Tuesday, June 10, 2014

"Made With Google" HP Chromebook 11-- we hardly knew ye! : Chromebooks and Libraries 2014, Part 2

I have been evaluating the $279* "Made With Google" HP Chromebook 11 (Model 11-1101).  Available just since last Fall, HP is apparently now replacing it with another 11-inch Chromebook lacking Google's touches and styled to resemble HP's larger Chromebooks.   

Light-weight and svelte, the Chromebook 11 looks like its mother was frightened by a MacBook Air.  The white plastic is broken up by colored accents on the base and a matching colored band around the keyboard.  The colors can be Google blue, Google red, Google yellow, or Google green.  Because this was "Made With Google", get it?  There is also a Google-colored strip of light on the top, which glows when the device is turned on.  I guess this could have been something of a "Nexus Chromebook."  

A more substantive added feature is the IPS HD LED-backlit display.  Although still the standard 1366 x 768 resolution, the display is sharp and bright and a more than few steps above the competition.

The mobile-phone class Samsung Exynos 5 SoC (also used in the Series 3 Samsung Chromebook I reviewed in 2012) provides decent (and fanless) processing power.  It's still good enough for web surfing and light office work, but clearly raw power has been traded for affordability and fanless operation (and possibly to help pay for that display).  You have to watch what you're asking this little Chromebook to do.

The keys are fine for typing, with good spacing and travel. No complaints about the trackpad, either. 

At 2.26 pounds, it's lighter than the 2.43 pound Samsung (and also lighter than the new HP model, which weighs in at 2.69 pounds). 

Cheerful, cheap and even a little stylish, this shiny, plastic-y Chromebook 11 looks like it might get scratched or scuffed-up in typical library use (although in our adults-only evaluation it held up well).  But it looks well-suited to being handed out for casual use by patrons (as opposed to being attached to desks for lab use).  It's light and cool enough for lap use.

Perhaps not "institutional" enough for lab or classroom use, it makes a fine personal device.   

Note that (at least today), the "Made With Google" Chromebook 11 is still widely available, and though the new model is on HP's website, clicking on the "Buy Now" button links to this older model.

*As of this posting, HP is selling them for $229 after a $50 "instant discount".

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