Most Chromebooks to date have been aimed at computer shoppers looking for the best bang for their buck, with many models running from $200 to $350. Dell is aiming to join the Toshiba and , the intended audience is businesses and the IT departments that buy and administer their systems.with its new Chromebook 13. This is the first 13-inch Chromebook from Dell, and unlike 13-inch versions from
But unlike business laptops or desktops that can add custom security software and hardware, the Dell Chromebook 13 is still a stock Chrome OS laptop (Dell's existing cloud-based management and VPN apps will work, however). The biggest difference between this and more consumer-oriented models is the construction. The Chromebook 13 has a carbon fiber-weave cover, magnesium-alloy wrist rest and aluminum base, making it look and feel much more high-end than typical plastic Chromebooks.
Also helping this feel like a step up from less-expensive models, the 13.3-inch screen has a full-HD 1,920x1,080 resolution, and comes in both touch and non-touch versions. The keyboard, all in lowercase (as is the norm for Chromebooks) is backlit, another feature usually only found on Windows and Mac laptops.
While the high-end configurations of the Dell Chromebook 13 get up there in price, there are a wide range of configuration options. Besides the touch and non-touch displays, CPUs range from Intel Celeron on the low end to current-gen Core i3 and Core i5. RAM runs from 2GB to 8GB, and the onboard storage -- small, as is the case in most Chromebooks -- is either 16GB or 32GB.
In our brief hands-on time with a preproduction sample of the system, it felt sturdy and premium, clearly taking some design cues from the Dell XPS 13, although it lacks that high-end laptop's ultra-thin bezel.
The Chromebook 13 starts at $399 in the US for the lowest-spec model, with a Celeron CPU and non-touch display. (UK prices will be announced closer to the release date.) Going with all the high-level configuration options takes it up to $899, which is comparable to the Windows-based Dell XPS 13. Consumer 13-inch Chromebooks with plastic bodies typically cost $200 to $300.
The Chromebook 13 from Dell will be available in the US on September 17 and in the UK on October 1, with no plans right now for an Australian release.