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HP's new Chromebook 13 has features to match top-line Windows PCs

HP's new Chromebook 13 offers some of the latest technologies that the company is also putting in its top-line Windows PCs.

The new laptop is just 12.9-millimeters thick and has a 13.3-inch display that shows images at a 3200 x 1800 pixel resolution. That is the highest-resolution screen ever in Chromebooks, an improvement from the 2560 x 1700 pixel display on Google's Chromebook Pixel.

The Chromebook 13 weighs 1.29 kilograms (2.86 pounds), and is the first with Intel's Skylake-based Core M processor, which focuses more on battery life than performance. HP claims the Chromebook 13 delivers 11.5 hours of battery life.

It has an aluminum finish, giving it a premium look.

The laptop has 802.11ac dual-band wireless, 16GB of memory, 32GB of storage, a webcam, an SD card reader and integrated Intel HD 515 graphics.  It also has  USB-C ports for charging and connect peripherals like external storage.

The Chromebook 13 has Another unique feature is the Elite USB-C dock, which will provide expanded connectivity to Ethernet, external displays and other peripherals.

It is priced starting at US$499 and will become available this month. It is expensive compared to entry-level Chromebooks from Acer, Lenovo and Asus priced under $250, but you are paying for the luxurious features.

Chromebooks are popular, low-cost computers for those who do most of their computing on the Web. Google is positioning Chromebooks as an alternative to Windows PCs. With Chromebook 13, HP has answered Google's call for PC makers to improve laptop specifications.

Others are catching up. Acer last week introduced the Chromebook 14 for Work, which is the first with Intel's faster Skylake-based Core i series processors.

There are still questions, though, on whether the high-end features are needed in Chromebooks, which are devices in which the wireless network speed matters more than the processor performance. Most buyers opt for low-end Chromebooks that have entry-level Celeron or Pentium processors, up to 4GB of RAM and minimal storage.

With the Chromebook 13, users will be able to view higher-resolution streaming movies, enjoy improved Google Hangout experiences and run multiple browser sessions. Google is also loading richer web applications that require more processor performance.

IDG Insider

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