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HP Chromebook 11 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £229
inc VAT

Cheap, well-built and with a great screen, if you want a laptop for mostly online work, this is a great choice



A small laptop usually means a comparatively small battery, which can have an impact on battery life. In this case, though, that’s not so much of a problem, as the Samsung SoC is very power friendly. Google estimates that you’ll get up to six hours of battery life from the laptop. Using it for a full day of work, we managed over five hours, which is pretty good considering that the Chromebook 11 weighs just 1.04kg.

As our regular battery test doesn’t work on Chrome OS, we also measured how long the Chromebook 11 lasted playing a video, using its built-in media player. In this test the laptop lasted 5h 12m on a full charge.

HP Chromebook 11

Charging is simple, as it’s the first laptop we’ve seen that can be charged via its Micro USB port. Google provides a 3A charger in the box, which will rapidly charge the laptop, but you can trickle charge using a phone adaptor instead if you’ve forgotten yours. It also means that if your charger breaks, you don’t have to worry about buying an expensive replacement.


Everything on the laptop is built around ChromeOS, Google’s ‘online’ operating system, which stores everything in the cloud. If you haven’t used it before, it’s built around Google’s Chrome web browser, its apps and Google’s services. All you need to use it is a Google account, which gets you a free Gmail address, Google Drive for Google Docs and a Google+ social networking account, which also doubles as a place to store your pics.

As everything is built around Chrome, you also get the same synchronisation as you get on the desktop version for Windows and Mac, which means that all of the usernames, passwords and apps you have on your browser on any OS are automatically synced with your Chromebook. It’s a brilliant system and means that you never have to back up or worry where installation disks are.

When the OS was first released, it didn’t make a huge amount of sense, as you had to be online to do anything. Today, the situation is rather different. For starters, it’s a lot easier to be online, with Wi-Fi available in most locations, plus fast mobile phone tethering giving you access everywhere else. In fact, we wrote the bulk of this review tethering the Chromebook 11 to an iPhone 5S and using 4G.

For those times that you have to be offline, there’s nothing to worry about, either, as more and more Chrome apps are now built to work offline. Google Drive documents are synchronised to your Chromebook and you can create and edit existing word processing Docs offline. Spreadsheets are less flexible at the moment, as you can only view, but not edit or create, files.

You can also connect USB drives or download existing word documents and photos, all of which can be accessed from your computer and are automatically synchronised to the cloud. You get 100GB of free storage for two years, so there should be plenty of room online for your documents.

However, you can’t store that much on your Chromebook 11, as it has only 16GB of storage and there’s no SD card slot to expand this. Fortunately, the synchronisation service is smart, so you’ll only get an offline copy of more recent files, without filling up your computer’s disk space.

Google Mail and your Calendar are both available offline, although in the case of Gmail you have to install a secondary offline app. This downloads your latest emails and lets you read and compose when your laptop is offline.

The list of offline apps is growing steadily and the Chrome Store even has its own Offline section, so you can find the ones that you want to use. There’s a decent range of online apps too, covering everything from social media to games. We wouldn’t say that the range is as good as, say, for Android, but as you’ve got a full web browser, this is arguably less important, as most of the services you need to access are online.

While on the desktop version of Chrome Apps are accessed through a dedicated button in a tab, on ChromeOS apps are available through the system’s own version of the Start Menu. Apps have their own launcher icons, but it’s a bit annoying that sometimes the names are too long, so they appear truncated. Google Play Music, Google Play Movies and Google Play Books all appear as Google Play…, for example. It’s possible to tell them apart based on the icon, but hovering the cursor over the icon really should show you the full name.

An easier way to find apps is to start typing into this menu instead. This provides universal search results from apps on your computer, files in Google Drive and recent emails. As it’s Google we’re talking about, the search results are both quick to come back an accurate.

Obviously, there are some limitations to the OS. For example, this isn’t right for people that want to edit a lot of video or photos offline, as there simply aren’t the tools or applications to do this. It’s also no good if you have to have a certain bit of software, such as Outlook.


ChromeOS is certainly coming of age and the Chromebook 11 is a great way to show off its capabilities. If you’re a proponent of Google’s services and want a quick laptop with a decent keyboard for basic office and online tasks, then this does the job for most people. We still think that offline mode needs a little work, as it’s a bit annoying having to have a separate Gmail app and a pain that you can’t edit offline spreadsheets. These niggles aside, the Chromebook 11 is an absolute bargain and shows how a netbook can be done properly.

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Basic Specifications

ProcessorSamsung Exynos 5 Dual
Processor clock speed1.7GHz
Memory slots1
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory2GB
Pointing devicetouchpad


Viewable size11.6 in
Native resolution1,366×768
Graphics ProcessorSamsung Exynos 5
Graphics/video portsnone
Graphics MemoryN/A


Total storage capacity16GB
Optical drive typenone

Ports and Expansion

USB ports2
Wired network portsnone
Wireless networking support802.11n (dual-band)
PC Card slots0
Supported memory cardsnone
Other portsnone


Carrying caseNo
Operating systemChrome OS
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includedN/A
Optional extrasN/A

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB