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Dell Chromebook 11
The Dell Chromebook 11 was made for education, but as ZDNet's Steve Ranger pointed out, Dell's Chromebook is too good to be left to the kids.
This model is powered by Intel's 1.4GHz dual-core Celeron 2955U processor with integrated Intel HD Graphics. You can get it with either 2 GB or 4GB of RAM. If you're the kind of person who likes to have dozens or hundreds, of tabs open at the same time spend the cash for the extra RAM. You'll be glad you did.
It comes with an 11.6-inch display, 16GB of internal storage and an SD card slot, plus two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI connector and an audio jack. There's no wired Ethernet port. For wireless connectivity there's dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
Many reviewers really like the Dell Chromebook 11. The 2GB model costs $279, while the 4GB version runs $299. If, that is, you can get one. Dell's run short of them. That's both because of demand, and sources tells me, there's an Intel Haswell i3-powered model coming real soon now. If you can get one, do so.
Acer Chromebook C720P
Another worthy Chromebook for the student is Acer's new Chromebook C720P. This model was the first Chromebook — outside of my beloved, but much too expensive Chromebook Pixel — to come with a touch screen.
I've found a touch screen to be useful in a Chromebook but not worth the extra $100 that brings its price up to $299.
This model does, however, also come with a 32GB SSD — unlike its excellent older brother the Acer C720, which only has a 16GB drive.
Otherwise, the two models are identical. Each comes with an 11.6-inch display; a SD card slot; one USB 2 and one USB 3.0 port; an HDMI connector; and an audio jack. For wireless connectivity, it uses dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
Finally, if you want to try this model at faster speeds and more RAM, the C720 Chromebook with Core i3 has just been released. ZDNet's own James Kendrick, the only person on the planet I know who has played with more Chromebooks than I have, found it the "fastest Chromebook I've used, with the exception of the Chromebook Pixel." At $379.99 list price, it should be!
HP Chromebook 11
Like almost all of the Chromebook family, the HP Chromebook 11 comes with a 16GB SSD drive , a SD card slot, two USB 2.0 ports, and a headphone jack. One interesting addition is that this model uses a mini-USB port for its charger. This means you may be able to use your Android smartphone charger in a pinch if you've left its real charger at home.
Beside supporting dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, you can also get this device with a Verizon 4G option. The ordinary one costs $199. With 4G it will run you $299. I travel a lot and there have been times I've needed 4G, but if you spend most of you time at your Wi-FI equipped school, office, and home all have Wi-Fi, I wouldn't bother with the 4G.