Chromebooks have built up a solid reputation over the past few years as simple, reliable and very capable machines for everyday use. One of the reasons for this popularity is that they are often quite cheap. The only premium Chromebook available is the rather excellent Google Chromebook Pixel, but at around £800 it’s a bit of stretch even for the most ardent fan. That could be about to change as HP and Google have just announced the new Chromebook 13, a high-end device at a mid-range price. We tell you everything you need to know, including the new Google Chromebook UK release date, price, features and specifications.
See also: 8 Best Chromebooks of 2016
New Google Chromebook: Introducing the sleek HP Chromebook 13
Traditionally Chromebooks are plastic and have minimal specs. This is perfectly acceptable as both of these factors keep costs down while still delivering decent performance on the web-centric Chrome OS. With the new Chromebook 13 HP has taken a markedly different approach.
The body features a brushed-anodised aluminium chassis, svelte at its 12.9mm thinness, and weighing in at 2.86 pounds (1.29kg) which makes it lighter than the 13-inch MacBook Air. Those who appreciated the industrial design of the Chromebook Pixel will be pleased to note that this new addition to the Chrome family has the same chunky, domed metallic hinge as that on its expensive brethren.
A Bang & Olufsen logo on the inner casing suggest that the speakers in the device have also been optimised to deliver quality audio up to the standard of B&O Play, which is a feature that has appeared on other HP laptops recently.
New Google Chromebook: Focused on business
The Chromebook 13 is certainly one of the nicest looking models we’ve seen yet, and this refinement has much to do with the fact that HP is aiming it at the enterprise market rather than just home users.
This can be seen by the range of ports found on the device. On one side you’ll find a MicroSD card slot, while the other flank hosts two Fast USB-C ports, a standard USB 3.0 aperture, and the ever-present 3.5mm headphone jack. Charging the device is via the USB-C ports, as on the new MacBook, and HP has also announced the Elite USB-C docking station that allows users to run two external displays, plus a range of standard peripherals such as a mouse and keyboard.
Internally there are new Intel Skylake Core-M processors, with options for either the Pentium, m3, m5, or m7 depending on your power requirements. These will be paired with up to 16GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. Battery life is also stated as being around 11.5 hours, which should get most people through the average working day.
New Google Chromebook: High-quality display display
Displays on Chromebooks can often leave much to be desired, except on the brilliant Toshiba Chromebook 2, but HP’s new offering eschews such limitations and instead opts for an impressive 13.3in diagonal QHD+ IPS display with a resolution of 3200x1800, which amounts to 5.76 million pixels on the screen.
This appears to be a non-touch version, as opposed to the multi-touch display on the Chromebook Pixel, but we think that’s a small price to pay for a highly detailed and colourful screen. HP does offer a number of configurations for the Chromebook 13, with the base model supposedly sporting a slightly lower spec 1080p display with matt finish, but we'll need to get a hands on before we can confirm this.
New Google Chromebook: UK price and release date
For the entry-level configuration - which we're assuming will contain the 1080p display, Pentium CPU, and 4GB of RAM - HP is asking £399. How much the various upgrades will cost is still unclear, but as more information becomes available we will continually update this feature.
HP has told us that the Chromebook 13 is now available for order from its site, but after a determined look we couldn't find a listing for the device. We expect this to change very soon, so keep checking back to this page as we'll be posting the link as soon as it appears.