While most Chromebooks are budget-focused machines with low-end specs, HP is aiming a little higher with its latest notebook, which has a pixel-dense display and capable Intel Core M processor, all while hanging onto a wallet-friendly starting price. With an all-metal build and somewhat premium specs, it's also looking to encroach on the Chromebook Pixel's territory – and, as you may expect, its higher-end configurations are in the same pricing ballpark as the Pixel.
HP's recent notebooks have paid a lot of attention to design, and the Chromebook 13 is no different, with an attractive-looking aluminum build that measures 12.9 mm (0.5 in) thick and weighs 2.86 lbs (1.3 kg).
There's some solid hardware under the hood, with the machine running on up to a 6th generation Intel Core M processor – a first for Chromebooks. The entry level model, though, is running a weaker Pentium processor, with higher price tiers delving into 6th-gen Core m3, m5 and m7 CPUs from there. The Chromebook 13 has 4 GB of RAM in the entry-level model, while more expensive configs will get you 8 GB or up to a whopping 16 GB of RAM.
The IPS display here is perhaps the notebook's stand-out feature, with a 3,200 x 1,800 resolution over 13.3 inches (that's 276 PPI). There is also a pair of USB-C ports included, and the machine will work with an HP dock that links up via USB-C, allowing for the connection of dual displays, full-size USB devices and wired internet.
Elsewhere, there's a backlit keyboard, audio from Bang & Olufsen, and a rated 11.5 hours of battery life – not bad considering the pixel-dense display on offer.
The company has also made a handful of enhancements to Chrome OS, including a Lucid Sleep mode that updates documents, emails and notifications while the machine sleeps, as well as improved security features and a local print solution compatible with the company's own products.
The Chromebook's US$499 starting price might sound enticing, given its specs, but keep in mind that only gets you a Pentium processor and 4 GB RAM. Jumping up to a Core m3 chip (also with 4 GB RAM) shoots the price up to $599, while the maxed-out Core m7/8 GB model is pricier than the Chromebook Pixel, at $1,029.
... so be sure not to confuse the "starts at" price with its "up to" specs – there's very little overlap there.
The new Chromebook is set to launch this month.
Product page: HP