PROS / The Dell Chromebook 11 has excellent battery life.
CONS / Its mediocre components make for middling performance.
VERDICT / As a good-enough Chrome-based laptop at an attractive price, the Dell Chromebook 11 is an excellent choice for value shoppers.
The Dell Chromebook 11 has had a prominent place in the Chromebook world for years, first as one of the best of the early generation models and now as one of the best value Chromebooks on the market. While premium specs and designs have crept in among more expensive competitors, it is still a notably well-made machine at an ultra-affordable price, making it one the best-rated Chromebooks to buy for a student or anyone who wants a handy second device for web browsing.
With an Intel Celeron N2840 processor, the Dell’s overall performance isn’t particularly impressive, but it will do the trick for web browsing, which is all most Chromebook users need. The 2.16GHz low-powered CPU is paired with 2GB of RAM, which limits its performance further. In Jet Stream 1.1, it scored 53.26 points, and it averaged just 28 frames per second (fps) in the WebGL Aquarium graphics test. It did impress us in battery life testing, lasting 10 hours and nine minutes when most budget models struggle to hit nine hours.
It also has a 16GB storage drive, which is smaller than the 32GB allotments seen in top-rated Chromebooks. Still, with most users relying on the cloud-based Google Drive for their storage needs, this isn’t a big problem.
The small notebook computer measures just 11.69 x 8.57 x 0.83 inches, and thanks to its lightweight plastic construction, it weighs just 2.74 pounds. The 11.6-inch display has basic 1366 x 768 resolution and middling display quality, with dulled colors and low brightness. The model in our review doesn’t have a touchscreen, but you can pay a little more and get touch capability if you want it.
Like the rest of the models in our Chromebook comparison, the Dell Chromebook 11 boasts 802.11n Wi-Fi for online connectivity. However, unlike top-rated notebooks that use a 2 x 2 antenna array for better connection quality, this basic model uses a standard 1 x 1 antenna, which may be more prone to interference and slower overall. The little Chromebook offers only basic connections, with a single USB 3.0 port and one USB 2.0 port, though it does have a slot for full-size SD cards and an HDMI video output.
Dell covers the Chromebook 11 with a one-year warranty and offers support via phone, live chat and social media. Online support materials like user manuals and troubleshooting guides are also easy to find on the Dell website.
The Dell Chromebook 11 might not look great when compared directly against top-rated Chromebooks, but it does fulfill the most basic promises of these Google-powered laptops by being reliable and affordable. As budget models go, this is one of the best Chromebooks under $300.