When the Chromebook Pixel first launched, the only bad thing the tech press could come up with about the device was the cost. Despite its beautiful design and top of the line specs, $1,300 is simply way too much for the Pixel. We’ve been waiting for Google to deliver on the same fronts as the Pixel in a more affordable package, and with the HP Chromebook 11, they finally have.
Despite being manufactured by HP, the Chromebook 11 is clearly very heavily influenced by Google. Priced at $279 and coming in with an 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 display, an Exynos 5250, 2GB of RAM, a 16GB SSD, a micro USB port for charging and 6 hours of battery life, the HP Chromebook 11 looks to be more than the sum of its parts. The Pixel was praised not just for its specs, but for how it looked, how it felt and the time Google spent on the machine getting it right. The Chromebook 11 looks to be playing in the same league, only having a bit more fun.
Make no mistake, the Chromebook 11 is a cheap laptop. But not necessarily in a bad way. The Chromebook 11 has received the same treatment as the Pixel in a few key areas. First, how it feels. The Chromebook 11 is a smooth plastic with no visible screws, vents or speakers. In spite of the plastic construct, early hands-on reports say it feels relatively sturdy. That’s most likely thanks to the magnesium chassis for added rigidity. It also has the same tapered edges as the Pixel, giving your wrists a break from the sharp edges of Apple’s MacBook computers. And then there’s how it looks. Reminiscent of the plastic MacBooks of yesteryear, the Chromebook 11 comes in either black or white with one of four accent colors: red, blue, green or yellow. It looks awesome. Last but not least, maybe even most importantly, the Chromebook 11 gets a multi-colored lightbar of its own. “Just because it looks cool.”
Google is also throwing a handful of services at the Chromebook 11, giving those that purchase the device 2 years’ worth of 100GB of storage on Google drive, a dozen free sessions of GoGo in-flight internet and 60 days of Google Play Music All Access.
On specs alone, the HP Chromebook 11 isn’t going to be winning any awards. But an affordable price combined with good design and charming looks just might make the Chromebook 11 one of 2013′s must-buy holiday items. If you’re on the fence as to whether or not you need a tablet or laptop, the Chromebook 11 could be perfect for you. The Chromebook 11 is supposed to be available from Best Buy, Google Play, Amazon and HP today, but is only currently available for pre-order on HP, Google Play and Amazon.
I’ve been considering whether or not to pick up a new Nexus 7 or to wait for the rumored new Nexus 10 coming soon from ASUS, but the Chromebook 11 looks mighty tempting. What do you think?