A laptop with Windows is today’s norm, but brave Google challenges the dominance of Microsoft with its Chromebook. They run on Chrome OS which is essentially the Google’s famous Chrome browser. While the operating system indeed comes from Google, it’s the other companies who actually make these laptops. One prominent manufacturer is HP, which has just released HP Chromebook 11-2110nr. In this review, we’re taking that laptop under examination and tell you if it’s worthy of buying!
The main things
Well, the fact it’s not Windows was already mentioned above. You’ll find a new kind of operating system in this HP. It’s basically the Google Chrome browser, which requires Internet access for most functions – which can, of course, be said about laptop of any OS. Without hacking, you can’t install regular Windows programs on it, but there are many equivailents made by Google (like Google Drive for MS Office, Hangouts for Skype etc).
Aside from the obvious OS difference, let me tell you a bit about the performance of HP Chromebook 11-2110nr. It comes with Intel Celeron N2830, a low-end processor intended for basic use. It’s a dual-core CPU with clock speed up to 2.4GHz with turbo, but these things don’t mean it’s fast. Performance tests give rather poor grades for that Celeron, it lacks gaming capabilities, although for lightweight Chromebook use like web browsing it’s just perfect.
The system has 2GB memory, which is so and so, even for a Chromebook. Because the laptop is browser-based, you’ll probably have many tabs open simultaneously, which of course requires memory. 2GB RAM might be just enough for that, but visiting heavy sites full of Flash might slow down the computer. The computer seems to have zero accessible memory slots, so upgrading the memory isn’t an option either.
Chromebooks are famous for their storage solution. It’s not a conventional hard drive, but a modern solid-state drive. They are small in size, this one being just 16GB. However, keep in mind you won’t be installing much software to this laptop, you’ll rather use applications on the cloud. Also, the SSD is wicked fast, and you’ll definitely see the difference in use and start up times if you’re switching from older Windows-based laptops.
On top of the local 16GB drive, you’ll also get access to Google’s cloud that offers 100GB online storage.
Screen & Graphics
HP Chromebook 11-2110nr features non-touch 11.6″ display. It’s labeled as HD, but remember the resolution is just 1366×768, far from Full HD. However, because of the small screen size, this resolution is legitimate choice for that display.
Graphics performance of this HP, compared to most Windows laptops, is outright bad. The Intel Celeron N2830 integrates an Intel HD Graphics chip with codename Bay Trail. That’s the slowest member in the already infamous Intel HD family, so only old games with low settings would run with acceptable FPS.
However, another factor must be considered here. For a Windows system, installing games is very effortless. However, for a Chromebook, it’s not. You can’t just insert a DVD, install World of Warcraft and start playing right away. There are hacks how you can achieve that, but to put it simply, installing Windows games and programs on a Chromebook isn’t something an everyday user could do.
2 USB ports are available on HP Chromebook 11-2110nr. One of them is USB 2.0 while the other one is USB 3.0.
According to the manual, there is one HDMI output for HDTV connection.
A front-facing HD webcam is installed in this computer. Chromebook doesn’t support Skype, but you can go for Google Hangouts if you want to have video chats.
Something else to keep in mind?
There’s no DVD drive on HP Chromebook 11-2110nr. Chrome OS doesn’t support DVD video codes, so watching movie DVDs wouldn’t work on it anyway. You could plug an USB DVD or hard drive to the laptop and operate supported files (like .avi, .mov or .mp4 for media) locally. However, burning discs is not possible, external optical drives connected to Chromebook will be in read-only state.
One of the best things of this notebook is the weight. At mere 2.8 pounds, it’s effortless to put in a backpack and take away with you. The battery life should be 8 hours, which is again plenty for travelers and other people on the go.
Chromebooks are not so new thing anymore, and after pointing out many flaws in this review, I must still say they’re gaining more and more popularity every day. They’re excellent tools if you don’t need fancy functionality from your laptop – for web browsing, video streaming, printing (yes, with Google Cloud Print) and basic office tasks Chromebooks work well. Because of both OS and performance limitations heavier use and gaming are out of Chromebook’s scope, but the aforementioned lightweight stuff is very doable on it. That all comes on a neat-looking, lightweight and very affordable package. As such, I can recommend this HP for everyday computing!