The HP Chromebook 11, Google's New Halo Device Shines, with Some Caveats

The new Chromebook is pretty much the old Chromebook, just better

Google has just unveiled a new Chromebook which should tell you all you need to know about it since Google doesn't actually build Chromebooks, apart for the Pixel. Technically, HP unveiled the new laptop, but Google has been providing most of the marketing muscle and for good reason.

While there are many Chromebooks, with more to come in the next couple of months, this is the Chromebook, the halo device that Google will be using to push the platform forward for the next year or so.

For a halo device, the new HP Chromebook 11 isn't exactly cramming with new features. It has the same ARM processor as last year's Samsung Chromebook and mostly the same specs. There are even fewer ports available.

But Chrome OS has never been about the features, it has been about simplicity. The same goes for the device that's supposed to be the ultimate embodiment of what makes Chrome OS special.

There are no fans on the new Chromebook, just like the old one. It's also incredibly small and light. The build quality though, Google says, is a big step up. It has a magnesium frame covered by a glossy plastic shell, which Google says keeps it from flexing even if you hold it from a corner.

The price is also in range with last year's Samsung Chromebook, so the new device should sell quite well. So the hardware side is rather solid. And don't expect any surprises on the software side either.

Since the new Chromebook has basically the same specs as the device it's replacing, you'll get pretty much the same performance. The ARM-powered Chromebook has never been a speedy device and the new one won't be either. It should be enough for some casual browsing though, which is what the new device is aimed at after all. Thankfully, for those wanting a bit more oomph, there's a full line of Haswell-powered Chromebooks launching in the next two months.

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