Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Review Dell Chromebook 13 (i3 & touchscreen)

So here is a look at my 2nd high end model Chromebook I recently bought. I was really impressed with the HP Chromebook 13 and really thought of it as a real laptop replacement for teachers. The only concern that has come up since then is that it is so thin, could it be damaged easily? I don't know about that, but if that is your concern for a Chromebook and you still want high end, then the Dell 13 is probably for you.

It was made specifically for business users. And because of that the build is a little beefier. It feels more solid. Where as the HP was just a beautiful machine in terms of design, screen, and weight, the Dell 13 sacrifices some of that weight in favor of a more solid build. This thing can take a beating. It feels solid in the hands, but not too heavy. The keyboard is back-lit and spill resistant. And speaking of keyboards, man is this thing a pleasure to type on. I used to read reviews about great keyboards and it never really meant anything to me, but after typing on the Dell keyboard (and HP) a good keyboard goes a long way.

The top of the Chromebook has a sort of rubberized material on it that I am sure will hold up against scuffs and scratches. It also makes the laptop easier to hold onto and grip. The screen is gorgeous. Is it better than the HP? Probably not, but it definitely holds its own. Everything looks so good on it. Going split screen isn't a problem either as the 13.3 inch screen is plenty large for this mode.

It is definitely thicker than the HP Chromebook, but still thinner than my work laptop. Not to bash on Windows but when was turning on my new work laptop for pictures, it had one of those "we ran into some problems and need to restart your computer". Nice. 1 day old. 

Battery life is awesome as well. I have charged it one time and haven't needed to recharge it yet. Obviously I haven't done a lot of work on it, but still as of right now I have 81% battery left and 10 hours of time left. Amazing.

Oh yes, the elephant in the room...touchscreen. I went with a touchscreen model because as you know Android apps will soon make their way to Chrome OS and I thought touch might be helpful. Since I have had the laptop, I don't really find myself using touch that often. Part of that reason is that the trackpad is perfect. It is made of glass and responds perfectly to every touch. I have had or used about 9 laptops on my lifetime and this one is hands down the best. So in terms of keyboard and trackpad combo, I don't think I have ran across one that is this well put together. So touchscreen isn't a make or break. It is a nice addition, but as of right now, not a necessity.

So how to does the i3 compare to the m3 of the HP? Well on the Octane benchmark, the HP was around mid 22,000's - low 23,000s. The Dell's i3 is usually in the mid to high 19,000's. I have ran the test a few times and haven't seen it crack 20,000 yet. Am I saying it is slow? Definitely not. Still boots in under 8 seconds and flies on everything I throw at it. My i3 Chromebox scored in the 15,000s so it is definitely an improvement.

Overall, it is easily one of the best Chromebooks out there. If you were looking to buy one, I am sure you could get away with getting the Celeron version with no touch. Everything else is standard, keyboard/trackpad & screen are the same on every model. I am curious to see how the touch screen plays out, but definitely impressed and happy with this machine.