513 may solely handle 45.1 and 66.7 respectively, so the Chromebook 317 doesn’t put in a nasty efficiency general.
All the identical, these outcomes nonetheless put the Chromebook 317 within the decrease degree of the Chromebook rankings, and a manner away from newer mid-range units with Pentium Gold and Core i3 CPUs. In observe, it’s wonderful for Internet searching, gentle image-editing and productiveness duties however run a handful of apps concurrently, or preserve a dozen browser tabs open, and also you’ll discover a momentary pause when switching between them that you simply wouldn’t spot on a quicker machine. In order for you a faster, slicker Chrome OS expertise, you’ll must spend extra.
Huge-screen Chromebooks was once synonymous with woeful battery life and, lasting 8hrs 22mins in our looping video check, the 317 isn’t any celebrity on this rely. Nonetheless, that’s nonetheless sufficient for many of a working day away from the mains and this isn’t actually the form of machine you wish to lug round greater than you need to.
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Acer Chromebook 317 evaluate: Verdict
The Chromebook 317 is a barely odd beast. The larger display and desktop alternative type issue cry out for a high-performance spec however the Intel Celeron N4500 doesn’t have the cores or the firepower of the quicker Intel Pentium Gold, Intel Core i3 and Intel Core i5 CPUs and Acer hasn’t backed it up with 8GB of RAM or a speedy SSD. It’s usable, however you’d prefer it to be highly effective and, I think, the 4GB of RAM may not be sufficient as time goes on.
All the identical, it’s spectacular that you simply get a lot Chromebook for therefore little money, and the 317 can be an excellent possibility for gentle workplace duties or house research, partly as a result of the larger display and keyboard make it a extra comfy machine for on a regular basis use. It’s price contemplating for, then, even in case you can’t assist wishing that it had the grunt to match its mighty dimension.