There are really good Chromebooks out there if you know where to look, and HP has made some very solid -- if very cheap -- options. Sadly their plastic clamshell Chromebooks still felt low budget in the face of quality devices like the Asus Chromebook Flip. But a new HP Chromebook shrugs off the failures of the past and looks towards a hopefully higher quality future. At Google's Chelsea offices in New York City this morning, HP and Google gave us a good look at the new Chromebook 13.
The simply named Chromebook packs hardware that's far from plain. In fact, the specs are almost comparable to Google's own shiny and luxe Pixel lineup. The Chromebook 13 has an all-metal design, a high-resolution display (3200 x 1800), 16GB of memory and Intel's sixth-generation Core M processors (that's Skylake for those not in the know). Thanks to the Core M, this beast is also fanless, which helps since the thing is only about 13mm thick. That's thinner than Apple's tiny Macbook.
Multiple USB-C ports!
Unlike the Macbook (and the Pixel) the HP Chromebook 13 won't actually annihilate your disposable income. It's $US500 (that's $655, though Australian pricing has not yet been confirmed). That's fantastically priced when you consider all the hardware this guy is rocking -- all that power to run a souped-up version of a PC browser.
The Chromebook 13 continues in HP's renewed interest in making laptop machines borderline jewellery-grade. Typing on the keyboard is also comparable to a MacBook, very clicky and responsive, though the trackpad click can be somewhat resistant. But its most distinctive feature is the streaked aluminium exterior, which looks even better in person. It rivals Google's Pixel when it comes to just baseline curb appeal.
An interesting note is that HP has also made a dock you can purchase that will allow you to power dual hi-def displays and attach a litany of peripherals. A dock usually isn't usually necessary when using a Chromebook, but would be fantastic if said Chromebook ran Android apps in the future, as rumoured earlier this week.
Finally, HP makes a Chromebook worth primary laptop consideration. Stay tuned for a review.
All images: Darren Orf/Gizmodo