I am nearing the end of my first week with the Dell Chromebook 11, the Chromebook I am using for at least the next two months as my primary mobile computing platform. I did spend some time researching the various options, and considered everything from the yet-to-be-released (and now delayed) Samsung Chromebook 2 to the beautifully designed 11″ and 14″ HP Chromebook line.
I ultimately decided on the Dell because of its Intel processor, 4gb RAM option and rugged build look. I was also persuaded by the media that suggested that this model was “best for education” (although, really does that even mean?).
On hardware only, here are my initial reactions:
The Dell Chromebook has amazing built quality. While the build is very plastic, it feels great in the hand and is light without feeling cheep. The screen is edge-to-edge glass and while I still don’t like the 1366×768 resolution on platform, the screensize seems good enough here to be an effective mobile tool.
The ports are fine: two USB ports, an SD card slot and an HDMI out.
I do wish there was an a display port, mini display port or VGA port to allow for easier external display disport.
The HDMI port is very functional however. I wasn’t able to get it to work with our office conference television, but, I did set up with an older monitor with HDMI in. I was able to put together a functional standing workstation using the Chromebook as a base.
The hardware is speedy, which I attribute to the Intel chip and 4gb of RAM. I regularly have 5+ windows open and there has been no real sluggishness to report.
The battery life is also amazing. I have been reliably getting 9+ hours for each charge. This beats my previous platform (MacBook Air 11″/2012) and rivals what I am able to get from my iPad mini.
So far, it has been mostly upsides but there are certainly downsides to consider.
First, there is a lot of noise on the Internet about the fan noise with this specific model. I haven’t noticed this, either using it in docking mode (which might require more processing power to run the larger monitor) or using it as a laptop. I also haven’t noticed it running too warm or hot either.
Second, I have also seen a number of references to the display, both the resolution and the the quality. While I agree that the 1366×768 resolution isn’t my preference, that is really standard for notebooks, netbooks, and ultrabooks at this size. More importantly, there are some emerging Chromebooks that brag about 1090p resolution, which I am sure looks great, but, I worry about the trade-off with battery life and speed.
Overall? I’m impressed. This is a well-built, speedy platform for the ChromeOS. It is comfortable to use, and while it isn’t made of the premium materials that I would expect with a platform like Apple or a high end Lenovo machine, it is built well enough to put up with even heavy use.