HP is a longtime Google Chrome OS partner, cranking out Chromebooks on a regular schedule that run the gamut from surprisingly high-end to budget-oriented education models. For this review I’m going to be checking out one of the latter, as this HP Chromebook 11 (See it on Amazon) is priced at $199 or a little less, making it one of the most affordable laptops money can buy these days. The question is can a laptop that is this affordable actually be workable for day-to-day use? I dedicated myself to the pursuit of the answer.
One note before we jump in – Chromebooks are obviously not gaming machines or for power users. We evaluate Chromebooks based off their design, build quality, battery life, and general ability to be an effective “daily driver” when it comes to web browsing, word processing, and other basic tasks. A high-scoring, inexpensive Chromebook should not be compared directly to a high-scoring, expensive gaming laptop.
Here are the specifications of the HP Chromebook 11 I am evaluating:
- Model: HP Chromebook – 11-v010wm
- Display: 11.6″ HD SVA (1366×768 pixels) non-touch WLED with anti-glare
- Processor: Intel Celeron N3060 (1.6GHz, up to 2.48GHz)
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 400
- Memory: 4GB LPDDR3-1600 SDRAM
- OS: Chrome OS with Play Store support
- OS Drive: 16GB eMMC Flash
- Webcam: 720p HD Cam
- Ports: 2 x USB Type-A 3.1, 1 x 3.5 mm audio jack, 1 x microSD card reader, 1 x HDMI
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2
- Dimensions: 11.8 x 8.7 x 0.7-inches (WxDxH)
- Weight: 2.49 pounds
- Price: $170 (Certified Refurbished)
Design and Features
The HP Chromebook 11’s housing is made out of a what feels like durable plastic. Save for the shiny HP logo and Chrome logo on the lid, the laptop is predominantly a gunmetal grey slab when the lid is closed. Inside, the material surrounding the keyboard and touchpad are silver. With an overall footprint of 11.8 x 8.7 x 0.7-inches, and weight of 2.49-pounds, the Chromebook 11 is small and quite portable.
When picking up the laptop and squeezing it, there’s a bit of give to the plastic housing. It’s not obscene, but more than I’m used to. There is a good selection of expansion ports on the HP Chromebook 11. One side sports a USB 3.1 Type-A and headphone jack, while the other side boasts a full-sized HDMI port, microSD reader, and another USB 3.1 Type-A port. If you’re on the bleeding edge of technology you’ll be upset to hear this model lacks any sort of USB Type-C port.
There are four rubber feet on the bottom of the Chromebook 11 that do a good job of preventing the laptop from scooting around while typing. The feet also lift the laptop off your desk a bit, giving the speakers enough room to pump out some jams without muffling things. Overall, the speakers are decent, but you’re better off using headphones for watching YouTube or to stream music.
The 11.6-inch 1366×768 HD display is surrounded by a thick black bezel, with an HD webcam centered at the top. As with the Dell Chromebook 11 3180, the display on the HP Chromebook 11 is muted and lacks overall brightness. Also missing on the base model is a touch-screen, which is optional, and will set you back another $31. It features Chrome’s standard keyboard layout, which includes dedicated Chrome OS buttons to make using the OS easier. Overall the keyboard enjoyable to use despite the fact that each key has a little play in it, but not enough to make typing with it difficult.
Inside the HP Chromebook 11 is what is essentially the “bare bones” package, which consists of a dual-core Intel Celeron N3060 mobile CPU made for tablets, 4GB LPDDR3-1600 SDRAM, and 16GB of eMMC storage. The storage amount isn’t a heck of a lot, but with microSD support and Google Drive built into the OS, you should be able to live with it.
As for the touchpad, the entire thing is supposed to act as a big button. Instead, only the lower quarter is responsive to presses. When pushing on the top-half of the touchpad, you have to press really hard to get it to register, and in turn, you bend the plastic housing around the pad and the keyboard. It’s borderline scary how much it bends and feels nerve wracking applying that much pressure.
As an entry-level “education” based Chromebook, you should keep your expectations in check on this one. That said, here’s a quick rundown of the benchmark scores tallied by the HP Chromebook 11. I compared to the previous Chromebook I reviewed: the much more expensive $400 Acer Chromebook 15:
As you can see, I ran into some issues running Geekbench on the HP Chromebook 11. Each test would go through the entire process, but once a test was finished and the app calculated the results, it would crash. I ran the tests multiple times, reinstalled the app, and did everything I could think of to get it to work — but no luck.
The rest of the tests, two of which are browser-based, ran without issue. Comparing the Ice Storm Unlimited to a similarly priced Dell Chromebook 11 (review coming soon) the scores more or less amount to the same performance. As for Speedometer and Kraken scores, those were nearly identical as well between the two devices. I was able to keep a handful of resource-intensive Chrome tabs open in the background, but any more than that, I would have to wait for older tabs to refresh. Android apps take a little bit longer than I’d like to launch and fully open, but not enough to be aggravating to the point where I can’t get anything done.
According to HP, the battery life of its Chromebook 11 should be around 12 hours and 45 minutes of use. While I couldn’t get Geekbench to complete the test, I did monitor it until 5-perecent of the battery was left. At that time, the test had run for 9 hours and 29 minutes. With the remaining 5-percent, and my rudimentary math skills, the HP Chromebook 11 likely shut down around 10 hours of testing; give or take a few minutes. My personal use of the laptop lined up with the benchmark, in that it offers more than enough power to get through an eight hour work day.
As with all Chromebooks, the HP Chromebook 11 runs the latest and greatest version of Chrome OS. Updates are taken care of in the background, with the user only having to occasionally restart the laptop to finish installation. With the HP Chromebook 11, the Play Store is also included, making it possible to install Android apps on the device. My experience on this laptop, as you could have guessed from the Geekbench experience, is that not all Android apps run properly. Previous testing of lower-end Chromebooks have shown similar behavior — some apps work, some don’t, and it all really depends on the laptop in question.
The HP Chromebook 11 sells for $169.99 and has held to exactly that price since the model debuted: