Dell's updated Chromebook 11 packs good performance in a super-portable frame. The affordable notebook has a compact, 11-inch (28 centimeters) display and a classy, minimalist design, making it an enticing option for mobile business users. It also delivers zippy multitasking, thanks to the included Intel Core i3 processor, and better battery life than any competing Chromebook.
Like other Chromebooks, Dell's new model runs on Chrome OS, a lightweight operating system designed by Google. Chrome OS revolves around Google's Chrome browser, so the operating system can't run any Windows or Mac programs. But buyers do have a good selection of online applications to help them stay productive on the go.
While you wait for our full review, read on to see how Dell's updated Chromebook 11 stacks up as a business machine.
- Improved performance: A relatively weak Intel Celeron processor powered Dell's original Chromebook 11. Thankfully, the company kicked things up a notch with the new model, which packs a much speedier Intel Core i3 processor, so it can handle more-demanding productivity tasks.
- Long battery life: It's the longest-lasting Chromebook yet. Dell's Chromebook 11 ran for 10 hours and 17 minutes on our battery test, outperforming its predecessor (7:02), as well as the Core i3-based Acer Chromebook C720 (7:37) and the Toshiba Chromebook 2 (7:48).
- Sophisticated design: Business users might appreciate the Chromebook 11's classy, minimalist design. It sports a smooth, matte, silver finish and straight, flat edges, so it looks like something that can be taken seriously.
- OS limitations: Can you work on a Chromebook? It really depends on what you want to use it for. Chrome OS is great for lightweight tasks like managing your email inbox, or creating spreadsheets and documents in Google Docs. And there are a good number of handy Chrome apps for productivity. Still, if you need to run a particular piece of Windows software, the Chromebook 11 is a nonstarter.
- Crowded keyboard: As on most other 11-inch notebooks, the Chromebook 11's keyboard is slightly smaller than full size. Some touch typists, especially those with big hands, might find it a bit cramped. Keys are also relatively shallow, which also makes extended typing sessions less comfortable.
- Mediocre display: A business notebook doesn't necessarily need a great display, especially if you will primarily use the device to view documents and crunch numbers. Still, the Chromebook 11's weakest point might be its mediocre screen. It has a fairly standard resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels, but colors look dull and washed out.