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HP Chromebook 11 review

A £230 Chromebook with a cheap look but packing a powerful punch for your buck
Thu Oct 31 2013, 15:11

Product: HP Chromebook 11
Website: Google Chromebook
Specifications: 11.6in 1366x768 IPS display, Samsung Exynos 5250 GAIA CPU, 2GB RAM, 16GB SSD storage, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth, 2x USB 2.0, 1x Slimport video out, 1x microUSB port, VGA webcam, 30Wh battery, 297x192x17.6mm, 1.04kg
Price: £230


INTERNET GIANT Google has been enjoying a boom in Android sales for the last year or so, at least in smartphones. However, this success hasn't been mirrored so far with Google's other mobile operating system Chrome OS, which is aimed at low-end notebooks.

The HP Chromebook 11 that was launched earlier this month is an integral part of Google's push to increase the popularity of its cloud-based Chrome OS mobile operating system.

Google HP Chromebook 11 front on

The Chromebook 11 has a higher resolution screen than seen on HP's previous Google notebook, the Chromebook 14, and has a fanless CPU for silent operation as well as a microUSB charging port.

However, as it costs £30 more than other Chromebooks that are soon to be released, such as the Acer Intel Haswell powered C720, and features a lower-end Samsung Exynos processor, some people might be inclined to wait a little longer before investing in Chrome OS.

Build and design
Perhaps the best way to describe the HP Chromebook 11 design is by comparing it to a toy. That's due to the glossy white and blue chassis design, which seems a little like a children's version of "daddy's laptop".

Google HP Chromebook 11 hands on overall

While its plastic shell means that it looks quite cheap, it's fun looking and at the same time feels sturdy. This is because its plastic chassis is bonded with a magnesium frame, keeping it lightweight but strong at the same time. It is also light and thin considering how robust it feels, measuring 18mm thick and weighing just over 1kg.

The Chromebook 11 has been designed with rounded edges, which Google and HP claim will help wrists remain comfortable while typing. We can see what they mean here, as the smooth to the touch body and curved edges mean it's very pleasant to hold and to rest one's palms on while typing.

We also liked how Google has kept the simplistic multicolour backlit bar on the back of the Chromebook to keep it distinctive compared to the more prevalent Windows notebooks.

Google HP Chromebook 11 hands on back

What really makes the Chromebook 11 unique is that it is charged via a microUSB port, which means that it can be powered from the same mains adapter as many other popular devices, such as most Android smartphones and tablets as well as other types of portable technology.

Google's decision to power its new Chromebook via a standard microUSB connection could be a hint as to the way the notebook industry is going. We spoke with the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) at the Intel Developer Forum last month, which said that USB charging standardisation like we saw in smartphones only a few years back will also arrive for notebooks very soon. We can assume that Google is attempting to get ahead of the game here with the HP Chromebook 11.

The microUSB charging port is also really handy, as most households probably have a USB cable laying around already, which takes some pressure off those who are prone to losing things.

Next: Display, performance.

 

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