Several years ago I purchased the original Chromebook that was made in conjunction with Google and Samsung. So when I requested a review unit of the Chromebook 11 made in conjunction with Google and HP I was excited to see where they where taking the device.
The HP Chromebook is remarkably lite weight, which in my opinion was really smart of HP this feature alone adds to the selling factor. The delta between carrying a tablet and the Chromebook is minimal as it weighs in at just 2.3 pounds. The screen resolution comes in at 1366×768 which is adequate for the 11.6 inch screen. The Chromebook is made out of plastic that you can order in a variety of colors, with a metal support frame underneath. The lid flexes a little bit if you open it from a corner but not so much that it would worry you.
The keyboard is a very soft touch and actually not that bad, it is slightly recessed but is ok. I have seen a lot of other keyboards on more expensive computers that where worse. The biggest detractor to me is the touch-pad it was driving me crazy for the first couple of days till i got used to it.. You can always plug in a mouse but I opted not to. With a price tag of $279.00 they have found a great balance here in construction, price and performance. The performance is fine, and even handled multiple tabs opened on the browser and worked fine with the 10-12 extensions I have installed. The unit I reviewed only had WiFi as a option although you could also connect via Bluetooth which should be a consideration for anyone wanting to buy one. While it will work with no internet connection it is best when connected to the Internet.
It comes with Two USB Ports, a MicroUSB for charging (Same as most cell phones) VGA Webcam & headphone port. You can connect an external monitor to it via the MicroUSB port supporting HDMI, VGA, and DisplayPort video. I actually charged the Chromebook with my cell phone charger one evening which was kinda funny. They do include a charger and cable for it. Sadly there was no SD Port which is disappointing so you will have to use flash drives to off-load anything. It comes with a 16gb SSD drive so on-board storage like previous versions is extremely limited.
Overall battery life is great 6 hours of usage. I streamed a couple of movies on Netflix on a single charge with 10-15% to spare. This is nice improvement over the Samsung that I still have that is a couple of years old.
I am a geek and I like it when the barrier to entry is lowered and I feel the Chromebook 11 has done a nice job in providing an affordable alternative for folks that still want to have the feel of keyboard and are comfortable working in the cloud. This was a loaner unit so I will have to decide if I want to purchase one as I have gotten quite attached to it over the past week.