Review of Acer Aspire CB5-311 Chromebook

Written by Karen Bryan

It was bad news when the keyboard on my Samsung NC10+ netbook went wonky, during a press trip in France for my travel blog. Some of the letters and the backspace stopped working. I tried all sorts of things, but ended up having to use the on-screen keyboard. This happened the day before I was due to take part in a Guardian online chat about blogging as a career option. Suffice to say that necessity lead to brevity in my responses.

On arrival home, I started to look for a replacement device for when I’m out of the office. My Sony Xperia Z Ultra phablet is fine for replying to the odd email or pinning photos to Pinterest, but if I need to edit or write an article for one of my sites the on-screen keyboard isn’t adequate.

Initially, I thought I’d buy a 10 inch tablet with a keyboard case. I found some with reasonable specs for around £75 on eBay. However, I wasn’t sure of the quality of the device, if the battery life (up to 5 hours) was sufficient and how easy it’d be to type on that design of keyboard.

When I was looking at tablets on the Argos website, I noticed an Acer Aspire CB5-311 Chromebook for £180. The 13 inch screen, attached proper keyboard, 2.3GHz processor, 2GB of RAM and the up to 13 hours battery life, also attracted me.

acer CB5-311 13 inch chromebook

I was aware of the limitations of a chromebook, in that you basically can only carry out tasks using the browser, printing can be tricky and there’s not much inbuilt storage in the device. As I wasn’t intending the chromebook to be my main computer, I didn’t see any of these as issues.

I sought advice from my IT consultant, one of our sons. He replied that the Acer chromebook had a good spec and that 13 inch is a decent compromise between size and portability. He’d also been told that the Acer chromebooks were good value for money.

Unfortunately our local Argos didn’t stock the Acer chromebook, nor was there an option from home delivery. I bought it online through the Argos Fast Track (which proved to be anything but fast), for pick up at the Edinburgh North Bridge store.

So far, I’m delighted with the Acer Aspire CB5-311 Chromebook. It only took a few minutes to set it up. After entering my Google password all my bookmarks appeared. It only takes around 8 seconds to boot up. There should be no lengthy delays for seemingly endless Windows updates. I love the keyboard. I used less than the half the battery power for around 5 hours on WiFi.

Update 7 October 2016 – It’s now more than a year since I purchased  Acer Aspire CB5-311 Chromebook. It’s proven to be ideal as an away from the office laptop. The battery is still lasting well and as it’s quite slim, it doesn’t take up too much space in my carry on suitcase when I’m travelling by plane.