We’ve had a look at a few Dell laptops over the past year, and now it’s time to take a look at one of the latest from the company. Our Dell Chromebook 13 review takes a look at a Chromebook aimed at businesses and professionals.
The Dell Chromebook 13 is available in a number of configurations with your choice of Celeron, i3, or i5 Intel processors and 2, 4 or 8GB of RAM. Also available is your choice of touch or non-touch screen and 16GB or 32GB solid state drive for storage. Our review unit featured the Celeron 3205U processor, 4GB DDR3L RAM, and 16GB of storage.
What’s in the Box
Pretty standard for what you get:
- Dell Chromebook 13
- Power adapter
As with our recent Dell reviews the first thing I noticed upon removing the Dell Chromebook 13 was the build quality. This certainly didn’t feel like a “cheap” Chromebook like the sub-$250 models that I’ve seen or used in the past. To be fair, the low price point has always been a huge plus for Chromebooks, especially among students — but with that low price also comes a cheaper look and feel.
Dell’s professional Chromebook features a sleek design built on a mag alloy chassis. The lid features a carbon fiber finish with the Chrome OS logo in the upper left corner (when looking at it opened from behind). When using the Chromebook 13, you’ll find the power port, HDMI port, USB port, headphone/microphone combo jack, and microSD card slot on the left side, with a second USB port and a Noble lock slot on the right side. The stereo speakers are located near the front on the bottom of the Chromebook, one on each side and are angled slightly away from the laptop.
The keyboard is pretty standard Dell fare and features a backlit chiclet keyboard with a precision touchpad. The keyboard was pleasant to type with and, as much as I’m not a fan of touchpads, the touchpad was very responsive and precise.
Overall, the Dell Chromebook 13 not only looks like a “real” laptop, but it feels like one as well with its sturdy construction and nice weight to it.
The Dell Chromebook 13 features a FHD (1920×1080) display, and is available in touch and non-touch configurations. Our review unit was of the non-touch variety and the screen was crisp and content was sharp with great colours.
I’ve used Chromebooks before, but never really given them a solid chance due to the software I use on a daily basis. After forcing myself to use it during my evening (off work) computing time, I actually found myself to be more productive in the tasks I was trying to accomplish as there were less distractions and temptations than you find on a Windows or Mac laptop or computer. Chrome OS is a great business operating system, and it ran very well on the hardware on our Chromebook 13 review unit. Being a Chromebook as well you don’t have to worry about extra programs that come pre-installed, and Dell’s Chromebooks also support combining Dell KACE with Google’s cloud based management console for IT systems management.
As previously mentioned, Chrome OS ran great on our review unit with the Intel Celeron processor for the basic browsing and editing tasks I was doing. Upgrading to the i3 or i5 with more RAM would only obviously increase performance, and if I was to purchase one I’d definitely go that route to ensure getting longer usage out of the laptop. Videos and music played fine as well, and I really had no issues with the Chromebook 13 overall.
I didn’t expect terribly much out of a pair of 2W stereo speakers on the Chromebook, but I was pleasantly surprised at how loud they did go volume wise. Don’t expect to get a lot of range though as even on bass heavy songs the sound was still mainly high and mid-ranged without a lot of bass. As far as the target market for this laptop goes however, the speakers should be more than adequate for video watching and video chats.
The Dell Chromebook 13 features a 720p HD front facing webcam and it was just fine for a quick video chat during my testing.
Dell claims 12+ hours of battery life on the Chromebook 13 and I averaged around 10.5 hours of regular use including streaming music while surfing the web and editing documents online. While it’s not the 12+ hours that Dell claims, battery usage will vary and I did hit pretty close to that number on one day with 10 hours being the shortest amount of usage time before the Chromebook died. Overall, that should be plenty to get you through most work days without having to worry about plugging in at some point.
We’re all used to seeing Chromebooks at a very affordable price, often coming in under the $200-$300USD/CAD price. The Dell Chromebook 13 is going to set you back a bit more, as it starts at around $612USD/$785CAD, however it can be found starting at $429USD/$529CAD on the Dell site depending on model and configuration. While the sale price is a bit more expensive than other Chromebooks, it’s still a decent value for a Chromebook that’s well constructed and looks the part of a business office machine.
If you’re looking for a Chromebook to use in a professional or business setting, you’ll want to give the Dell Chromebook 13 a look for its sleek design, solid construction, and great battery life.
*We were sent a demo unit of the Dell Chromebook 13 for the purposes of this review.
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