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Dell Chromebook 11 review: Basic browser machine keeps up with the times, barely

Melissa Riofrio | March 31, 2014
Dell's no dummy. It may have built its business on PCs, but its new Chromebook 11 is designed to maintain its presence the education market, where Chromebooks are enjoying some growth. Compared to managing a fleet of Windows-based boxes, tending to a herd of browser-based Chromebooks is far simpler and cheaper (Google even provides a Chrome Management Console for all the tasks that make IT people happy).

The keyboard is the hard plastic that penalizes heavy-handed typers, and the keys are on the small side, but there's enough space around the buttons to minimize misfires. The top-row function keys and lower-right cursor keys are half-size but still useful. The trackpad is large and responsive, and I like the softer feel of the plastic around the trackpad.

The overall construction feels solid. The dark-gray plastic chassis should hide smudges and light dings. I'm amused by the name Dell gave this color, though: "Foggy Night?" Given the educational bent, why not "Scarred Blacktop" or "Old Sneaker Sole?" Ah, the missed opportunities.

Dell's Chromebook 11 is a good execution of an inherently limited kind of product. I'd love to see Dell keep at this and take a run at HP's Chromebook 14. Why should HP have all the fun?


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