Until recently, Chromebooks were typically one of two types: extremely cheap with lots of sacrifices on features and design, or a beautifully made laptop that was far too expensive to justify the purchase. The newest option from Dell — the Chromebook 13 — is a little bit of both. It's beautifully built, and it won't break the bank.
The standard model of the new Dell Chromebook 13, which was announced today, starts at $399, boots in under 6 seconds, and offers around 12 hours of battery life. It has 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and a 1.5 GHz Intel Celeron processor.
Without question, the Dell Chromebook 13 is one of the most premium Chromebooks ever made outside of Google’s own Pixel, and it’s something you notice from the moment you set your hands down on the back-lit keyboard. Dell brought over the glass trackpad from its XPS line of notebooks, which is slick and clicks nicely. The palm rest is made of magnesium alloy, the back panel features a carbon fiber weave, and the bottom of the laptop is aluminum. Lots of other Chromebooks look like Chromebooks — in a bad way — but this looks like a high-end laptop.
The 13-inch, 1080p matte IPS display is better than just about every other Chromebook screen on the market (excluding again, the pricey Pixel). It's sharp, reproduces colors accurately, and doesn't look foggy like some cheap matte displays often do. It isn’t as tack sharp as the screen found on the Chromebook Pixel, but then again it won't run you $1,000.
At $399 and up, this new laptop is aimed at the business world, and Dell wants it to be the first Chromebook to be widely adopted by web-centric workers who are already committed to using Google’s services. And for those kinds of users, there is plenty to like, like a high-security VPN program that Dell worked with Google to integrate into the software, or a virtual workspace software so that workers can still remotely access Windows.
But if you've been thinking about buying a Chromebook, this new option from Dell is one of the best you'll find on the market in the near future, regardless of whether you'll be using it for Excel or just clicking around YouTube.
The Dell Chromebook 13 starts at $399, and can be configured in a number of ways with the price topping out at $899. Some of the standout upgrades along that price range are optional Intel core i3 or i5 processors, up to 8GB of memory, and a touchscreen version with a glossy Gorilla Glass display. It will be available on September 17th.