At a time when other PC makers are looking to attract new customers through cut-price Windows 10 notebooks, Dell has taken the original affordable portable computer, the Chromebook, and turned it into a truly premium device.
It’s not the company’s first Chromebook, but the Dell Chromebook 13 is its first based on Google’s operating system to be aimed first and foremost at business users.
The Dell Chromebook 13 will go on sale in the US and Canada in September
However, this focus on business performance could very well make the computer appealing to everyone from students to executives.
It can be specified with a fifth-generation Intel Core i5 processor and up to 8GM of RAM. It also has a full HD 13.3-inch display, a 720p front-facing camera plus dual microphones for video calling. Yet despite the power on offer, Dell is quoting a 12-hour battery life under testing.
And just as importantly, the device feels like a quality computer and one that was clearly developed with an eye on aesthetics as well as performance or budget.
The Chromebook’s lid is carbon fiber weave; the chassis is constructed from magnesium and aluminum and the screen is protected by Gorilla Glass. Even the trackpad is top-notch.
Prices for the Chromebook 13 will start at $399 when it starts shipping, initially in the US and Canada in September, and it is somewhat of a departure, in terms of perception, for devices that use Google’s operating system.
Until now, their biggest selling points were simplicity and affordability. But this huge hike in quality is arriving on the market when other companies are starting to target Chromebook users with affordable Windows PCs instead.
Take the Acer Aspire One Cloudbook for instance. It too will be going on sale in September and as well as running Windows 10 and offers a full size keyboard, an 11-inch display and 2GB of RAM paired with a 1.6GHz Celeron processor for just $169. In other words, just enough to do the basics well. Add another $30 to the price and Acer can be specified with a 14-inch display instead.
However, if Dell’s new notebook is the shape of Chromebooks to come, companies creating Windows alternatives might well have left it too late to try and compete with these devices purely in terms of price.