Chromebook Diaries – the tech spec

Dell Chromebook 11


OK, so I’ve had my Dell Chromebook 11 for just over a week and am still exploring its capabilities but I think that it’s time to talk specifications.

Physically, it’s a very compact, 24.6 mm x 294.64 mm x 200.7 mm which is 0.97″ x 11.6″ by 7.9″ in old money and tips the scales at 1.3kg – aka 2.9 lbs.

The screen is a perfectly usable 11.6″ with a resolution of 1366 x 768 and there’s an HDMI out with 1080p hi-def resolution. I’ve not used it in bright sunlight but I never used my Toshiba outside either and inside, it’s as bright as it needs to be.

There’s a 1.4 GHz Intel U2955 dual core processor with a 2Mb cache, that’s a Celeron if you like names. Memory wise there’s 4Gb RAM to keep things moving along and a 16Gd solid state drive, SSD. from what I’ve read, it’s like a PC, the more RAM the better the performance and I’ve had 20 tabs open with no slowdown.

To keep things simple there’s no network port but Wi-Fi, 802.11 a/b/g/n so you’ll be able to get on-line wherever there’s a wi-fi network. Bluetooth 4.0 completes the networking so that you can connect to your portable speakers or headset and there’s a webcam, microphone and a decent pair of speakers which is great for Google Hangouts users – not looked to see whether it works with Skype yet.

There’s a headphone and microphone socket, SD card slot to expand the memory or read your camera pics and 2 x USB 3.0 ports.

The battery is rated at 51Whr which is good for between 7 and 9 hours depending on how you use it.

All in all, the specification is ideal for a lightweight, speedy, compact laptop that’s great when working away from the office.

Of course, after winning rave reviews and pretty much selling out the technology bandwagon rolls on and Dell are to going release a new Chromebook with an i3 processor but I’m not upset by that, this one is just fine.

Chromebook Diaries – The Chromebook has landed

Andy, checking out websites as part of his workMy trusty Toshiba laptop is coming up on 3 years old and is beginning to show its age. Like its owner, it’s heavy, getting slower with age and just looks too chunky.

I have been agonising over its replacement for a while. I was taken with Windows Ultrabooks, great performance, quality screen and fantastic battery life, up to 5 hours but less than engaged by their prices, from £700 up.

I’ve also been looking at the Chromebooks which are basically small laptops with 11.6″ screens, fantastic battery life and running Google’s Chrome operating system rather than Windows. I even wrote about Chromebooks in an earlier post.

Larger screen Chromebooks are now available in in all cases battery life is as long as 9 hours, so all day computing without a charger is a realistic aim and they are impervious to viruses and other forms of malware.

Toshiba Satelite NB10 compact laptopScreen quality is perfectly acceptable but build quality, according to reviews, has been variable. However, since Xmas 2013 more and more manufactures have been releasing models using Intel processors for better performance, compared to the Samsung processors used in older Chromebooks, and manufacturers such as Toshiba and HP have released Chromebooks with larger screens, a 13″ from Toshiba and a 14″ from HP

However, I have been wary of the leap away from Windows and that has held me back, particularly after discovering a Toshiba of a very similar size to the 12″ Chromebooks, with a touch screen and Windows 8 for not a lot more money than a Chromebook, around £300 compared to the typical Chromebook price of £200 to £250.

So, I continued to sit on the fence.

Then Dell released their take on the Chromebook, an 11.6″ screen, excellent battery life, Intel dual core processor, light weight and, more importantly, 4Gb RAM.

With excellent reviews and a keen price, my mind was 90% made up. Then I spotted a great deal on eBay just as the Dell delivery date slipped from days to months, my decision was made and on Tuesday July 8th I picked up my ever so slightly used Dell Chromebook.

Chromebook Diaries – Chromebooks, an alternative to a Windows Laptop

3 laptop computers

Do you find your laptop’s too big to carry with you and the battery life too short?

Is your tablet not quite large/comfortable enough for more than a little light document editing, email work and web browsing?

Did you know that there’s an alternative that might just bridge the gap, its device that took 2/3rds of laptop sales on Amazon during December 2013 and it’s called a Chromebook.

Chromebooks come in screen sizes of 11.6″, 13.3″ and 14″, currently manufactured by Acer, HP, Samsung and Toshiba and prices start from £199.00 inc.

They are light weight, [around 1kg] have Wi-Fi and a small number have 3G/4G connectivity.

Battery life is typically 6 hours although the HP 14″ boasts a battery life of up to 9.5 hours.

They run Google’s own operating system, Chrome OS, which means they boot up in around 7-8 seconds, don’t slow down over time, unlike some computer operating systems we know – and are pretty much invulnerable to viruses and other malware that’s out in the wild.

Of course, there’s a drawback, you can’t install Microsoft Office, in fact you can’t install most software which limits you to software that’s either available in the Chrome Web Store or applications which run in your browser, because that’s pretty much what Chrome OS is, it’s Google’s Chrome browser that’s been tweaked to run a laptop. You can use Microsoft Office 365 though, because that’s a cut-down version of Office that runs in your browser so all is not lost.

Huawei MiFiIt’s also best if you can be permanently connected to the internet, although a number of apps do run off-line but you can always buy one of the 3G versions, tether your ChromeBook to your mobile phone or use one of the Mi-Fi devices which create your own personal Wi-Fi hotspot that connects to the mobile phone network through 3G or 4G

So, if you want a lightweight laptop for email, document creation/editing, web browsing and a little light gaming perhaps you should give a Chromebook a try.