Think you can't run Windows programs on a Chromebook? Dell's new Chromebook 13 is optimized to do just that, making it a better option if you depend on a particular PC program to do your job. It works by utilizing a remote desktop program to securely access your work PC, letting you access all of your files and run the full Windows environment — including Windows apps like Excel and Photoshop — from within Chrome OS.
Technically, that capability is nothing new; an app called Chrome Remote Desktop lets you run Windows programs on any Chromebook. But this machine is noteworthy because Dell worked with desktop virtualization company Citrix to let you access your work PC more securely. The Citrix Receiver app, which comes preloaded on the Chromebook 13, also gives businesses full VPN controls to allow them to access private company documents and programs on the go.
The Chromebook 13 also comes with more power than the average Chromebook, which is necessary for running demanding Windows programs in a virtual desktop environment. The machine is available with processors up to Intel's Core i5 chip with up to 8GB of RAM, which should provide plenty of performance for heavy workloads. Dell also promises up to 12 hours of battery life on a charge, which should help you get through the end of the workday and beyond.
Also included are business-friendly features like a glass precision touchpad for accurate cursor control and a backlit keyboard for typing in low-light situations, making it the only Chromebook with backlit keys. Other perks include a black carbon-fiber chassis that's sleeker and more durable than the plastic case you'll find on most Chromebook models.
The Chromebook 13 is set to go on sale Sept. 17 for $399, making it one of the pricier Chromebooks on the market. But with a winning combination of business-friendly software and premium hardware, it could be the best Chromebook yet for business users.
Check back soon for our full review of the Chromebook 13, or check out our full list of the best business laptops currently on the market.