At an event in New York City this morning, Google announced the new HP Chromebook 11. The Chromebook 11 is a low-cost Chrome OS laptop, with an 11-inch, 1366 x 768 pixel IPS display and Chromebook Pixel inspired design. The new laptop, which Google is selling for $279, is available to order from Google Play, Best Buy, Amazon, and direct from HP today. A 4G LTE-equipped version is planned, but pricing and availability have yet to be announced. Included with the purchase is two years of 100GB Google Drive storage, a 60-day trial of Google Play Music All Access, and 12 free sessions of GoGo in-flight internet.
The design of the Chromebook 11 is quite reminiscent of the now-retired plastic MacBook. It has sleek lines and ports on only the left hand side. Google has also hidden all of speaker grills and screws, giving the design a cleaner appearance. Google is offering the laptop in black or white with Chrome-appropriate blue, red, yellow, or green accents. The black version looks almost exactly like a glossy edition of the original CR-48 reference Chromebook, with its lack of branding and clean lines. Despite its smaller size, the Chromebook 11 still packs a full-size Chrome keyboard and has a fully clickable touchpad. There is also a VGA webcam embedded into the bezel surrounding the display. Google has put the laptop's speakers beneath the keyboard — much in the same way it did with the Chromebook Pixel — which it says prevent muffled sound when you are using the device on your lap.
Chromebook 11 offers a 'Pixel-inspired' design at a price most people can afford
Google is touting the Chromebook 11's new display, which it claims is as much as 50 percent brighter than most laptops on the market. Its IPS panel offers 176 degree viewing angles and a very wide color gamut. In our brief look at the Chromebook, we found the screen to be a perfectly fine laptop display, and the added brightness was certainly noticeable.
The Chromebook 11 is plastic, but Google says that it has a magnesium frame, which makes it stronger and more rigid. The laptop is strikingly light when you pick it up — it's weighs only 2.3 pounds — but it still feels solid and well built for the most part, with only a few creaks here and there. It is powered by a dual-core Samsung Exynos 5250 processor and 2GB of RAM, and has 16GB of internal storage. It also has two Micro USB 2.0 ports and a Slimport video out port. Google expects about six hours of battery life from the Chromebook 11 with active use. Interestingly, the only way to charge the laptop is through a Micro USB port, which Google says is more convenient for many users that might be carrying around a smartphone or tablet charger with them.
Google is quick to note that Chromebooks now claim as much as 25 percent of the sub-$300 laptop market, and the Samsung Chromebook has been the number one selling laptop on Amazon since its debut. The Chromebook 11 appears to offer everything that we liked about the Samsung version, but with a nicer display and design. If history is any guide, Google likely has another hit on its hands with the Chromebook 11.