HP has announced a new family of Chromebooks, which  are powered by Intel’s high-performance processors and feature stylish design, aluminum body, high-resolution display and even Bang & Olufsen speakers. The new laptops will not be as affordable as many other mobile PCs running Google Chrome OS and will not be as powerful as Google’s Pixel, however, this is what HP believes to be the right balance between performance, style, portability and price.

When Acer and Samsung introduced their first notebooks based on Google’s Chrome OS in mid-2011, they praised their low price and mainstream computing capabilities. At the time, Chrome OS was a mystery for most people, netbooks were relatively popular and it made sense for the aforementioned PC makers and Google to address the entry-level segment of the market with something very affordable. As Chrome OS gained traction, PC makers began to install higher-performing components into their Chromebooks. However, they were still not ready to address the high-end market segment with such PCs, which is why Google released its Pixel laptop in 2013. The Chromebook Pixel is one the most advanced and stylish Chromebooks ever made because of its Core i7 “Broadwell” CPU, a display with 2560×1700 resolution and 3:2 aspect ratio. But, the Pixel costs $999 and not all users are ready to invest that sum in a Chromebook. Fortunately, different PC makers offer various systems that attempt to replicate some of the Pixel’s features. HP decided to build its own competitor for Google’s Pixel and while the product is not exactly affordable, it has a better screen than most Chromebooks and a number of other advanced features.

The HP Chromebook 13 sports a 13.3” IPS display with 3200×1800 resolution (QHD+), 170-degree viewing angles and 16:9 aspect ratio, which is good for multimedia applications and video. HP’s latest Chromebook comes in brushed anodized aluminum chassis, it is 12.9 mm thick and weighs 1.29 kilograms (2.86 pounds), which is thinner and lighter than Apple’s MacBook Air 13”. Despite the very high resolution screen, the laptop works up to 11.5 hours on one charge of its 45 Wh battery, according to the manufacturer.

To enable long battery life, HP used Intel’s Skylake-Y system-on-chips to build its Chromebook 13. Various versions of the system are powered by either Pentium or Core M SoCs with two cores, Intel’s HD Graphics 515 (Gen9) core with 24 EUs (execution units) as well as 6W or 4.5W TDP. The system will likely be considerably faster than other Chromebooks running Atom, Celeron or Pentium processors because of the high-performance CPU architecture.

HP Chromebook 13 Specifications
Screen Resolution 3200×1800
CPU Intel Core m7-6Y75 Intel Core m5-6Y57 Intel Core m3-6Y30 Intel Pentium 4405Y
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 515 (Gen9, 24 execution units)
RAM 16 GB 8 GB 4 GB
Storage NAND flash storage
Wi-Fi 2x2 MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi module (?)
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.2 (?)
USB 2×USB-C, 1×USB-A ports
Other I/O Microphone, stereo speakers, audio jack
Thickness 12.9 mm/0.5 inch
Weight 1.29 kilograms / 2.86 pounds
Price $1029 $819 $599 $499

Depending on the model and price, the HP Chromebook 13 can be equipped with 4, 8 or 16 GB of RAM, an unknown amount of solid-state storage as well as wireless connectivity technologies (a 802.11ac Wi-Fi module with Bluetooth 4.2 is likely, but is not confirmed by HP). HP notes that its system has a full-sized backlit keyboard as well as Band & Olufsen-tuned speakers, which is something new for a Chromebook. The system also has a webcam, three microphones, a 3.5 mm audio port, a SD card reader, one USB Type-A port as well as two USB Type-C ports. The Chromebook 13 uses USB-C for charging and is therefore compatible with a variety of third-party chargers.

With its advanced Chromebook 13, HP offers its Elite USB-C Docking Station ($149), which plugs in to a USB-C port on the PC and enables to connect up two Full HD displays, Gigabit Ethernet as well as multiple USB Type-A devices, such as keyboards or mice.

Four versions of the HP Chromebook 13 should hit the U.S. retail shortly. The most basic model running the Intel Pentium 4405Y processor and equipped with 4 GB of RAM will cost $499, whereas the top-of-the-range system featuring the Intel Core m7-6Y75 and 16 GB of RAM will cost $1029, which is even more than Google’s Pixel.

Sources: HP and Engadget.

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  • okay - Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - link

    There are some people out there that want a computer that just works. 10 years ago Apple was doing a good job producing hardware and software that did indeed just work. These days, not so much. Apple's quality has been going steadily downhill, meanwhile Chromebooks are the computer to get today if you really do want something that just works.
  • jabber - Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - link

    Most of the macbook using folks I see just use the web. I always think they could save $900 and just get a Chromebook...with HDMI/USB/USB3/SD Card...
  • jharmwood - Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - link

    You obviously have not used a Pixel. Who are you to judge? I have a designed to order MacBook Pro but it is heavy. For 80% of what I do the Pixel is better. It is faster than any computer I have used and I am lucky enough to be able to try most commercial brands. As an educator you learn to put function over ideology. "You should get" is a youthful, ideological statement and totally inappropriate in what is an inherently subjective field.
  • tuxRoller - Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - link

    A macbook costs more than the lower end models, is less secure, and harder to manage.
    Still, this is too much money unless: the screen is really good, the keyboard/trackpad are excellent, and the chassis is solidly constructed.
  • bwestley13 - Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - link

    I want something with 8GB of ram so I would go for the m5 version priced at $819 for the same spec macbook minus the 512gb storage, which i dont need, is $1600 oh and I get a touchscreen which macs dont offer at any price. I have been using a chromebook for 3 years and it suits my needs and just want something more premium.
  • Cliff34 - Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - link

    But the question isn't that some will pay more for better..you can pay the SAME and get better (Windows laptop).
  • annomander - Thursday, May 5, 2016 - link

    Who says the Windows laptop is better
  • BrokenCrayons - Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - link

    $1029 isn't really that much. I agree that there are less expensive computers out there, but devices as those price points exist as Chrome boxes and other computers with different operating systems because middle income wage earners can easily afford to purchase them.

    Yes, Chromebooks are a rarity in the wild because of they work in an unfamiliar way that isn't friendly to having hardware control, local storage, or much usability while away from an Internet connection, but I could see a point in them now that modern Windows operating systems are just as invasive. Why bother with the trappings of a Modern UI and all the problems that come with Windows if you only need a web appliance?
  • zinfamous - Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - link

    I think it is quite a bit expensive when considering that I paid about $1200 for an i5, 16gb, 256gb, Surface Pro 4 back in December. (final price with the keyboard add-on).

    I like the idea of Chromebooks, but I just don't see a utility for them that justifies that kind of price, compared to a fully-featured device (that also offers tablet use for those that want it) at that price point.
  • Grubel - Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - link

    With a less than $200 Chromebook an average user can do more than 95% of all Mac users.

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