So I’ve been using my HP Chromebook 11″ for almost a month now and I want to post some of my thoughts. It needs to be noted that this is my second Chromebook since I use a 4gb HP Chromebook 14″ as well. Also, this review is based on the use that I’ve given it which is basically creating and editing documents of different complexity, going to Google+, listening to music, watching YouTube videos, Google Play Movies and generally surfing the web. The most I open at the same time would be around 5 or 6 tabs. I have been using almost every day now.
First the good stuff. Right out of the box this machine is every bit as beautiful as I have expected. The design is awesome and the build quality is really impressive for a machine for which I paid US$ 250. I mean these guys even managed to make a nice design on the charger with that subtle “Chrome” logo on it. Pretty neat!
I’m currently attending some classes and the first time I brought it with me a lot of people were really curious of it and asked me what was it. They were really impressed when I told and explained them that it was a Chromebook and what Chrome OS was. There were even more excited when they heard the US$ 250 I paid for it. It really got more than one interested on actually buying one for themselves 😀 I’ve been carrying my HP 14″ for almost 1 year now and not once have I had someone asking questions about it LOL (Honest!)
Now the keyboard is fantastic. I’ve read how good was it but my personal opinion is that it kicks the crap out of the HP 14″ keyboard. Speakers are also very good with a solid and stable sound.
The screen is just fantastic. What more can it be said? It never ceases to amaze me how something like IPS can change everything. I look at both the HP’s screens and there’s absolutely no comparison even considering they sport the same 1366×768 resolution. I’ve found myself editing long documents on the HP 11″ even though it’s just a 11.6″ screen (something I would never do since I like big screens) instead of the HP 14″ because it’s just so pleasant to look at. It’s that good.
Finally the fact that it charges through USB has come in handy in more than one occasion. I sometimes have classes lasting all day (9 to 6) and I can now charge my smartphone, my HP 11″ and even my Nexus tablet on just one cable. Very very useful in my opinion. The lightweight and compact size is a huge plus for me since I can now take the HP 11″ everywhere and carry it around all day long without minding about the weight. The HP 14″ has come to be a tad heavy.
Now for the not so good stuff… The touch-pad. Man I was quite surprised on how much detail they’ve put into this wonderful machine and yet the touch-pad is very bad. It’s rough surface is the contrary of the smooth plastic everywhere else and I’ve found myself using a wireless mouse if I have to work on long documents. Not a deal breaker but still.
The battery life is also quite disappointing. On my experience I’ve had 4 hours to (maybe and I do mean maybe) 4.5 hours on my daily use. Of course I must confess I crank the brightness up to maximum LOL so I’m sure that affects a lot. Since the charger is so small and light is not that big of a deal but still it kinda defies the “mobility” advantage that such a light and portable machine should have.
Other than that my experience has been quite pleasant. I have been able to listen to music while working on 2 or 3 documents at the same time with little to no issue and watching HD videos (as long as you do just that) is no problem at all. Is it a slow machine? Yes, objectively it is. It lags more than I would want it to. But is it that slow that you can’t do anything on it and get frustrated? Not by a long-shot in my opinion. This little machine has been perfectly capable of handling itself on my daily workload and I must admit I’m really happy with it. If you know the limitations both of you should get along just fine.
Now for some curiosities. When I opened the lid for the first time I noticed the machine wouldn’t boot up. I thought “well it must’ve come with an uncharged battery, no big deal” so I closed the lid, plugged it in and immediately opened the lid again. Just as expected it booted up but when I saw the battery life indicator it had about ¾ full.
Since it’s impossible for the battery to charge up that fast it was weird that the machine wouldn’t boot up the first time. Never happened to me again though.
Also when I first logged to the HP 11″ it said it was updating the system and just as expected after a few minutes it started. However I noticed that the top bar of the Chrome browser was black and not grey so I thought it was weird. I went into settings and checked if the system was up to date and of course it wasn’t. After a few minutes it said that I needed to reboot. Once I did everything was up to date. So what was it exactly updating the first time since it was definitely not the OS?
Final thoughts: Every Chromebook out there has disadvantages. There is no perfect Chromebook. The question is whether or not those disadvantages are a deal-breaker for you. In my opinion the advantages and pros of the HP 11″ outweigh the shortcomings and is definitely worth buying. The HP 11″ is one of those items you either love or hate and I’m definitely on the love side :)