Australian Review: HP Chromebook 11 – Give and take

HP’s 11-inch Chromebook is an inexpensive laptop (starting at AUD$399) running Chrome OS that embodies the idea of “what you see is what you get”. Coming in bright colours and made from plastic, it makes no pretenses about being a powerful machine, but its simple aesthetic might be quite appealing to some.

For those who aren’t familiar with it, Chrome OS is Google’s take on a desktop operating system. Based on the Linux kernel, it looks a little bit like Ubuntu (one of the most popular Linux distributions). When using Chrome OS, you’ll spend most of your time within the Chrome web browser, and a selection of dedicated (although still web-based) apps are available through the Chrome Web Store. You won’t find Microsoft Office for Chrome OS, but alternatives are available through Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. Online versions of Word, Excel, OneNote and more are also available.

In terms of hardware, The Chromebook 11 feels well built; it’s made from robust plastics, and the screen hinge in particular feels very solid. The IPS screen itself has good viewing angles, but isn’t very bright. This can make outdoor usage challenging, especially on sunny days. It’s more than adequate for indoor use though. The resolution (1366 by 768) is typical for an 11-inch screen, but can feel a little cramped at times if you’re used to something bigger.

Battery life is however a little low for a modern laptop; I got just under five hours per charge.

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