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Acer Chromebook C910-354Y Notebook Review

Sascha Mölck (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 05/02/2016

15.6-inch Chromebook. The Chromebook by Acer offers a long battery life and viewing-angle stable Full HD panel. However, the laptop also costs around 500 Euros (~$576).

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Acer's Chromebook C910-354Y is the highest performance model of all Chromebooks we have tested to date. A Core i3 processor from the Broadwell generation clocks inside the 15.6-inch laptop. The device is no stranger to us. It is the sister model of Acer's Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C9GR that we tested. Rivals of the C910 are other Chromebooks, such as HP's Chromebook 14 G1 and Toshiba's CB30-B-10. However, Windows laptops like Acer's Aspire ES1-521 and Lenovo's IdeaPad 100-15IBD are also opponents.

Since the C910 and the Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C9GR are identical in build, we will not go in-depth about casing, input devices, display or speakers. The corresponding information can be found in the review of Acer's Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C9GR.

Acer Chromebook C910-354Y
Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 5500, Core: 300-850 MHz
Memory
4096 MB 
, DDR3L, soldered
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 141 PPI, IPS, glossy: no
Storage
32 GB SSD, 32 GB 
, 16 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: combo audio, Card Reader: SD
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 24.2 x 382 x 256 ( = 0.95 x 15.04 x 10.08 in)
Battery
48 Wh, 3220 mAh Lithium-Ion, 15.2 V
Operating System
Google Chrome OS
Camera
Webcam: HD webcam
Additional features
Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: no, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
2.2 kg ( = 77.6 oz / 4.85 pounds), Power Supply: 316 g ( = 11.15 oz / 0.7 pounds)
Price
499 Euro

 

221
cd/m²
235
cd/m²
238
cd/m²
240
cd/m²
254
cd/m²
255
cd/m²
243
cd/m²
257
cd/m²
249
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 257 cd/m² Average: 243.6 cd/m² Minimum: 15 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 86 %
Center on Battery: 254 cd/m²
Contrast: 747:1 (Black: 0.34 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 7.99 | 0.8-29.43 Ø6.3
ΔE Greyscale 8.41 | 0.64-98 Ø6.6
Gamma: 2.45

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 54 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 10727 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 588200) Hz was measured.

CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - Grayscale
CalMAN - Grayscale
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
30 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 8 ms rise
↘ 22 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 73 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (26 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
51 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 17 ms rise
↘ 34 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 85 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (41.6 ms).

Performance

Chromebooks are conceived for using Web-based office and Internet applications. Acer's laptop has more than enough computing power for this. Our review sample is sold for approximately 500 Euros (~$576). We only found one different configuration in Germany at test time. A technically slimmed-down model (Celeron 3205U, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB SSD, HD panel) is available for around 260 Euros (~$299).

Processor

The Chromebook is powered by Intel's Core i3-5005U (Broadwell) dual-core processor. The CPU's TDP of 15 watts makes it a member of the frugal model range. The processor clocks at a speed of 2 GHz. It does not have Turbo. However, the CPU supports Hyper-Threading (two threads per core can be processed).

System Performance

The system runs smoothly and boots quickly. The C910 scores better than all Chromebooks we have tested to date in the browser tests that we performed. The reason is discovered quickly: All previously tested Chromebooks feature weaker CPUs. Comparing the Chromebook with a Windows laptop, such as Lenovo's IdeaPad 100-15IBD based on the same processor, presents varying outcomes in the tests. That is due to the different browser (Chrome vs. IE 11).

Sunspider - 1.0 Total Score
Google Pixel C
Tegra X1 Maxwell GPU, X1, 64 GB eMMC Flash
833 ms * ∼100% -203%
Acer Chromebook 13 CB5-311-T0B2
GeForce ULP K1 (Tegra K1 Kepler GPU), K1, 32 GB eMMC Flash
634.6 ms * ∼76% -131%
Toshiba CB30-B-104
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2840
551.8 ms * ∼66% -101%
HP Chromebook 14 G1
HD Graphics (Haswell), 2955U
347.4 ms * ∼42% -26%
Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C9GR
HD Graphics (Broadwell), 3205U
334.7 ms * ∼40% -22%
Acer Chromebook C910-354Y
HD Graphics 5500, 5005U, 32 GB SSD
275 ms * ∼33%
Acer Aspire ES1-521-87DN
Radeon R5 (Beema/Carrizo-L), A8-6410, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
270.2 ms * ∼32% +2%
Lenovo IdeaPad 100-15IBD
HD Graphics 5500, 5005U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024
164.3 ms * ∼20% +40%
JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score
Acer Chromebook C910-354Y
HD Graphics 5500, 5005U, 32 GB SSD
115.73 Points ∼100%
Acer Aspire ES1-521-87DN
Radeon R5 (Beema/Carrizo-L), A8-6410, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
75.677 Points ∼65% -35%
Lenovo IdeaPad 100-15IBD
HD Graphics 5500, 5005U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024
75.091 Points ∼65% -35%
Google Pixel C
Tegra X1 Maxwell GPU, X1, 64 GB eMMC Flash
47.4 Points ∼41% -59%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
Google Pixel C
Tegra X1 Maxwell GPU, X1, 64 GB eMMC Flash
5533.1 ms * ∼100% -238%
Acer Chromebook 13 CB5-311-T0B2
GeForce ULP K1 (Tegra K1 Kepler GPU), K1, 32 GB eMMC Flash
4696.6 ms * ∼85% -187%
Toshiba CB30-B-104
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2840
3893 ms * ∼70% -138%
Acer Aspire ES1-521-87DN
Radeon R5 (Beema/Carrizo-L), A8-6410, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
3876.2 ms * ∼70% -137%
Lenovo IdeaPad 100-15IBD
HD Graphics 5500, 5005U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024
3332.8 ms * ∼60% -104%
HP Chromebook 14 G1
HD Graphics (Haswell), 2955U
2564 ms * ∼46% -57%
Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C9GR
HD Graphics (Broadwell), 3205U
2332.4 ms * ∼42% -43%
Acer Chromebook C910-354Y
HD Graphics 5500, 5005U, 32 GB SSD
1636 ms * ∼30%
Octane V2 - Total Score
Acer Chromebook C910-354Y
HD Graphics 5500, 5005U, 32 GB SSD
19700 Points ∼100%
Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C9GR
HD Graphics (Broadwell), 3205U
13238 Points ∼67% -33%
HP Chromebook 14 G1
HD Graphics (Haswell), 2955U
12008 Points ∼61% -39%
Acer Aspire ES1-521-87DN
Radeon R5 (Beema/Carrizo-L), A8-6410, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
11133 Points ∼57% -43%
Lenovo IdeaPad 100-15IBD
HD Graphics 5500, 5005U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024
9479 Points ∼48% -52%
Toshiba CB30-B-104
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2840
8442 Points ∼43% -57%
Google Pixel C
Tegra X1 Maxwell GPU, X1, 64 GB eMMC Flash
7563 Points ∼38% -62%
Acer Chromebook 13 CB5-311-T0B2
GeForce ULP K1 (Tegra K1 Kepler GPU), K1, 32 GB eMMC Flash
6843 Points ∼35% -65%
Peacekeeper - ---
Acer Chromebook C910-354Y
HD Graphics 5500, 5005U, 32 GB SSD
3193 Points ∼100%
HP Chromebook 14 G1
HD Graphics (Haswell), 2955U
3029 Points ∼95% -5%
Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C9GR
HD Graphics (Broadwell), 3205U
2905 Points ∼91% -9%
Lenovo IdeaPad 100-15IBD
HD Graphics 5500, 5005U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024
1926 Points ∼60% -40%
Toshiba CB30-B-104
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2840
1579 Points ∼49% -51%
Acer Chromebook 13 CB5-311-T0B2
GeForce ULP K1 (Tegra K1 Kepler GPU), K1, 32 GB eMMC Flash
1255 Points ∼39% -61%
Acer Aspire ES1-521-87DN
Radeon R5 (Beema/Carrizo-L), A8-6410, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
1038 Points ∼33% -67%
Browsermark - 2.1
Acer Chromebook C910-354Y
HD Graphics 5500, 5005U, 32 GB SSD
5500 points ∼100%
Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C9GR
HD Graphics (Broadwell), 3205U
4215 points ∼77% -23%
HP Chromebook 14 G1
HD Graphics (Haswell), 2955U
4204 points ∼76% -24%
Google Pixel C
Tegra X1 Maxwell GPU, X1, 64 GB eMMC Flash
2472 points ∼45% -55%
Toshiba CB30-B-104
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2840
2382 points ∼43% -57%
Acer Chromebook 13 CB5-311-T0B2
GeForce ULP K1 (Tegra K1 Kepler GPU), K1, 32 GB eMMC Flash
2119 points ∼39% -61%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score
Acer Chromebook C910-354Y
HD Graphics 5500, 5005U, 32 GB SSD
244 Points ∼100%
Google Pixel C
Tegra X1 Maxwell GPU, X1, 64 GB eMMC Flash
128 Points ∼52% -48%
Toshiba CB30-B-104
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2840
120 Points ∼49% -51%

* ... smaller is better

Storage Device & Memory-Card Reader

The system drive is an M.2 format (2240) SSD with a capacity of 32 GB. The user has roughly 16 GB of that available. However, storage capacity will not get tight very soon since the laptop's buyer is provided with 100 GB of storage in the Google Drive cloud service - free for 2 years. Expanding the storage capacity via an SD card is not really an alternative. The card cannot be inserted completely and juts out of the memory-card reader.

The latter is also a slower member of its kind. Transferring 250 JPG image files (approx. 5 MB each) is performed at a speed of 16 MB/s. We test the memory-card reader with our Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II reference card.

It is basically possible to swap the installed SSD with a higher-capacity model. Chrome OS can be set up on the new SSD using the recovery system provided by Google. However, the question of necessity and sense arise here.

Graphics Card

Intel's HD Graphics 5500 graphics unit is responsible for video output. The GPU supports DirectX 11 and clocks at speeds of up to 850 MHz. Chrome OS supports Intel's Quick Sync technology, making it possible to smoothly render, for example, YouTube videos in the Full HD resolution.

Emissions & Energy Management

Fan loudness
Fan loudness

System Noise

The Chromebook is furnished with a fan. It was virtually never audible. We had to listen very attentively to hear it even when it was active.

Noise Level

Idle
32.8 / 32.8 / 32.9 dB(A)
Load
33.2 / 33.2 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 31.2 dB(A)

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Temperature

We cannot really speak of temperature increase in Acer's laptop. We measured temperatures of just over 30 °C at some measuring points on the casing during load. We loaded the laptop by running Google's Octane V2 benchmark (looped) and rendering a Full HD video simultaneously.

Max. Load
 32.2 °C31.8 °C24.2 °C 
 29.2 °C29 °C23.4 °C 
 24 °C24 °C24 °C 
Maximum: 32.2 °C
Average: 26.9 °C
23 °C29.7 °C32 °C
22.8 °C28.4 °C28.5 °C
22.9 °C24.2 °C24 °C
Maximum: 32 °C
Average: 26.2 °C
Power Supply (max.)  32.7 °C | Room Temperature 22.1 °C | FIRT 550-Pocket
The maximum temp on the upper side is 32.2 °C, compared to the average of 35.9 °C ranging from 21.1 °C to 71 °C for class Netbook.

Power Consumption

The Chromebook does not present an excessively high energy requirement. We measured a maximum idle consumption of 9.7 watts. This rate is a bit lower than from a comparable Windows laptop. A bigger difference is seen during load. Acer's laptop then consumes 18.3 watts. A Windows counterpart would require approximately 30 to 35 watts here.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.17 / 0.34 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 5.6 / 9.2 / 9.7 Watt
Load midlight 13.8 / 18.3 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy

Battery Runtime

An advantage of Chromebooks is their long battery life. Acer's model is not disappointing in this regard, either. We simulate the load needed for opening websites in our practical Wi-Fi test using a screen brightness of approximately 150 cd/m². Acer's laptop achieves a runtime of 8:40 hours - a very good rate. It thus only lags behind its Chromebook 15 CB5 sister model by a few minutes (9:00 h).

Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3 (Chrome OS 49.0.2623.112)
8h 40min
Battery Runtime
WiFi v1.3
Acer Chromebook C910-354Y
48 Wh
520 min ∼82%
Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C9GR
32 Wh
540 min ∼85%
Toshiba CB30-B-104
 Wh
446 min ∼70%
HP Chromebook 14 G1
 Wh
427 min ∼67%
Lenovo IdeaPad 100-15IBD
32 Wh
255 min ∼40%
Acer Aspire ES1-521-87DN
41 Wh
290 min ∼45%
Google Pixel C
34 Wh
638 min ∼100%
WiFi
Acer Chromebook 13 CB5-311-T0B2
 Wh
604 min ∼100%

Pros

+ IPS panel
+ Full HD resolution
+ always runs noiselessly
+ low temperature development
+ very good battery life

Cons

- limited upgrade options
- high price

Verdict

In review: Acer Chromebook C910-354Y. Test model courtesy of Cyberport.de
In review: Acer Chromebook C910-354Y. Test model courtesy of Cyberport.de

The installed Core i3 processor ensures that websites open faster. The plus on computing power is noticed especially on very stuffed websites. Despite the relatively strong processor, the laptop always runs quietly and barely heats up. The installed keyboard is acceptable but is not a premium model. The Chromebook's special highlight is its viewing-angle stable, Full HD panel. We would like to see this model also in low-cost Windows laptops.

Acer's Chromebook C910 is also impressive in the application fields that Chromebooks have been designed for: As a typewriter and browsing machine. The device does not lack endurance, either.

Acer demands around 500 Euros (~$576) for the Chromebook. A lot of money for a laptop with limited storage capacity, limited selection of software and the need for a permanently enabled Internet connection. The relatively strong processor and viewing-angle stable panel boost the Chromebook into price regions that are above its station. Users have to decide for themselves whether the 15.6-inch format is a suitable size for Chromebooks. The 15.6-inch format is easier on the eyes, but mobility and handiness suffer under it.

Acer Chromebook C910-354Y - 04/27/2016 v5.1
Sascha Mölck

Chassis
80 / 98 → 82%
Keyboard
62%
Pointing Device
86%
Connectivity
40 / 80 → 50%
Weight
62 / 35-78 → 63%
Battery
91%
Display
81%
Games Performance
0 / 68 → 
Application Performance
70 / 87 → 80%
Temperature
96 / 91 → 100%
Noise
89%
Audio
70 / 91 → 77%
Camera
50 / 85 → 59%
Average
73%
78%
Netbook - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Acer Chromebook C910-354Y Notebook Review
Sascha Mölck, 2016-05- 2 (Update: 2018-05-15)