So much for upgrading to a new Chromebook after a year. Very disappointed in the new model…

I must say, I’m very disappointed in the new Chromebook announcement this week. I’ve owned the Samsung Series 3 since last fall and love it, but was hoping in a year they’d come out with one a bit more powerful with some extra doo-dads. And when I heard the rumors a few weeks ago, I was psyched. But then they release the “all-new” Chromebook 11 by HP, which:
stacked-chromebooks– Uses the same Exynos processor as the Series 3
– Has the same onboard 16GB SSD as the Series 3
– Has the same RAM as the Series 3…meaning it’s going to have essentially the same performance as last year’s Chromebook. It’s also listed at a fraction less than last year’s in battery life, but then also:

Eliminates the SD card slot (no more dual boot Ubuntu from a card, or plugging in a card full of photos from my camera)
Eliminates the HDMI out (so no more easily plugging into my LCD TV; now I’d need a micro-USB to HDMI adapter)
Eliminates the USB 3.0 port (not that I’ve ever taken advantage of it, but seems to be quite the step backwards)

It does apparently have a better screen (IPS), but from all accounts, it’s much glossier (read: sun/light glare) than the Samsung’s matte screen, with the same resolution. Oh, and it can use a micro-USB cord to charge it. Well, okay.

With using all of last year’s technologies and removing ports and using a less capable battery, it must be quite a deal, right? Uh, nope. It’s $30 more than the Series 3 ($279 vs $249).

I love using my Chromebook. It’s absolutely perfect for writing. I don’t need a new one, but I would have happily scratched up another $250 this year for a whiz bang upgrade to it, especially if it made a difference in performance or storage. Guess not.

Oh wait, I can order it with one of five colored lines on it.


  1. Monty Fowler - October 9, 2013 1:31 pm

    Steve…you have found the chink in the Chromebook armor. The whole idea behind this class of device — much like the netbooks that preceded it — is to provide a “good enough” computing experience for a user category that almost doesn’t exist; a person who lives entirely inside the browser. The sub-$300 price target does not allow the design to be very powerful or to have the latest technologies. Instead, you end up with a grand compromise device that does no one thing very well, except perhaps surf the web. You are one of the few people who I know that has found a truly productive use for the device. And even you have admitted having to make some compromises in your workflow. I’m sure you would rather run Scrivener on your Chromebook instead of writing in Google Docs and having to sync or copy/paste stuff.

    Until Google decides if the Chrome OS is going to become a real operating system like Windows or OS X, I really don’t see the Chromebook being much more than a niche device.

    What you are seeing now is companies like HP hedging their bets on Chrome OS by introducing devices that do not even live up to the original halo device’s specs…and charging more for less.

    I’ll stick with my MacBook Air, 12 hour battery life, instant on, and top notch hardware and features. It runs everything I want and can even do Windows if I need it to. And for $1,000 it will last me 4+ years, thus negating the Chromebook economics altogether.


    • Steve Umstead - October 9, 2013 7:58 pm

      Compromise or no compromise, niche or no niche, the low price point Chromebook category is doing fairly well for itself. It’s Amazon’s #1 (and now #2 with HP’s entry) selling laptop:

      I’m certainly not complaining about the features and benefits of a limited laptop at $249. I love mine (as you say, I’ve found the perfect use for it), but was hoping that after a year, they’d use…you know…BETTER STUFF inside.

      And while you know I’m a Mac-head by nature (I’ve never owned a non-Mac in almost 30 years), the economics (for how I use it) actually work out better in my favor. If I replace my $249 CB every two years with a new CB, I’m still twice as new for half the cost. Not saying the CB=MBA by any means, but having a desktop that handles all my workload/apps/etc means my laptop can be more specialized.

      Thanks as always Monty!


  2. Joel Pomales - October 9, 2013 7:25 pm

    Steve, if I am not mistaken other vendors (Toshiba, Lenovo) are going to be jumping in to the Chromebook bandwagon. That would mean other models, and more diversity. This is but one model, HPs interpretation.

    We’ll see what the others bring.

    • Steve Umstead - October 9, 2013 8:02 pm

      Thanks Joel – I’m sure others will come in, but I’m not so sure they’ll come in at the entry level price point. Last year the CB family had two at the sub $250 mark – the Samsung and the heavier/larger/terrible battery/no SSD Acer C7. My guess is HP will be the entry level this year, and may even be the only 11″ model (which I actually prefer for *just* writing), meaning others (maybe with Haswell chips, etc.) will go up quite a bit in price and probably even size. And I’m not in the market, now or perhaps ever, for a $500 Chromebook.

      Appreciate the comment!


    • Steve Umstead - October 10, 2013 6:58 am

      I stand corrected:


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