The almost 0.7-inch thick HP Chromebook 11 (with the big note “Made with Google”) is now available for purchase directly from HP, Amazon, Best Buy, and the Google Play store (with more color options than other retailers).
MSRP for the HP Chromebook 11 is $279.99 and depending on the retailer you’ll have to deal with a shipping fee: Best Buy and Amazon are offering free ship, whereas HP and Google Play has shipping at $9.99 and $10.99 respectively.
If the 11.6-inch 2.3 pound machine interest you, the best deal is actually directly from HP with a 5% coupon code bringing down the price to $265.99 (Use cuopon SVD8492). That at least negates the shipping charge – plus the Chromebook 11 at HP.com is a “Quick Ship” item, meaning when you purchase the laptop it’ll be shipped out within 24 hours (compare to Amazon which has a current shipping time of 2 to 3 weeks).
Update 10/21: Reviews on the Chromebook are mostly in the positive, with The Next Web touting as “worthwhile but still limited” and comparatively The Verge giving it a 5.9 out of 10 score (performance being one of the bigger problems).
HP Chromebook 11 Specs and IPS Display
|Size||297 x 192 x 17.6 mm|
|Weight||2.3 lb / 1.04 kg|
|Display||11.6-inch IPS 1366 x 768|
|Battery||30 WHr lithium-ion|
|Processor||Samsung Exynos 5250 (dual-core A15 1.7 Ghz + ARM Mali T604 GPU)|
|Connectivity||dual-band 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0, optional 3G/4G LTE|
|Camera||720p HP HD Webcam|
|Input/Output||2x USB 2.0, microUSB / SlimPort video out, 1 combo jack|
The best thing about the Chromebook 11 is probably the surprisingly decent IPS display panel. Brightness is at 315 Nits and black level is a high-end rating even better than the iPad 4 or the 2013 Nexus 7. Together it makes a respectable contrast ratio comparable to a 4th generation iPad.
For the price range (under $300) you honestly won’t find a better display panel in the notebook category and will only be able to find similar quality panels in the higher-end, flagship tablet space. Although color gamut isn’t exactly the best in the market the brightness and display resolution are solid.
Storage Size and Extra Cloud/Mobile Incentives
Because of the small storage size of the 16GB eMMC SanDisk flash drive, all Chromebook 11′s get a limited time offer of free Google Drive storage, up to 100GB for free for 2 years upon activation (you’ll have only 60 days to activate upon getting your Chromebook 11).
HP.com is offering extra incentive on the cloud storage department with a free lifetime 25GB Box.com account, a decent enough offer. Although its not specified, we suspect the individual files will be limited to 250MB a pop to fill out that 25GB offer since you generally have to pay to upload bigger files at Box.com.
This “netbook-reborn” ultraportable laptop also has some nifty bonuses: you’ll get 60-day free trial of Google Play Music All-Access, plus 12 free sessions of GoGo Inflight internet. That’s actually a pretty hot offer considering each GoGo session costs about $15.
Twelve free session plus the two months of Google Play Music is easily valued at $200. (Just FYI though that the 12 session must be used within 12 months, so honestly if you only fly occasionally per year, then this is a bit more of a moot offer).
HP Chromebook 11 Against the Acer C720.
For those waiting for a Chromebook to call their own, you might also be on the lookout for the upcoming Acer C720 11-inch Chromebook. The Acer is in the same price range and a similar build compared to the HP Chromebook 11. The C720 has a few things going for it, namely the much faster Haswell-based Celeron 2955U (1.4 Ghz) and 4GB of RAM. It’ll be a bit thicker and heavier with a lower quality display (non-IPS), but the Acer will come priced in at a MSRP of $249.99 – which makes it a competitive offer.
While the netbook craze faded out around 2008/2009, Chromebooks are making a good case that there’s still a market for a budget, entry-level PC that’s portable and functional. It’ll be interesting to see if the HP Chromebook 11 and the upcoming Acer C720 will start a revival of low-priced, web-usage focused ultraportable laptops.