Review of HP Chromebook 11A: Excellent for students but not for professionals

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HP Chromebook 11A: Although the HP Chromebook 11a is one of the most affordable laptops available in 2021, it is best suited for student use.

This is our review. After the COVID-19 pandemic, a new world order has been established and digital is the only way to go. It is likely that it will remain the same with more COVID waves.

This is a tragedy for middle-class parents who are burdened by debt, but a win for tech companies.

HP Chromebook 11A
HP Chromebook 11A

They can now sell horrible Android tablets at much lower prices than ever before. With its Chromebook 11a laptop, HP believes it can be the savior hero.

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Instead of spending Rs 15,000-17,000 on a slow-performing and outdated tablet, HP wants to charge Rs 21,990 for its “laptop” targeted at students. The Chromebook 11a feels and looks like a real laptop.

It has a large display and a well-laid keyboard. Chrome OS is the only thing that makes this Chromebook 11a different from Windows 10. It changes how you compute every day. Also read: Windows 11 update: Windows 11 will only receive one update per year, unlike Windows 10.

It is possible to find out if the Chromebook 11a is right for you or your children. I went on a 10-day journey with it as my main laptop. The results were amazing.

HP Chromebook 11A: Design

It’s better not to be too concerned about the laptop’s budget appeal in its marketing materials. The Chromebook 11a’s outdated design prompted me to do the same.

Although HP may have chosen a design that is straight out of the “netbooks” era, it has made sure the laptop can withstand the abuse of children.

The Chromebook 11a’s all-plastic shell is strong and dust resistant. The bright blue colour on the lid and deck makes the Chromebook 11a feel more lively than the black, cheap Windows laptops.

The lid is very porous and can pick up dirt and grime, but it’s easy to clean using a moist cloth. The hinge is solid and doesn’t squeak. It is a mid-range Windows laptop that is built to last, and it is a great value at Rs 22,000.

Although the thick bezels surrounding the 11.6-inch display are a pain initially, HP deserves credit for using a high quality panel. (more details later). Port selection is sparse as a cave with only one USB-A port and a microSD card slot port.

There’s also no 3.5mm audio/mic jack and no USB-C port. It’s not a great deal for a laptop, but the price isn’t prohibitive. The weight of 1 Kg is light enough to not cause any discomfort for young shoulders.

The design is simple and does not have any sharp edges that could cause injury to young users. HP deserves praise for choosing a matured design even though it may look dated.

HP Chromebook 11A: Display

HP used a high-quality display, despite the thick bezels surrounding the 11.6 inch display.

The display is superior to those found in entry-level Windows laptops like Dell or HP, with a colour gamut of 45 percent and brightness levels of up to 220 nits. This touchscreen display is as responsive as similar-priced Android tablets.

I used the Chromebook 11a to edit photos, watch YouTube videos and browse a lot of websites.

Once you become accustomed to the inverse touchpad gestures of Chrome OS, the touchscreen is a great help. Overall, the display is great and I have no complaints. I’m sure it will be for many users.

HP Chromebook 11A: Performance

Here you can see why the Chromebook 11a costs so little. Under the blue plastic shell, you will find a MediaTek SoC MT8183 similar to those found in Android tablets.

It is paired with 4GB LPDDR4X RAM, and 64GB of LPDDR4X eMMC storage. MicroSD card slots allow for expansion of up to 256GB.

Chrome OS is well-known for its efficiency in using resources. With such a small firepower, it can theoretically match the performance of a Windows 10 base laptop. The reality is that the situation is quite different.

There is some waiting before you can start using the HP Chromebook 11a. This waiting period can be as short as a few seconds to several minutes at times.

The Chromebook 11a is powerful enough to handle basic tasks for students. The Chromebook 11a is perfectly capable of browsing Gmail and Google Docs. It can also handle video calls and navigate between websites.

There are times when you might hesitate before opening an app or loading a website. This is especially true for tasks that are not related to students. For journalist tasks, I often have between 8 and 9 Chrome tabs open at once.

MS Teams is also open in the background. This is the most basic workflow I can imagine. Yet, the Chromebook 11a was able to wiggle out of PT class like a lazy child. It takes a while to load a page or switch to another tab.

When I open Google Play Store or another app, the speeds are even slower. The app versions of MS Teams and Gmail are slow to respond, while their web versions aren’t as fast.

The Chromebook 11a isn’t as responsive as a Windows 10 laptop, but that is just to simplify the matter. This is due to the low-quality MediaTek chip and slow eMMC storage.

A smartphone with 4GB RAM is not enough for multitasking. It’s even worse for a laptop that is designed for work. This MediaTek chip is capable of running a Snapdragon660 chip. That’s a powerhouse for an Android phone, even a mid-range one.

My Windows 10 computer was my best friend. My profession demands that Chromebook 11a be able to handle the fast-paced workload.

Chrome OS is a great OS and performs well despite the slow hardware. Although there is a learning curve for users who have used Windows PCs, kids can learn the whole settings page in just a few days (kids are much more tech-savvy than we as tech writers).

The integration works well with Android phones. You can send notifications to your phone and fetch the data connection from it when Wi-Fi is unavailable.

The Play Store provides access to thousands of Android apps that will do the same thing as regular PC tasks. The weak hardware makes it difficult to run these apps. HP uses two tiny speakers for the audio division.

HP Chromebook 11A
HP Chromebook 11A

If you’re willing to use the audio for video calls, it is quite good. It is very loud and I had to use headphones or wireless speakers to hear my colleagues on Zoom.

A brilliant keyboard and a responsive trackpad are the saving graces. It was easy to type long documents of 1000 words.

There is minimal ghosting and sufficient travel. Although there is no backlighting, I would assume that most users will be working in well-lit environments. The webcam quality is excellent and will satisfy online students.

HP Chromebook 11A: Batteries

The whole point of ARM-based laptops lies in their longer battery life. This is evident on the Chromebook 11.a. The Chromebook 11a’s small battery of 37Wh can last for an entire day, despite being only 7 pounds.

The Chromebook 11a can be used for 12-13 hours on average. This usage does not include some highly stressed patterns such as using 8-9 Chrome tabs, writing in Google Docs, keeping connected to Wi-Fi or an Android phone via Bluetooth, and keeping it on standby when not being used.

This is a lot more than an entry-level Windows laptop. Although the 45W USB-C charging adapter can be described as fast, it takes more than an hour and a quarter to fully charge the battery. It is refreshing to see HP use a USB-C port for data transfer and charging.

HP Chromebook 11A: Verdict

It is amazing to be able to make a laptop that costs less than Rs 30,000 in 2021. The sale of the Chromebook 11a by HP for Rs 21,990 is also a remarkable feat.

The Chromebook 11a is a blessing to financially-challenged families who want to provide a quality education experience for their children, as more households struggle to access our rapidly changing education system.

The Chromebook 11a laptop is durable and lightweight enough for children to play with. The Chromebook 11a offers all the comforts of a Windows laptop, but with the modern touch-based computing capabilities.

Chrome OS is more powerful than Android tablets and provides just enough to do serious computing. The amazing battery life is the cherry on top.

Unfortunately, students and children cannot use the laptop due to its limited performance. A Windows 10 laptop is a better choice for professionals looking for a simple laptop that can write, create reports, or play with Excel sheets.

This HP laptop will work well for you if your work is centered around Google services. The HP Chromebook 11a is a great choice for your child’s first experience with a laptop without spending a lot of money. Although it isn’t the fastest laptops, it costs only Rs 21990.

This laptop is a great choice because of its compact design, playful colour, excellent battery life, and similar functionality to a laptop.

Also Read: Asus Rog Zephyrus laptop Review

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