Dell Chromebook 13 Review : simply the best ?

Dell Chromebook 13, Chrome OS at its best ? Far from the “cheap” design of some other Chromebooks, Dell has finally decided to go a step further with this Chromebook 13, and to include the very pure Chrome OS system in a very refined and soft-touch finish, to make it look like a “real computer” […]



Dell Chromebook 13, Chrome OS at its best ?

Far from the “cheap” design of some other Chromebooks, Dell has finally decided to go a step further with this Chromebook 13, and to include the very pure Chrome OS system in a very refined and soft-touch finish, to make it look like a “real computer” and not a “low cost Chromebook“. Out of the box, we find a very classy computer, thanks to a lid made of carbon fiber, and a body built with magnesium and aluminium. A tough shell, very pleasant to look at by the way. A (very) good point !

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The test unit we have is the most powerful in the Chromebook 13 series, with a Touch 13″ LCD Full HD display (1920 x 1080), with an Intel Core i5 processor, combined with 8 GB RAM and a 32 GB Solid State Drive. The computer also gets a backlit keyboard, that feels very comfortable too.  Thanks to its high configuration (and to Chrome OS’s lightness), this Dell Chromebook 13 is able to boot in just a few seconds, and immediately gives the owner the opportunity to enjoy his brand new computer.

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Of course, no Microsoft Windows OS here, or Mac OS, but Chrome OS, a system developped by Google, which clearly focuses on giving the best “web experience” possible. An experience that may be a bit disturbing at first, since this Chromebook only has a bunch of Google’s App like Chrome of course, but also Youtube, Gmail, Google Maps or Play Music. Chrome OS is a very light and minimalist alternative to Windows and/or Mac OS, and the user might be a little confused in his first steps with his new computer.

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Of course, we just need to step into the Chrome Web Store to find out hundreds of applications and games, such as Cut the Rope, Microsoft Powerpoint, Spotify or TeamViewer. Not really a “Start Menu” here, but in the bottom left corner an icon is used to open Search, and you can add icons on the bottom bar to get shortcuts to your favorite applications. In the right corner, the user can find a notification counter, but also Settings, WiFi connectivity and battery life. Everything is very simple, very light, even the settings that only allows a few modifications.

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Concerning battery life, this Chromebook 13’s endurance is very convincing, and the system lasted a bit more than 8 hours in “normal conditions” of use. Used for simple tasks such as web browsing, mail, Youtube and some light applications, this Dell Chromebook 13 is pretty stunning, and everything runs very smoothly, with no trace of lag. The touchscreen (in option) clearly offers new possibilities to surf the web, especially for reading news and viewing photos. An amazing Chromebook, that is clearly worth a glance (or two).

What we like :
+ Excellent build quality
+ Overall performances
+ Backlit keyboard, with soft touch
+ Chrome OS, and its “purity”
+ Good battery life

What we don’t :
– The Chrome OS “web experience”, which can be disturbing
– Fingerprints and dust on the “carbon” cover

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Conclusion

A bit disturbing at first due to the very light and minimalist Chrome OS, this Dell Chromebook 13 gets an excelent carbon fiber/magnesium finish, with a stunning configuration, a great keyboard and a very good battery life. In option, you can also enjoy a touchscreen, to optimise just a bit more the “web experience”. A perfect portable computer for who looks for a simple PC, in order to execute simple, but smooth tasks : web, mail, Youtube… Who said Chrome OS is only for cheap machines ? Clearly not Dell and this Chromebook 13, probably one of the best on the market.



By on 26 May 2016

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