HP Chromebook eleven evaluation: is that this $279 Chrome OS laptop computer actually for everybody?

HP Chromebook 11 review: is this $279 Chrome OS laptop really for everyone?

We have seen Chromebook costs get cheaper and cheaper, however the majority opinion seems to stay the identical: they’re good laptops in principle, however they do not minimize it in the actual world. Fascinating, then, that Google’s advertising the brand new HP Chromebook eleven because the laptop computer “for everybody.” One factor that we expect virtually everybody can agree on: $279 for a properly-designed, eleven.6-inch pocket book with a brilliant IPS show is a none-too-shabby deal. However, given the restrictions of Chrome OS, is that this truly a worthwhile buy?

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HP Chromebook eleven


  • Glossy, light-weight design
  • Snug keyboard
  • Handy micro-USB charging


  • Sticky trackpad
  • Chrome OS nonetheless provides restricted performance


HP’s newest providing is among the greatest Chromebooks we have seen, combining a fantastic design, a cushty keyboard and dependable efficiency for $279.

Feel and appear

HP Chromebook 11 review: is this $279 Chrome OS laptop really for everyone?

The Chromebook eleven might solely value $279, however its design continues to be spectacular. The shiny plastic lid and again are uninterrupted by screws, vents or another elements, lending the machine a contemporary, stylish air. In fact, as quickly as your greasy fingers hit the plastic, issues look rather less pristine. There are not any shifting elements right here, and the graceful design displays that — examine this man to Samsung’s Chromebook from late final yr, and you will get the image. It is onerous to not see hints of the previous plastic MacBook of the mid-aughts right here; the rounded edges and reflective end aren’t precisely revolutionary design decisions, in any case. Google leaves its personal mark on this gadget, although: each the rim across the island-type keyboard and two rubber strips on the bottom are accomplished up in one in every of 4 accent colours (your selection of blue, inexperienced, pink or yellow).

Even figuring out that the Chromebook eleven is tremendous mild (2.three kilos, or 1.04kg, to be actual), I used to be nonetheless stunned at how insubstantial it felt in my palms. As somebody who squeezes a thirteen-inch Ultrabook into a piece bag day-after-day, I undoubtedly respect this laptop computer’s moveable measurement. Thinness is not the promoting level with this machine, however at eleven.sixty nine x 7.fifty six x zero.sixty nine inches (297 x 192 x 12.6mm), it is undoubtedly not cumbersome. There is a magnesium body on board, which matches a great distance in serving to the machine really feel sturdy regardless of the featherweight profile. That is to not say you are getting the identical construct high quality as a $1,000 Ultrabook; the plastic lid sometimes creaks underneath strain.

HP Chromebook 11 review: is this $279 Chrome OS laptop really for everyone?

With the lid closed, the one distinguishing mark on this Chromebook is a strip sporting Chrome’s 4 signature colours that lights up when the machine is in use. On the reverse aspect, you will discover two colourful rubber strips (in our case, pink) together with Google and HP branding. Past that, the pocket book is remarkably naked, with the left edge housing all of the ports and connections. These embrace a mixture headphone / mic jack, two USB 2.zero ports and a micro-USB reference to help for SlimPort video out. By the way, you will be charging this system by way of micro-USB, which is extraordinarily handy when you’re already carrying round a cable in your Android pill or telephone. (One comes within the field, in case you’ve got managed to undergo life with out constructing a set.) The draw back is that charging up takes a lengthy time; attempt about 4 hours. There isn’t any SD card slot, however with simply 16GB of on-board storage, you will be relying extra on Google Drive than native storage anyway.

Increase the lid, and you will be nose to nose with the machine’s eleven.6-inch show, which is framed by a large bezel sporting Chrome branding. The chiclet keyboard takes up virtually two-thirds of the palm relaxation, with a clickpad sitting slightly below it. And that is it from a bodily standpoint; the design is straightforward, however in a satisfying, much less-is-extra means.

As an beneath-the-radar observe: Google is releasing its first accent designed in-home to go together with the Chromebook eleven. Do not anticipate something elaborate, although: it is only a easy, if nicely-made, case obtainable in black, blue / gray or purple / gray. Bought individually, it is going to set you again $50. (Ouch.) Whether or not you select to spring for this sleeve or not, it is a good suggestion to spend money on some type of safety, particularly because the pocket book will probably be on the street with you fairly a bit.

Keyboard and touchpad

HP Chromebook 11 review: is this $279 Chrome OS laptop really for everyone?

I am going to by no means fairly get used to not having a devoted caps lock button, however that ineffective whining apart, this keyboard is sort of respectable. (In the event you actually cannot get previous that omission, you’ll be able to configure the search key to regulate caps lock within the settings menu.) I did not discover a lot flex to the deck when typing, and the chiclets really feel springy and responsive. The keys are nicely-spaced sufficient that by accident hitting an adjoining letter should not be a problem.

The trackpad, in the meantime, is not so strong. It feels a bit sticky, which in follow meant I needed to faucet and proper-click on greater than as soon as for the system to register my enter. A minimum of two-finger scrolling works reliably; with the browser-based mostly Chrome OS, you will be needing that gesture rather a lot.

Show and sound

HP Chromebook 11 review: is this $279 Chrome OS laptop really for everyone?

Whereas it is nowhere close to as excessive-res because the Chromebook Pixel, the HP Chromebook eleven at the very least sports activities an IPS panel that gives 300 nits of brightness. The eleven.6-inch, 1,366 x 768 display delivers correct colours, however the shiny end can show distracting when you’re sitting underneath heavy lighting. Ideally, HP would have gone for a extra anti-reflective panel, however the viewing angles listed here are nonetheless very beneficiant.

The Chromebook eleven pumps out respectable sound, although do not anticipate celebration-worthy quantity. Maxed out, the audio system are solely loud sufficient to fill a small room. With the digitally tuned audio system sitting immediately underneath the keyboard, although, sound will not be obstructed or distorted — it is a intelligent design selection.

Efficiency and battery life

HP Chromebook 11 review: is this $279 Chrome OS laptop really for everyone?

The enjoyable factor about testing a Chromebook is that you’ve a free cross to surf the online to your coronary heart’s content material. Within the absence of many benchmarks to run, the actual measure of such a tool’s efficiency is the way it handles the online and net-associated apps. To that finish, I opened two dozen or so browser tabs, edited paperwork in Google Drive, tried out the very unflattering VGA webcam and watched some HD clips on YouTube. The Chromebook did journey up and require a restart as soon as, however general it dealt with apps, searching and video streaming nicely.

With an ARM-based mostly Exynos 5250 SoC and 2GB of RAM, this machine makes no pretense of being a powerhouse. On the HP Chromebook eleven announcement occasion, Google reps emphasised that this machine is fanless, so do not even take into consideration whipping this laptop computer into an overclocked frenzy. For extra modest use, although, this man is ok. In SunSpider, it notched a rating of 768ms, which is not stellar however falls consistent with different Exynos-powered Chromebooks.

HP Chromebook 11 review: is this $279 Chrome OS laptop really for everyone?

Google and HP fee the Chromebook eleven’s 30Wh battery for as much as six hours of use on a cost. With a dozen-plus tabs open within the browser, occasional video enjoying and answering emails, the laptop computer endured for about 4 hours. That point, it is value noting, displays utilizing the gadget with the show brightness maxed out, so you may even see an extended runtime in case your environs permit for a dimmer setting. On our battery rundown check, which includes enjoying a regionally saved video on loop with brightness set to sixty five % and WiFi on, the Chromebook lasted for 5 hours and eight minutes. That is virtually an hour and a half in need of the Samsung Chromebook’s runtime once we examined it in late 2012, and it is definitely much less longevity than you’d get with a pill.

Engadget’s WiFi-outfitted evaluation mannequin is certainly the one presently out there configuration, although a model with 4G is reportedly on the best way. Apparently, although, the Chromebook eleven is the second from HP late this yr; only a month in the past, the Chromebook 14 was unveiled, although that will not go on sale till the vacation season. Evaluating this Chromebook eleven to the Haswell-powered 14-incher and a few older units in Google’s lineup, it is clear that the brand new eleven-incher’s benefits are portability and a refined design. The Chromebook 14 and the Samsung Chromebook are each rated for longer battery life, however they’re heavier and — within the 14’s case — costlier. Bodily, this gadget is superior to older fashions, however it will not supply a efficiency leap.

Software program

HP Chromebook 11 review: is this $279 Chrome OS laptop really for everyone?

Even when Chromebooks are new to you, likelihood is you’ve got gleaned that its working system, Chrome OS, is predicated on Google’s eponymous browser. All the corporate’s apps are baked in as properly, together with Drive, YouTube, Gmail, Docs, Calendar and so forth. Whenever you first boot up, you are greeted with a “getting began” field. Right here, you’ll be able to study extra about apps, working offline, modifying photographs, managing information and extra. There have not been very many substantial additions to the software program since we final reviewed a Chromebook, although native apps have been launched in September and Netflix help has since been added. (That was our largest concern with the Samsung Chromebook.)

You will even be handled to a number of freebies: a free 100GB of storage on Google Drive for 2 years, a 60-day trial of Google Play Music All Entry and 12 free periods of Gogo in-flight web. Personally, I used to be most jazzed concerning the Gogo passes, however getting a style of Google’s extra premium providers is not dangerous, both.


HP Chromebook 11 review: is this $279 Chrome OS laptop really for everyone?

Writing the professionals and cons for a Chromebook evaluate is a difficult activity. Apart from the flaky touchpad, the most important disadvantages — solely 16GB of SSD storage, an working system largely restricted to Google’s personal ecosystem — are a part of what makes a Chromebook a Chromebook. And whereas Google will inform you that this machine is “for everybody,” it is clearly not. Want an extended-lasting pocket book for cranking out stories and papers? A media and gaming machine to see you thru NVIDIA GeForce-worthy titles? Look elsewhere, as you in all probability have already got. It isn’t a stretch, although, to say such a tool is nice for some informal customers who want a clean-operating machine for browsing the online, responding to e mail and watching Netflix.

In case you can transfer previous the inherent limitations of a Chromebook, you’ve a fantastic worth in your palms. A nicely-constructed laptop computer with a brilliant IPS show and an honest keyboard for $279 is definitely worthy of a spot in your comparability-purchasing record. In case your pockets are nicely-lined sufficient, you can even deal with this man as a faithful “on-the-street gadget” — it definitely beats a pill-and-keyboard-case combo for comfort and efficiency. And Chromebooks’ purposes for lecture rooms have additionally been rehashed in our earlier evaluations. It is as much as you to find out what your wants are, but when you recognize what you are getting, you will benefit from the HP Chromebook eleven.

Zach Honig contributed to this evaluate.

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HP Chromebook eleven

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