HP Chromebook 11a review: Design and display
HP has plastered the Chromebook logo right on the lid so there’s no mistaking it for yet another Windows laptop. The blue colour makes it look different in otherwise what is a standard laptop build. The HP Chromebook 11a is made of plastic but manages to look quite pretty thanks to its slim. At just 1.68cm of thickness, the Chromebook 11a is really portable and easy to carry. At just over 1kg, this is a seriously lightweight laptop and that itself is a big win for us.
HP Chromebook 11a has a USB port, a type-C port that doubles up as charging port, a headphone jack and a microSD card. In terms of connectivity you are pretty much covered and couldn’t have asked for more. The power adapter is on the bulkier side and that’s something which could have been better. Otherwise, in terms of design you get a laptop that will please you on all fronts.
The keyboard is also surprisingly good on what is a rather smallish machine. The keys are well placed and nicely laid out which makes typing quite a breeze. Since it’s a small laptop, the trackpad isn’t that big but works quite smoothly.
As the name suggests, the Chromebook has an 11.6-inch display. Now for some users it might be an issue as a lot of people like big displays for work or for pleasure. The 11.-6-inch display is a no-frills configuration. You won’t find HDR or even high-resolution but what you get is a screen that is bright and reproduces colours accurately on most occasions. What works immensely in its favour is that you get a touch-enabled display as well. The touchscreen works smoothly and is an added bonus to the whole experience.
You really can’t expect the moon and stars at this price, can you? But yes, HP has done a fairly impressive job with the design and display on the Chromebook 11a.
HP Chromebook 11a review: Performance, Chrome OS and more
The biggest reason that piqued our interest in the Chromebook 11a is Chrome OS. For a long time now the world has been divided into Windows and Mac and to be fair Chrome OS has been around for a while but it’s only recently that it has been making some dents in the market. In India, however, Chrome OS still remains terribly niche. After using the Chromebook 11a for a while, we can safely say that it’s a travesty not many users are familiar with ChromeOS. Or for that matter why PC brands continue to offer Windows only machines.
Coming to Chrome OS, it truly is a delightful OS to use especially if you are an Android user. Chrome OS is extremely light and designed for apps to work really smoothly. Chrome OS makes sure that you really don’t need a heavy-duty processor or extra RAM for the machine to work smoothly. So it’s no surprise that HP hasn’t gone for an AMD or Intel processor. Instead what you get is a MediaTek processor. Yes, the Chromebook 11 a is powered by a MediaTek MT8183 octa core processor. We have never used a MediaTek processor in a laptop and the experience was pleasantly good. Though it has be said a lot of the whole experience is down to how good Chrome OS actually is.
Chromebook 11a is really fast when it comes to booting up. Considering that it just has 4GB RAM, it was a pleasant surprise. What works most in its favour is Chrome OS. As we said for Android users, it’s a match made in heaven. Syncing and connecting an Android phone is really easy as is using Google’s apps and services. But it’s not as if since it’s a Chrome OS that other apps and services don’t work properly or you are restricted in any form.
Chrome OS has come a long way since its inception. It’s become better and is a full-fledged OS that can take on Windows and Mac. Why? Because there are hardly any issues we faced. It works nicely as a desktop, it has many app options, it has a download manager — everything you may seek in a ‘proper’ OS and laptop. Chrome OS also supports all the apps that run on Android phones, which means an addition benefit for those who use Android phones. It can run Microsoft Office apps really smoothly if you want to use it as ‘work’ device. Google Docs, Drive, Gmail, all other Google apps work seamlessly as expected.
What Chrome OS also offer is a plethora of alternatives. For example, if you don’t want to use Chrome or Drive, you can opt for any other browser or service. OTT streaming apps also work smoothly on the Chrome OS but the size of the screen might prevent some to use the Chromebook as a device for multimedia consumption.
As for the performance of the Chromebook 11a, you will not feel as if you are using a machine that is powered by 4GB RAM. Compared to a similar configuration on a Windows laptop, the Chromebook delivers much better performance on a daily basis. The dual speakers aren’t anything to write home about but the addition of headphone jack means you can use wired headphones or Bluetooth headphones as well.
There’s only 64GB of storage which might be an issue but the microSD card slot ensures you can expand it as per your needs. What you also get is 100GB of Google Drive space for one year.
The battery life on the HP Chromebook 11a is close to 13 hours, which means that you won’t have to charge it more than once a day. Compared to laptops in similar price range, it certainly gives an edge to the Chromebook 11a.
HP Chromebook 11a review: Verdict
A lot of credit here goes to HP for giving Chromebooks and Chrome OS an opportunity to shine. And shine it does. At Rs 21,999, the Chromebook 11a is a steal in terms of value and what it offers. The search for a budget laptop can genuinely end if more brands start making Chromebooks, which surprisingly they haven’t. Windows, of course, remains a far more refined OS but Google Chrome OS looks like it is here to stay. For those who are looking for a laptop for ‘basic’ needs or online classes and meetings, the HP Chromebook 11a is the device to go for. We would say that for Android users there’s an added advantage but the truth is that literally anyone can buy this laptop and find it easy to use for all kinds of tasks. Budget Windows laptop better worry as this is a computing device to watch out for.