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Simplicity will often be the best work and play laptop

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Google Chrome OS has the undeniable simplicity that made Chromebooks a truly viable computing device for many. Educational and e-learning, and basic work laptops are two scenarios that come to mind. Still, at the moment, HP is the only one driving Chromebook claims in India, and most other laptop makers seem to ignore most of the possibilities Chromebooks offer. For most others, the focus remains on Windows 10 laptops, but at these real prices they don’t offer a sophisticated computing experience at all. With the new Chromebook 11a, it didn’t take long for HP to continue on its consistent path in 2021. It costs 21,999 rupees and participates in the HP Chromebook 14a. The biggest difference between the two is the processing power. The Chromebook 11a is powered by the MediaTek MT8183 chip and the Chromebook 14a is powered by the Intel Celeron N4020 processor. Still, Chromebook 14a and actually Chrome OS don’t have to fight direct competition, but there is a big cognitive battle on the shop floor. Chrome OS isn’t quite common knowledge, at least on our beaches. And there is competition with convertible tablets, where keyboard attachments are also available.

The HP Chromebook 11a is a beautiful looking laptop. The overall design language is very similar to most other HP laptops. In fact, the blue color looks really nice. With the Chromebook brand on the lid, you can see that it’s an HP Chromebook, not a Windows 10 machine. It’s made of plastic, but it’s well organized and the material feels good. It is also a slim laptop with a thickness of only 1.68 cm. Like the Apple MacBook series, the HP Chromebook 11a turns on the moment you take it out of the bag, place it on your table or lap, and open the lid. It has a USB 2.0 port, a USB C port to which the charger connects for power, a headphone jack, and a microSD card slot. HP calls this Indigo Blue. It’s this blue that makes the Chromebook 11a stand out in the otherwise boring sea of ​​gray and black laptops. If you can take this step and bring it to a meeting, you’ll probably like it. It tilts a little over 1kg and is really light. What HP can do is give Asus a more compact power adapter, which it recently did on laptops. Instead, you can get a huge brick with two long cables on each side. So if you also need a pocket for this bulky power adapter, a laptop sleeve with a very cool look would be out of the equation.

I don’t really know you, but this is the first time I’ve used a full computing device running a MediaTek processor. To be precise, MediaTek MT8183 octa-core chip. There is 4GB of RAM next to it. Given how lightweight and spartan the Chrome OS is, this combination really appealed to me. The takeaway from my experience is based on the belief that the HP Chromebook 11a offers nothing but a consistently smooth Chromebook experience. There are probably no processor or memory demands on how to develop the platform and how to design and create apps, as you would on a Microsoft Windows 10 machine. Chrome OS apps work easily, and it takes less than a few seconds for the Chromebook itself to launch and be ready to work. Think about it4GB RAM on a Windows 10 machine. You can add and add 64GB of storage and memory card slots. Then there’s the 100GB Google Drive Space bundle for one year. This post is probably familiar with it and you’ll need to sign up for a Google One storage plan. Using a very good keyboard that is part of the HP Chromebook 11a experience will greatly improve your experience. It’s laid out neatly, very similar to what other HP laptops have had over the years, and is suitable when you need to type quickly and accurately. The trackpad isn’t the largest amount of space you can use to manage your finger swipe gestures, but with a little getting used to it, you still need to get the job done. Expected battery life statistics for most usage scenarios are a mark of about 14 hours. This means you can easily work the day without having to carry an old-style brick charger. It was neat.

But what’s the big problem with Google Chrome OS? It’s the consistent and pure simplicity of Chrome OS, and continues to be more than a compelling alternative to Windows 10-based laptops. To be honest, in the price range of Rs 25,000, it rarely offers an absolutely unpleasant experience. Simplicity was the foundation of Chrome OS many years ago, and it’s still going on. I remember the first attempt when Chrome OS was released. There was a clear feeling that anyone who uses Google’s services extensively would like it, but more than that, it was pretty sparse. But times have changed. For the better and for diversity. The Chrome OS platform can no longer be claimed as a glorious Chrome web browser with some additional smartness. It has everything, a desktop, a proper file explorer, a download manager, and a full-fledged app and many of them have all improved over time. Probably as you would expect from a computing device that is worth the time and money. It’s no longer basic and clever, and has a clear aura of complete computing devices that can be used while traveling or for light work at home. Continuing with the app perspective, the biggest evolution Chrome OS has gained over the years is the ability to run apps for Android phones as well. That means more than a million out-of-the-box apps on this new computing device that you might be looking at. Therefore, a full-fledged Play Store is also available on Chromebooks. Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint apps? Spotify app? Video streaming app. Give it a name and it will give you a broader world of productivity, utilities and entertainment apps. For all Android phone users, the switch can prove to be close to seamless, which is a true value added.

The updated but current iteration of Chrome OS counters the perception that buying a Chromebook is trapped in Google’s ecosystem very effectively. Unrestricted, but not restricted to your use of Gmail, Google Drive, Chrome web browsers, and Google Docsor, it provides a disturbed experience elsewhere. That is absolutely not the case. Don’t you like Google Chrome? You can switch to Firefox. Want to use Dropbox instead of Google Drive? I can do it. Name your Android app, such as Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar, PUBG, or Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, and it may run smoothly on Chrome OS. The Google Smart Lock feature will be great for anyone using an Android phone. There is a wide range of security measures that also work in the background. For example, the sandbox feature isolates all open apps from the core operating system process. This protects Chrome OS from malware that attempts to destroy the OS itself. Anyway, Google’s own apps and services are pre-available, which is not surprising. Chromebooks come pre-installed with G Suite apps, Gmail, Google Assistant, Google Chrome, Google Drive, YouTube, Google Docs, Google Keep, Google Calendar, Google Hangouts and more.

However, you may be a little worried about the screen size. With a primary computing device, not everyone can get it done on a compact screen. For example, if you need to work with spreadsheets, a larger screen area can help. The HP Chromebook 11a offers a 11.6-inch screen. It’s bright, very crisp, and the colors pop out just right. There are no modern flashy features such as high resolution or HDR capabilities. I have this sneaky suspicion. You may find that the available space is limited in case you need to work side-by-side with your apps, or if you need more horizontal space for your apps. Something I need to do from time to time. Still, for most users who need a compact laptop to carry around for email thrashing, document work, etc., this also helps to check the portability aspect as well. Such small screen sizes may not work well in some usage scenarios, but are countered by larger demographic requirements that require portability and a compact footprint.

Last word: Chrome OS is more than visible

In terms of upgrades and added versatility, the more things that have changed in Chrome OS over the last few years, the more things that haven’t really changed. This is a good thing. Because the core principles of simplicity and frugality remain the same foundation as before. The first attempt at using a MediaTek chip on a laptop turned out to be a very interesting experience, with the help of Chrome OS itself. Yes, HP Chromebook 11a works best if you’re deeply rooted in the Google apps and services ecosystem. It makes a lot of sense to use Google’s services to get the most out of the Chrome OS platform. Still, Chrome OS doesn’t get in the way if you need to use other apps or services. Plus, you get a laptop that doesn’t require a 2.6GHz processor and 16GB of RAM to run smoothly, and has a robust battery life. Unlike Windows 10 laptops on a budget, there is no obvious compromise on this. It is welcome in itself.

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