The HP Chromebook 11 is a solidly built, affordable Windows laptop replacement for businesses embedded in Google's ecosystem. But with a wave of cheaper Intel Haswell-powered Chromebooks on the horizon, its long-term appeal is slightly tarnished.
Solid build quality, lightweight, good screen considering the price, Chrome OS is good for people in Google's ecosystem
Cheaper Chromebooks with better processors and battery lives on the horizon
Model: HP Chromebook 11
Display: 11.6in 1366x768, in-plane switching (IPS) display
Processor: Samsung Exynos 5250 GAIA
Wireless connections: 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth
Ports: Two USB 2.0 inputs, SlimPort video out, micro USB charge port
Camera: VGA webcam
The HP-built Chromebook 11 is an integral part of Google's latest push to increase the market share of its cloud-based Chrome OS operating system. This has seen Google take the same strategy it did when pushing its Android mobile OS, partnering with a variety of manufacturing companies to create affordable devices.
However, costing £30 more than other soon-to-be-released Chromebooks, such as the Acer Intel Haswell-powered C720, and featuring a lower-end Samsung Exynos chipset, some people may at first glance feel inclined to wait a little longer before testing Chrome OS.
Design and build
Visually the Chromebook 11 is very clean. It features a smooth polycarbonate outer finish that hides any underlying screws, vents and speakers. Apart from the HP and Google logos, and the blue grip and cushion pads on the bottom of the Chromebook, the only noticeable design feature is a single LED light strip on its front that lights up when the device is activated. The minimalist plastic design gives the Chromebook a distinct character compared with previous Chrome OS laptops.
The Chromebook 11 is very travel friendly, measuring in at just 297x192x17.6mm and weighing only 1.04kg. This puts the Chromebook 11 in the same size bracket as a netbook and MacBook Air, and makes it an ideal travel companion for professionals on the move, being small and light enough to fit into most satchels or plus-sized handbags.
We were also very impressed with the build quality of the Chromebook 11. At its launch Google described the HP Chromebook 11 as "the Wolverine of Chromebooks", claiming its magnesium inner chassis is more than capable of dealing with the odd bump or scrape. Having thoroughly tested it we agree with this assertion, and the Chromebook 11's chassis is one of the most robust we've found in its price bracket.
We were also impressed with the keyboard and trackpad. While the Chromebook's small dimensions meant the keyboard did feel a little squashed, the keys were pleasant to type on, feeling suitably snappy and responsive. The trackpad also proved pleasant to use, and was suitably large and responsive.
In terms of ports, the Chromebook 11 comes with two basic USB 2.0 inputs and a SlimPort video out.
Next: Display, operating system and software