The product launches are coming thick and fast at the IFA 2018 tech showcase in Berlin this week, and Dell has taken the opportunity to take the wrappers off its most high-end Chromebook yet: the 2-in-1 Inspiron 14. Is this a competitor worthy enough to take on the mighty Google Pixelbook?

Aside from Google and (to a certain extent) Samsung, no one else has taken the trouble to make a premium Chromebook – after all, low prices are part of the appeal of Chromebooks, and if all these laptops are running is a lightweight web browser, top-end configurations aren't really needed.

However, as web apps get increasingly complex, and support for Android apps rolls out across Chrome OS devices, Chromebook specs are becoming more important. The more power under the hood, the more tabs and apps can be run at once, and the faster everything moves along.

To that end the Inspiron 14 comes with an 8th-generation Intel Core i3, up to 128 GB of local SSD storage, and 4 GB of RAM. That doesn't quite match the power of the Pixelbook, but Dell's device comes in at a much lower price.

Like the Pixelbook, the Inspiron 14 offers a hinged screen that can be folded right back – you can use the device in a tent position to watch movies, or fold it right over and use it as a chunky tablet. There's an integrated stylus included that slots under the keyboard (the Pixelbook Pen is a US$99 extra).

As for the display, the 14-inch touchscreen runs at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Dell is promising 15 hours of battery life between charges – so it should be good for a day's use at least – and there are memory card and USB ports (both Type-C and Type-A) along the edges of the notebook, as well as a 3.5-mm headphone jack.

Dell has made some very solid if unspectacular Chromebooks in the past, and looks to be aiming the new Inspiron 14 2-in-1 at Chromebook fans who want a little extra quality in specs and design (it's made from aluminum rather than plastic) – and without having to cough up almost $1,000 for a Pixelbook.

Chrome OS is the same as it ever was – limited to websites and web apps, but lightweight, fast, secure, and easy to use. The added bonus of Android apps gives Chromebooks like the Inspiron 14 many more capabilities, and better offline support (you can cache Netflix movies and Spotify tunes offline, for example).

As for that all-important price, you can pick up the Inspiron 14 from $599.99 and up when it goes on sale in the second half of October. For lots more from the show floor, keep checking back on our IFA 2018 coverage this week.

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